Facebook has added a new feature to its Pages Manager mobile app that allows you to create pages within the app itself. In case you are not familiar with the app it gives you access to all of your Facebook pages in one handy place, allowing you to write status updates, share photos and also create events. You may think that using the normal Facebook app can allow you to do all of this but the difference is that with the Pages Manager app you just access the pages that you manage without being distracted by the activity that is taking place in your own newsfeed. This means that you can focus on the information that matters to your business and the app also alerts you when there is a notification for one of your pages.
This new feature now means that you can create new pages while you are away from your desktop. There is a four stage process in creating a Facebook page via mobile:
- You choose a name for your page and choose the type of page it is, business, cause etc.
- You write a description, link it to a website if you have one and state whether it is a community or not.
- Add a profile picture
- Choose your vanity URL
I did not see the point of having this facility at first, after all when you create a page for your business or cause then you usually want to plan it in advance, figure out the sort of content you are going to use, the images on your desktop are probably of a higher quality than those on your phone etc. However, I think that there are two reasons that Facebook has introduced this feature.
Firstly, it allows users to react to breaking news and create a page immediately no matter where they are. One of the stages of the page creation is to pick the vanity URL for the page and if you are reacting to breaking news then there might be a whole heap of other people that are looking to create a similar page with the same name and the ability to be able to claim that name is important. I do not think that this is the main reason that Facebook have introduced this feature though.
The second reason that I believe Facebook will now allow you to create pages within the Pages Manager app is for users in the developing world, where landline broadband is not as ubiquitous as it is in Europe and the USA, to have the facility to utilise social media without the need for a desktop computer. In many parts of the world it is mobile that is driving the Information Age and in these regions people are more likely to access the internet via mobile devices than traditional desktops. Thus if you are a small business owner in one of these regions then you will still want to harness the power of social media but may not have the infrastructure to be able to do so in the way that most of the readers of this article will be able to do so. In order to create a Facebook page for their business they would have to find somebody with a desktop and Internet connection. Now they can create the page using the Facebook Pages Manager app on their smartphone.
The number of people and businesses that are connected to the web increases daily and while here in the West it would be fair to say that internet access has pretty much reached saturation point in the rest of the world there are vast untapped markets for Internet based companies such as Facebook and Google to explore.
The role that social media will play in this battle for supremacy of the web in these areas cannot be underestimated. Google’s main business comes from its search engine of websites, but websites cost money in the form of design and build, hosting etc. A Facebook page on the other hand can be set up free of charge and will allow a business to explore the potential of connecting with customers via the Internet with far fewer costs. Furthermore, it is true to say that Facebook is still the social network that has more members than anybody else in most countries, making it attractive to businesses in these countries as a gateway to connecting with customers both old and new. By allowing more businesses to get online Facebook will be hoping that these same businesses will be prepared to pay for advertising on the world’s most popular social network and that will be a potentially massive revenue stream for Facebook.
In some parts of the world the cost of laying cable to reach outlying populations may not be cost effective at the moment. Earlier in 2013 Google gained a lot of attention with Project Loon, an experiment which tested the feasibility of using high altitude balloons to provide wireless internet connectivity to just these sorts of populations, so Facebook is not alone in realising the potential that these emerging markets possess. Facebook have already stated that they believe that internet access should be considered a human right.
There are two ways to look at this, the cynic in me would say that these are just attempts by internet companies to improve their bottom line. The optimist in me would say that this another step forward in the advancement on the human race. Facebook and Google would probably claim that this is a win:win situation and they might just be right.