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Promote Your Site \ DEC 6th 2018

10 New Facebook Features Every Business Owner Needs to Know

Here’s a statement you won’t be able to argue with: Facebook is constantly releasing new features. In fact, it might require a daily digest to keep up with all of their changes. As a small business owner, you’ll also need to filter out what’s actually applicable to your needs and come up with a plan of how to implement that feature on your own Facebook Business Page. Don’t worry, though – we already did that work for you. From entertainment to new marketing techniques and the never ending attempts of Zuckerberg’s brand to provide users with transparency, we’ve listed off ten of the most popular, new and relevant Facebook features that you’ll want to integrate into your business plan immediately.

Facebook Entertainment

Host a Watch Party

Earlier this year Facebook released an exciting way to bring communities together: Watch Party. Although everyone will need to get their own bucket of popcorn, they can virtually watch and interact with the same video at the same time, together. To use this feature from your personal profile or Facebook Business Page, you will take on the role as party host. In order to start the festivities, click on ‘Watch Party’ under the post section from your profile page or news feed. Then, choose one video (or a few), and share them on your news feed. Anyone that has access to the post you’ve released will be able to view and comment on it at the same time from their own screens.

The feature was initially launched to groups only, but now it’s open to everyone, which includes users who want to post on their general news feed as well as businesses through their Facebook Business Page. Yet, one main limitation is that you can’t upload a new video. Instead, you’ll need to choose from the videos previously uploaded to your page, trending live videos, or one of the many available on Facebook Watch. Facebook Watch is a video streaming service (sort of like YouTube) released by the platform just last year to offer original videos created by Facebook’s partners. Just this week, Facebook released several popular, classic shows to the platform (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly) in order to stimulate buzz around the newly released feature – all of which are available free of charge.

How to take advantage of this feature:

Your business can be the host of an exciting event happening live or revive a worthy video from the past. If you choose the right topic for your target audience, it will be a great opportunity to boost engagement on your page by offering your followers a fresh form of content that breaks free from traditional posts and ads. Just make sure that the video topic you choose is relevant to your business. Then, it’s quite simple to get started planning the digital movie night of the year.

Get more out of Facebook Stories

If you’re familiar with Instagram Stories, then think of Facebook Stories as the mirror image of just that. These are ephemeral photos and/or video collections uploaded by users that are only available for viewing for 24 hours. The feature itself is not so far off from what you’ve already seen on Instagram. This includes the available settings, stickers, location, boomerang, and more. However, what is new and exciting is the opportunity to instantly react to other users’ Stories with just the click of a button, in the form of a like, heart, or facial expression.

Facebook Stories had a slow start, but in the past few months it’s been gaining traction among consumers, growing to over 300 million daily users. Along with this, Facebook, as the owner of Instagram, has clearly seen the major success of Instagram story ads. These are two major reasons why the company decided to implement story ads on Facebook as well. Any business can create one, while being able to take advantage of the incredible targeting capabilities and consumer information available through Facebook’s database. For measuring results, advertisers should expect nothing less than what’s already offered on Instagram – such as reach, brand awareness, views, conversions, traffic and more. Linking it to Instagram even further, it’s possible to share your story ads on both platforms, allowing you to reach more consumers for a lower cost. To learn more about the platform and how to create your own, check out Facebook stories ads here.

Facebook Stories

How to take advantage of this feature:

For instant reactions on stories, all you need to do is create and share interesting and relevant Facebook Stories that stimulate engagement from your viewers. That can be story-form content such as, behind the scenes clips, educational tips, product or service promotions, feedback from customers, or anything that can relate back to your company. This new feature is here to help you see how much buzz your Stories are getting.

From the Stories ads side, use this as an opportunity to inspire users to convert to match your stated business goal, whether that’s visiting your website or purchasing your product or services. This can be via displaying your new arrivals, promoting a sale, or just sharing an intriguing photo or video that will spark your viewers’ interests. It’s possible to promote your ads and reach at least double your current audience size with the same ad by applying the campaign to both Facebook and Instagram stories.

