Facebook is far and away the most popular social media platform for small business owners, with one study reporting that upwards of 80% of small businesses have their own Facebook page. That being said, it is a big deal whenever Facebook announces a new update. The wheels in many business owners’ minds will be turning, concocting a plan to use these new updates to benefit their business. Over the past several weeks, Facebook has launched not one but three notable updates that will affect small businesses both on Facebook and on their own websites. Keep reading to see how Facebook’s Live Video, Instant Articles, and Offline Actions can prove to be beneficial assets to your business in the long haul:
Facebook Live Video Takes Priority
In response to Twitter-owned live streaming juggernaut Periscope, an update to Facebook’s news feed sorting algorithm will make Live Video a top priority when determining what is considered a top news story.
First released on iOS in December, Live Video is a feature that allows Facebook users to hold real-time conversations with their Facebook friends and subscribers. According to a statement released by Facebook’s newsroom, Facebook users spend 3x as much time watching Live Video as they spend watching pre-recorded content on their news feed. Therefore, the latest update to Facebook’s algorithm will read Live Video as important content and it will be one of the very first items seen when a user logs into their Facebook account.
What This Means for Your Business: Now would be the time for business owners to start incorporating live streaming into their social media marketing. The goal is to be seen by as many Facebook users as possible, and being right at the top of their news feed will certainly heighten a business’s visibility. Business owners should embrace the added dimension that Live Video will provide for their subscribers – using it to offer a behind-the-scenes look around the office, host a webinar, or interview a client is a great way to humanize your business.
WordPress Announces Plugin for Facebook Instant Articles
Automattic, WordPress’ parent company, has announced a plugin that will allow any WordPress blog to post Facebook Instant Articles starting in April. Instant Articles is Facebook’s answer to the many glitches that come with browsing articles on a mobile device – slow to load, hard to read, and quick to crash. This partnership with WordPress is unique, as it will allow any WordPress-powered site (over 25% of all websites) to provide this easy-reading experience to their readers while automatically uploading content to their Facebook page.
What This Means for Your Business: Ease, aesthetics, and a boost in traffic. First of all, this plugin makes things easier for both the publisher and the reader. If the publisher is already using WordPress, nothing will change. Once the plugin is installed, the article will automatically be formatted to fit the Instant Articles design structure. Instant Articles also makes it easy to measure user engagement, providing measurement analytics for factors such as scroll speed and time spent on the page. For the reader, Instant Articles load 10x faster than a standard mobile website and are optimized to work across devices, so there is no longer a need to switch from mobile to desktop to read an article. Additionally, the article will look great. Instant Articles are formatted to be full screen with high-quality photos and instant-play videos. Providing content that is quick to load, easy to read, and appealing to look at will ultimately aid in driving traffic to your website.
Atlas by Facebook Unveils Offline Actions
Atlas, Facebook’s massive ad network, has announced a new update called Offline Actions which aims to find the correlation between online ads and offline sales. Atlas aims to solve the inconsistencies that come with cookie-based ads, which cannot transfer data across devices and instead treat desktop browsing and mobile browsing as separate entities. Offline actions will allow businesses to upload their point-of-sale data to establish which of their ads helped to close the deal on that sale. Taking this a step further, another new Atlas update called Path to Conversion will help to determine which device this ad was viewed on to eventually drive this sale.
What This Means for Your Business: If a business owner is unsure as to which of their ads are performing best and where they are reaching their audience the most effectively, utilizing Offline Actions and Path to Conversion might be the way to go. Vice President of Advertising at Facebook Brian Boland says it best – “it provides insight into how real people – not cookies – see ads across multiple devices.” Offline Actions will tell a business owner which of their ads are driving the most sales, while Path to Conversion will help to determine if their advertising efforts are most successful on a desktop or mobile platform.
Facebook – The Small Business Owner’s Hero in 2016?
These updates continue to prove why Facebook is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to small business marketing. With so many updates being announced in such a short period of time, many small business owners are looking forward to the possibility of what else is to come from Facebook in the next year.
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