When I first heard about Facebook Home, I initially thought it was just another app created by Facebook, but after seeing it in action I was surprised at how innovative the idea and implementation is. You’ve done it once again Mark Zuckerberg – created a whole new idea and approach to an existing product.
So what exactly is Facebook Home? It’s described by Facebook CEO as a “collection of apps” and provides Facebook features for your home and lock screen. Currently available only on selected Android devices, the software is still in its beginning stages, but has gotten a lot of recognition both supportive and well, not so encouraging. My opinion? I think it has a lot of potential and is great for a frequent Facebook user.
What makes it different?
Two features that are notable on Home are the “Chat heads” and the “Cover feed”. If you’ve updated your Facebook app on your iPhone or Android, you may have noticed that chats now appear in the form of a circle with your friend’s photo. These are the “chat heads” and you can move them around the page.
On Home, you can move chat heads outside of the app and they will be present on any app you use – mail, Instagram, Google Maps – until you close them. The idea is that it makes it convenient to chat with your friends without having to leave the app itself. On Home, this feature also connects with your SMS texting, so it’s not limited to just Facebook Messenger.
The “Cover feed” replaces your lock and home screen. When you unlock your phone, you will essentially see your news feed, but it will take up your entire background. From here you can swipe left or right to see the latest updates from your Facebook friends, so it doesn’t resemble the generic News Feed that you see on the desktop or mobile version of Facebook. It’s visually based.
How can it benefit your business?
Although there is no record of businesses doing anything innovative on the new platform, there are ways it can benefit your business because of the strong emphasis on visuals.
The cover feed, like a news feed, displays updates from both friends and brand pages. Utilizing features within Facebook like Facebook Offers, Ads, or Check-Ins will help to spread the word about your company. When someone claims an offer, their friends will see that claim on their feed as well, which inevitably gets your company’s name out there.
As a business, utilizing this is simple – use more visuals and engage with your audience. Show a behind the scenes of the company, snap pictures if you’re company is at an event, invest in Facebook Ads so your company appears in people’s news feeds. In other words, get in their face, but without saying “Hey this is my business”. Getting more engagement will ensure that your post will appear across non-fans cover feeds as well simply because their friend liked or commented on your post.
Remember, this is still in its earlier stages so perhaps it will be optimized for businesses in the near future as it makes its way to more devices. Currently Facebook Home is only available on the Samsung Galaxy 3, Note 2, and the 4. It’s also available the HTC One X , the HTC One X+, and the HTC First. The HTC First is the first phone to have Facebook Home pre-installed into the phone itself. The others have to download it from Google Play.
The good thing about Facebook Home is that it allows you to toggle between it taking over your home and lock screen or just having your usual home and lock screen. So you won’t be stuck with it if you don’t like it, and it is possible to turn it off just like you would do with any mobile app.
Actually, in recent studies Facebook Home has reached near 1 million downloads in nearly a month’s time (released April 12, 2013). So with that being said, I guess it is catching on for people. As an iPhone owner, I can’t utilize Home since it isn’t available on iOS and any word of a release date for iOS devices hasn’t been announced yet – Bummer.
Source: MSM DesignZ, Inc. is a Westchester based NY web design firm specializing in advertising, social media, SEO, web and graphic design and much more.