Marketing & Advertising

Manage everything from the Creator Studio

If you’re one of those people that never lets a document slip its way out from your organized file folders, then this might be your new favorite Facebook feature. The Creator Studio houses all of your content needs from Facebook under one central hub. Here you can manage, protect and publish your content. It’s also possible to monetize ads, track performance and so much more. One of the coolest parts (in our opinion) is the brand new creative tools available. An example of this is ‘Sound Effects’ for videos (accessible under the ‘Sound Collection’ area of the Creator Studio. These are free sound effects that you can use when you create a video on Facebook, such as NASA’s stellar collection of space sounds added just this year. It’s worth your time to browse the Creator Studio, especially if you are want a transparent view of your user insights and if you have multiple business pages to manage.

How to take advantage of this feature:

Play around and test out the different components of this feature for your business. This is an excellent location to make the most out of videos for Facebook, from browsing background sounds to uploading a video and checking its performance. Overall, the ability to manage your creations in one place will incentivize a more productive work environment when utilizing Facebook’s marketing opportunities for your business.

Offer a sneak preview of your videos with Premieres

Give your audience a red carpet experience with Facebook Premieres, a new feature that lets publishers post pre-made videos as if they are happening live. First you’ll upload a video, then schedule it for a future date (up to one week ahead). Facebook will send out an announcement post with an image of your choice and option for viewers to subscribe to updates about your premiere. Later, there will be a three minute countdown to your followers leading up to the big launch. When it does go live, the announcement post becomes your video post. This will work just like a Facebook Live video, where viewers can watch, comment, share, and like the video in real time.

How to take advantage of this feature:

This is a fresh way to reel in viewers to your Facebook page. However, it’s only worthwhile to do for big events in order to avoid spamming your customers or taking away from the excitement surrounding certain bigger events. For example, it’s something you might use for big company announcements, like new products, crazy sales, or website launches. Don’t use it for less dramatic things, as that sort of content is best placed in a regular page post or on your Facebook Story. Remember that this is an opportunity to get lots of attention on your Facebook page, so make sure that you’re equipped for it.

Boost your ads’ performance with square images

Facebook ads are one of the best ways to reach your target market based on the detailed consumer data they house and the vast amount of monthly active users. And now you can make your business stand out even more with square-sized (1:1) image advertisements. Along with the companies release of 3D photos, this is yet another way that your image-related capabilities can expand thanks to Facebook. Taking on the mobile-first initiative full force, square images are perfectly fit for smartphone devices. Why? Because it allows your ads to take up more real estate on these tiny screens. Think about your experience browsing Instagram – a platform invented for a mobile audience – and how much more engaging square images are in comparison to rectangle ones. That’s why this feature is worth testing on Facebook. However, you should note that square image advertisements only show up correctly if users have the recent version of Facebook installed.

How to take advantage of this feature:

In your Facebook Ads Manager, create your linked advertisements the same way that you normally would, except for the image you upload. You’ll want to create and upload images with dimensions of 1:1, rather than the standard 1:1.91. The recommended resolution for square images are 1080 x 1080 pixels. If you decide to utilize this feature, it’s worthwhile to do an A/B test with the original rectangle image size and the square image size to see which one performs better before fully switching over. Paired with the Facebook pixel (discussed below), this combo will boost your ad’ performance and rapidly bring more users to your website.

Get to know your audience better with Facebook pixel

Facebook pixel is a code that you can place on your website to measure conversions, optimize performance and build targeted audiences for your Facebook ad campaigns. More specifically, you’ll be able to see who is buying your products and services through the ads you’ve targeted them with – then, retarget them again. Also, it allows you to understand which devices are best for conversions (laptops or smartphones), target customers via Facebook with products they’ve viewed from your website, and understand how people are using your website, among many other things. To get the most insightful knowledge of your audience via Facebook, this is definitely one feature worth implementing.

How to take advantage of this feature:

If you have a service-based website or an eCommerce store, this tool is for you. First, you’ll create your Facebook pixel through the Ads Manager and then connect your website. As a Wix user, adding the Facebook pixel to your site is a process that’s achievable in just a few simple steps. After this is done, you can start creating ads right away with a focus on your products and services, and certainly a link to somewhere on your site (your product or service page is preferred). The more conversions that happen through the pixel, the smarter it becomes at reaching the right people. It won’t take long for you to see the benefits of smart targeting with this feature.

