Wednesday, May 4, 2016

How Facebook Will Forever Transform Business

 

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“If we’re trying to build a world-class News Feed, and a world-class messaging product, and a world-class search product, and a world-class ad system, and invent virtual reality, and build drones, I can’t write every line of code.”
– Mark Zuckerberg

The social revolution began in the early 2000s. While incarnations of primitive quasi-social-media websites existed even earlier, the permeation of social channels through mass consciousness started with websites like Myspace and Friendster. Today, Facebook, Twitter, and a gaggle of other digital congregations all exist, no longer as a mere place to connect with friends, but as a way of life.
Today’s embodiment of social media is vastly different than anyone could have predicted. It has become the veins of the Internet. It connects people. It’s a place for people to receive their news and entertainment, follow trending topics, discover new and interesting ideas and, occasionally, talk to a real-life friend. For businesses, it has become vital to daily operations. It’s a way of building awareness, promoting new content and products, acquiring sales, servicing customers and a variety of other applications. This monumental metamorphosis is largely thanks to the radical efforts of one social site in particular: That is, of course, Facebook.

This social behemoth has effectively changed the way the Internet is used, the way the world works, and it seeks to do this many times over. The company’s mission: “. . .to give everyone in the world the power to share and make the world more open and connected,” has impacted society in irrevocable ways. As the social portal journeys toward becoming the ultimate “lifestyle platform” to meet any and all needs of the users, it will inevitably transform the way companies do business; this shift is currently transpiring before our very eyes.

For those of you who are naysayers, consider that in 2012 the company went public, existing only as a website and app that’s profitability was in question. Today, roughly 1.5 billion people use Facebook. More than 900 million use WhatsApp, 800 million people are on Messenger, another 700 million love Groups, and finally, 400 million reside on Instagram; all of which are Facebook properties. The company operates four out of six of the largest social platforms in the word, not to mention the impending consumer frenzy Oculus Rift will create. If anyone has paradigm-shifting potential, it’s Facebook.

In recent months, the social titan has heavily pushed two initiatives in particular: Messenger and Facebook Live. Through these two ambitions, the company aims at creating the beginning of an entirely new era in business and digital communications.


The Messenger of Everything
Facebook has some massive plans for the fastest growing and second most popular iOS app of all time (only trailing Facebook itself). The pervasive application already supports that sharing of messages, photos, allows for video calls, money transfers, and other services, but things got a lot more interesting and all-encompassing at this year’s F8 developers conference.

At the conference, Zuckerberg announced that publishers would soon gain access to share content directly through Messenger with the use of chat bots and that a tool entitled “Messenger Platform” would allow developers to create their own chat bots for people to engage brands through the app. Everything from placing orders to customer service inquiries can now be leveraged through Messenger. This was shown off when the social CEO ordered flowers from 1-800-Flowers directly from the app. But the application aspires to be much more as it can now be utilized to shop online, share gifs to Giphy, call an Uber, track packages, and a seemingly endless list of other tasks. As the company continually incorporates more apps into Messenger, it is blatantly clear that “. . .the Messenger team’s mission is to make Messenger the best place to communicate with all the people and businesses in the world,” said David Marcus, Facebook’s Vice President of Messaging Products.
The team has also been developing a Siri-like virtual assistant called “M” and tests are reportedly “going well.” 2016 may be Messenger’s biggest year to date as the company hopes to turn phone numbers into a thing of the past while simultaneously killing off most other applications by turning message threads into the apps of the future.

Businesses, meet the only marketing, contact, sales and lead generation portal you may ever need in the near future.

With all that is transpiring on the Messenger side, it’s amazing that the company has time for its next life-altering endeavor. Cue Facebook Live.


Changing Communications with Live
Facebook Live has made some major waves since its recent release, and even more with the updates it received not too long after. Adding in new reactions, filters, analytics, and the ability to broadcast directly to Groups and Event pages, as well as a handful of other upgrades, has created an entirely new dynamic to the social streaming service. People from all over the world can now be brought together over a single interest in real-time on the largest social platform known to man. This opens the possibilities for private events to be created for things like business meetings, interviews, doctors’ appointments for visual aliments, customer service portals, and endless amounts of other face-to-face interactions.

Now, the social portal is opening up the Live API to all developers so that Facebook Live can be directly integrated by device manufacturers and app developers from the word go. This brings a whole new aspect to live streaming and was announced in similar fashion as a DJI drone flew over Zuckerberg during the announcement, live streaming the entire event to display how Live will be leveraged in the future.

Facebook knows that the Internet is going the way of video and that it will soon rule the roost for online traffic. In January, Facebook hit 100 million hours of video watched on its site per day. These new features are systematically removing nearly every reason for people to utilize any online utility aside from Facebook. As this progression continues, it is entirely feasible that in the years to come, companies will conduct all of their publishing, promoting, selling, and every other aspect of business through Facebook alone.

And this is far from the end of the societal and corporate archetype-shattering plans that Facebook has in store for the near future. The company revealed its 10-year roadmap, which includes projects that will delve even deeper into virtual and augmented reality, as well as artificial intelligence. Overall, the ultimate plan of Facebook is to “Give everyone the power to share anything with anyone,” which it is well on its way to accomplishing.

Sure, there is still room for failure. There always is. But if past results and current trends are honest indicators, Facebook is gearing up to rule the digital world.

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How do you think business will be impacted in a Facebook-run future?