Social audio, photo layouts, and dynamic ads—oh my! There are a lot of new Facebook updates and beta tests on the scene. Of course, we’ve already identified the ones you’ll want to keep your eye on. It’s normal practice for social media platforms to continually evaluate and experiment with new ways to satisfy their user base, and Facebook is no exception.
As of late, resources have been poured specifically into initiatives for small business owners and content creators. Subsites like Social Good for Business and a platform for independent publishers come to mind. And as always, technical updates for improving user experience are always being rolled out.
Keep reading for four updates that may impact your efforts as a content creator or entrepreneur on the website.
Remember when we told you Facebook was working on a social audio feature in the same vein as Clubhouse? Well, Facebook’s New Product Experimentation (NPE) team already has a prototype. It’s called “Hotline” and according to Social Media Today, it “incorporates the engagement features of Clubhouse with more visual and text tools, including optional video streaming for hosts and speakers.”
According to Tech Crunch, which calls Hotline a “mashup of Clubhouse and Instagram Live,” this feature has an edge over others with a recording function that converts the conversation into MP3 and MP4 versions.
“The creator can then upload these to other networks, like YouTube or Facebook, edit them into short-form content for apps like TikTok or turn the audio recording into a podcast, or anything else,” they reported. “At launch, anyone can join a Hotline for free and there’s no limit on audience size, though this could change as the experiment progresses.”
Facebook also shared a statement with multiple media outlets after news of the beta test broke:
“With Hotline, we’re hoping to understand how interactive, live multimedia Q&As can help people learn from experts in areas like professional skills, just as it helps those experts build their businesses. New Product Experimentation has been testing multimedia products like CatchUp, Venue, Collab, and BARS, and we’re encouraged to see the formats continue to help people connect and build community.”
Visuals are an important piece of the entrepreneurial pie, so let’s hope Facebook’s new “Layouts” feature does more harm than good. It’s a new feature being rolled out on the Facebook app and within the post composer tools.
New! Facebook has added a ‘Layouts’ feature for sharing multiple photos
— 🟣 Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) April 7, 2021
According to a sneak peek shared by industry expert Matt Navarra, users can expect a variety of vibrant templates and layouts for their profiles. This update is technically an extension of visual features that debuted back in 2019. Still, they look fresh and fun—excited to see how these will look on the timeline.
For those who will continue working from home or adopt a hybrid home-office schedule, Facebook is ensuring that its Portal TV device can support a wide variety of virtual meeting tools.
In an April 7 announcement, they confirmed adding Zoom and GoToMeeting to PortalTV so you can broadcast meetings from your television instead of feeling chained to your laptop.
For those who don’t know, Portal is a “smart, hands-free video calling device with high-fidelity sound and an AI-powered Smart Camera to keep your conversation in focus.” Learn more about the product here.
Personal QR Codes
QR codes became essential tech during the pandemic, especially when stay-at-home orders and infection rates were at an all-time high. Consequently, we started to remember just how convenient they are. (For example, I recently went to the hair salon and was able to tip my stylist via a Venmo QR code after realizing I had forgotten cash.)
According to MAC Rumors, Facebook is testing a QR code feature that would be integrated into its Facebook Pay system.
“Users will be prompted with a new ‘Scan’ button in their Facebook Pay carousel. Pressing it allows users to scan a QR code for a friend or family member, select the amount, and transfer the money. Additionally, Facebook Pay is also introducing personalized payment links, which automatically direct others to a secure page to transfer money to your account.”
Facebook confirmed the test in a brief statement to Tech Crunch, emphasizing that they want to “make payments on Messenger even easier.”
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