Global companies have been longing for easier ways to manage their brand's social media presence across multiple markets. For years, it seemed the platforms weren't keeping up with the growth of multinational corporations. This left most business owners at a stalemate that often resulted in the extreme decision to "...not do anything at all (for now)."
While it's true that there are a myriad of social platforms in other countries that possess the majority share of active users, Facebook continues to expand their superiority across the world. With 1.71 billion monthly active users, it's difficult to fathom that they won't be the platform that overtakes every other network in any given market.
So with Facebook's unrelenting growth and increased desire to connect everyone around the world, the aforementioned brand desire to leverage the network to reach new customers has seemingly hit a ceiling. Perhaps that's why Facebook has finally started to roll out features that can help large organizations manage their global social media presence with much less frustration.
The Elusive 'Global Facebook Page'
A few years back, Facebook showed brands a glimmer of hope when they announced their "Global Pages" for businesses. This was essentially a glorified business page that allowed companies with a broad audience to designate a distinct geo-IP version of their page for users accessing it in different countries.
To serve as an example, global pages were designed to display Portuguese updates to fans that accessed a brand's Facebook page in Brazil. This was great, in theory, but brands still had their concerns.
First and foremost, Facebook will not roll out a Global page for a company unless they spend more than 5 figures a month on advertising within the network. This means not very many companies get to take advantage of it. On top of that, brands realized that rerouting fans into a specific version of their page isn't necessarily the best user experience.
After several years of this type of user feedback, Facebook made some improvements.
One Post To Rule Them All
Facebook reviewed their data to determine that 300 million people see automatically translated posts, which are served through Bing, Rather than rely on a "Translate post" button, Facebook began testing a multilingual composer tool earlier this year. This tool allows brands to see their updates in other languages prior to publishing them. They also have the chance to override the translated content to ensure its relevancy for the intended demographic.
The publicized demo of the publisher tool looks intuitive and easy to use. Facebook's release of this news seemed to restore hope in mutlinational brand managers around the world.
Video demo here: https://code.facebook.com/Engineering/videos/10154209986972200/
44 languages later, Facebook users can now see content in their native tongue.
Amidst a year of constant innovation, Facebook most notably has evolved the way Facebook users can correspond with one another directly. Their plan to disrupt the messaging world began shortly after their acquisition of WhatsApp. At the time of purchase, WhatsApp was trending toward being the standard for cross-border messaging by device.
Fast forward to a few years later and Facebook has leveraged the WhatsApp momentum to become a more robust messaging platform with multiple products and capabilities. Users can now call each other within Messenger (much like Skype). Encryption is now an option that inspires trust in the technology. It seems they're doing all the right things.
Their biggest and most clever strategic move throughout all of this, however, was their divorce of Messenger from the flagship Facebook experience. Since users were prone to engage in messaging their connections via their mobile device, the idea was to force users to adopt a separate messaging application (aptly named "Messenger) to increase stickiness via more direct in-app notifications.
1 billion active users later, it's safe to say they were pretty successful in their goal of making Messenger the most widely used messaging app worldwide.
When Facebook announced chatbots at their annual F8 conference in April, it didn't seem like that much of a big deal to business owners. After all, the company took major strides in virtual reality, and that technology took all of the attention away from other innovations.
But chatbots quickly became a thing. Every page owner on Facebook was notified of "Automatic responses" and the technology's new customer service-related capabilities. These automated responses were immediately looked at as an easier way to manage customer interactions by setting the right expectations.
At the core of these responses were configurable bots. These bots offered business owners a way to inform inquirers of the information they were seeking or defer them to other means of contact if necessary.
Chat Bots Evolved
With their announcement of chatbots in April, Facebook encouraged developers to build their own solutions. A more open platform allowed for all types of innovation opportunities. News sources quickly built out ways to push their news stories to readers through Messenger. Customer service companies integrated their technologies into Messenger. Financial entities created ways to transfer funds within the ecosystem.
Yet, they were still only scratching the surface.
Facebook's Messenger can now be embedded onto a website for on-site chat. This directly competes with live chat solutions that many large brands happily pay for. What's the difference?
- Facebook Chat is free.
- Everyone is on Facebook.
- It can be integrated with the same automated responses.
- Users will be able to interact on your website in-language.
This is a watershed moment not only for global social networking, but for managing customer service worldwide.
I would be remiss to not mention the overwhelming success of Facebook ads. There are plenty of thorough articles on why the network has changed the advertising industry, so I won't recycle those points. Instead, I'll continue focusing on how translated content and hyper-targeting can make for the perfect recipe for lead generation.
As soon as Facebook's publisher tool gets rolled out to Facebook ads, Facebook advertising will be even more powerful than it is today. You can already target 25 year old female fashionistas that like gelato in Italy with a few clicks.
Can you imagine what can be accomplished if your targeted ad could automatically be optimized in language and have embedded customer support if acted upon?
We're close to seeing a company solve many of the globalization problems that the largest companies in the world are plagued with. Every innovative step the company decides to take, it seems to unearth another unprecedented capability.
As long as Facebook continues to be forward-thinking, there should nothing to stop them from becoming not just the destination for connecting anyone with their friends and family, but also an incredible weapon for running your global business.