Take your GIF game to another level with GIF Ads

GIFs are extremely short animations that replay endlessly. If you have a social media account or have ever met a 13-year old, you’ve probably been exposed to this expressive and addictive content form. And those that are familiar with these files might not realized that they could pop up in more places on the Internet than they already do. Or further still, that their businesses had any tangible use for them, aside from expressing emotional, yet playful, responses to customers. Now your preconceived notions can be neglected thanks to Facebook enabling GIFs in their advertisement arena. Seeing the social media trend of extremely short videos take off (as customers are much more likely to watch them in full), Facebook couldn’t resist leaving out this hyper-engaging feature.

How to take advantage of this feature:

Unlike video ads, GIF ads require much less investment. They are both an attractive and additive content form to potential customers. Thanks to a variety of online tools, the process of making GIFs is pretty simple. All you need to do is upload your own images and videos to a GIF maker, like Giphy, and save your file from there. To turn these files into ads, create an account in Facebook’s Ads Manager (linked to your Facebook Business Page) if you haven’t already. After this, go through the necessary steps to create an ad. Everything is the same as a normal ad, but when choosing which file format to attach, make sure to click video, not image. If you’re looking for more information about this file type, check out our fantastic GIF guide.

Facebook GIF Ads

Target your customers through Messenger

According to Facebook, 1.3 billion people are using their private messaging platform, Messenger, which was launched in 2011. Messaging services are spreading like wildfire, as more and more conversations are heading towards the private space. So, Facebook created a separate smartphone application specifically for this, and since then, the engagement rates have been soaring. That’s why a new Facebook feature, Messenger marketing, was introduced. The point is to allow businesses to take full advantage of this area and reach their customers via private messages. And since most people feel urged to make that little push notification go away once their eyes meet their smartphones, your ads have a good chance of being opened and seen. These reasons alone explain why utilizing the platform for marketing opportunities is a must.

How to take advantage of this feature:

Messenger marketing is one surefire way to get in touch with your customers by reaching them where they already are. There are several types of ads that you can work with: Sponsored messages (promote in current conversations), Display Ads (target specific audiences), and Click-to-Messenger ads (initiate new conversations via Messenger). Whichever method you choose, be prepared to experience better open and click rates than you ever thought were possible for your business.

Transparency

Be aware of new ad restrictions

Facebook has been making major pushes to ensure that advertisements reaching their users are more transparent than in the past. This is why they’ve placed restrictions (translation: they’ve reduced the distribution) of low quality or disruptive content. Facebook will be watching for and penalizing the performance of deceptive, shocking content  from linked external websites in ads, providing misleading information, and large and oddly cropped images, among many other things. Although the boundaries are kept vague by Facebook, you can find more information about Facebook’s advertising policies here.

How to take advantage of this feature:

While all of your intentions to advertise on Facebook may be pure, you’ll still need to be cautious of everything that goes into your creations to make sure that they perform well. To do so, make sure that your content is heavily related to the ad that you’re promoting – check that your caption, image, headline, news feed description, and externally linked website all flow together. This includes not releasing images that crop out key components within your ad. If you are transparent with your audience about this information, your ad performance should not be jeopardized by this restriction.

View any business’ running ads

Facebook has added an ‘Info and Ads’ section to all Business Pages. Whether you follow a certain page or not, you are able to see what ads they are currently running. But this isn’t the only thing available in this section. It’s also possible to see the date the page was created and recent name changes. Over time, Facebook plans on adding more useful data to the information section too. This act was established in order to provide consumers with more clarity about companies and to prevent abuse on the platform. It was not created to help with engagements, as clicks on ads from this section will not be counted as part of the ad’s performance stats. Overall, these insights will  provide a 360 degree view of transparency in the ads and page information space.

How to take advantage of this feature:

As a business, this will provide your customers will clearness about the ads you are currently running. Therefore, you should make sure that what you choose to share is information that is acceptable if seen by anyone in the general public, not just those that follow you. For example, curious customers can look for information on sales and features that were not marketed to them. On the other side, this is a great opportunity to see what your competition is up to in order to gain inspiration and learn from their successful campaigns.

Looking to establish your online presence outside of Facebook? Create a website with Wix today!

By Jennifer Kaplan
Community Writer, Wix About the Wix Blog

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