In the past few weeks, Facebook has released three new features. Auto photo uploads, the new Poke app and a $1(£0.62) fee to send messages to people users aren’t friends with are all changing the way people and businesses use and view Facebook.
Auto Photo Uploads for Facebook Mobile
This new feature, called Auto Sync, allows users to enable a setting on their iOS or Android device that will upload every photo a user takes with his or her phone to a private Facebook album. Users can then decide if they want to share or delete these photos. Each user will be given 2GB of cloud storage for their auto-synced photos.
The photos will only sync when the Facebook app is open, and users can choose to sync only over Wi-Fi, which will help them keep data and battery use in check. The photos will also be smaller (100KB) and Auto Sync will turn off if the phone’s battery is low. The ability to allow photos to be automatically uploaded is something that Google Plus has offered for some time.
Auto Sync makes it even easier for Facebook users to upload and share photos, meaning your brand could benefit from more visual content. It may become easier to host photo contests or to encourage your customers to share photos related to your brand.
Currently, the new Poke app is only available on iOS. The app attempts to bring more relevance to Facebook’s poke feature, which has been part of the social media site for years. With the app, users can send their friends (individually or in groups) notes, photos or videos. But, there’s a catch. Messages sent through Poke will disappear 1, 3, 5 or 10 seconds after they are opened, depending on the time designated by the sender.
The app is very similar to an app called Snapchat, which also lets users send and receive self-destructing messages. A few criticisms of the app include the fact that users must download the app to view messages and that users only see notifications of new Pokes when they use the Facebook app, not when they login to the web version of Facebook.
Facebook is testing a program that will charge users to send messages to people they aren’t connected with. According to Facebook, it is an attempt to discourage people from sending unwanted messages. Currently, messages received from friends are listed in a person’s “Inbox” folder while messages received from people they aren’t friends with are listed in the “Other” folder. With this new test, some users will have the option to pay a $1 (£0.62) fee to send their message directly someone’s Inbox, even if they aren’t friends with that person.
Should this feature become a permanent part of Facebook, businesses may see a decrease in private messages from their customers. Of course, people will still be able to send messages to the “Other” folder, but despite that, some people may be deterred by the fee and choose not to send a message at all. Knowing this, brands should make it clear to their audience that they can still receive private message and that their followers don’t have to pay a fee to communicate with them.
To remain competitive, Facebook is constantly adding new features and testing new ideas. Historically, some of these ideas have remained and some have been discontinued. In the coming months, companies should be aware of these three changes and what kind of impact they could have on their social media marketing.