Tips, Internet, Creative Solutions, Internet Trends, Facebook  With 750+ million users, 55% of all social site visits, and 40% of daily web traffic, Facebook is more than just a simple social media website. It enables users to stay up to date with current news about their friends and the world, check into places where they are currently hanging out at, view advertisements tailored to their interests, and send private messages and chat with friends. Facebook has also become a business tool, giving businesses a channel to connect with an interested audience who are more likely to respond to advertisements, deals, or discounts.

While Facebook is clearly not lacking in variety of features, the social media giant continues to innovate and launch new applications and updates frequently. It’s hard to stay current with all the new features, so here’s a summary of Facebook’s latest additions and how they can make your social experience even more awesome.

1. Deals & More Deals

Announced in April 2011, this application utilizes the "Places" feature and allow users to receive deals at local businesses once they check-in. Using the Facebook mobile app, you tap the “Places” button and businesses currently offering coupons will display a yellow icon. To claim your discount, you then simply check-in and show your phone to the cashiers. Coupons include discounts, free merchandise, and group, loyalty, or charity deals. This is a great feature for local businesses that want to connect with their customers and build up loyalty. A sure win-win for businesses and those on the go!

2. Chat / Video Calling

The chat application isn’t a new feature, but Facebook developers added some updates that makes it easier to sort through your friends and find the people you want to talk to the most. Facebook changed the design so your chat application appears as a sidebar and displays friends who you talk to on Facebook most. You can now also create group chats, making it a lot easier to schedule outings, catch up with old friends, or even communicate in the office.

Tips, Internet, Creative Solutions, Internet Trends, Facebook

In July 2011, Facebook announced its partnership with Skype, which incorporates video calling into the social media website. Video calling isn’t a new service, but it is gaining more momentum and use. Having the application embedded within Facebook makes it easier for users, eliminating the installation of a third-party video calling service and allowing users to become more engaged within Facebook for their social needs. You can instant or private message and group or video chat all in one place instead of running multiple applications for your numerous needs. Video calling is not yet offered, but it is scheduled to become available for users soon.

3. Phototagging Enhancements

Tagging photos on Facebook used to be a hassle because you would have to click on a friend’s face and then type in his/her name, which can really be a drag if you often tend to upload a lot of photos of a bunch of friends. Luckily, Facebook made this necessary chore much easier using facial recognition technology, which groups the same person in multiple photos and requires you to type in his/her name only once. As you continue to use this upload method, Facebook will actually begin to recognize faces so you won’t even have to type in a friend’s name. Pretty nifty! Facebook also created “Photo Tag Suggest” which lets user tag photos of their friends that they have not yet been tagged in.

4. Messenger

Tips, Internet, Creative Solutions, Internet Trends, FacebookUnveiled this past Wednesday (August 10, 2011), Messenger allows users to message friends on Facebook or contacts in their cell phone. You may be thinking that this feature is the same thing as texting and it in fact is—only better. With so many options, such as texting, messaging, email, or writing on someone’s wall, it’s hard to decide which option will get your message to your friends the quickest. Messenger allows you to send messages through notifications and texts so your recipient is likely to get it right away. You can also send group texts and add a location or photo so everyone will be in sync. This feature can also be used by smaller businesses that want to keep in touch with their customer base by enabling them to send messages and texts to customers to inform them about daily sales or new updates. Wow!  Lot’s of cool stuff.

The best part is that all of your messages will be in one place since Messenger is just an extension of Facebook. All of your conversations will be stored in “Messages” on your Facebook page so you no longer have to open multiple applications, wondering if a specific message was sent via text, email, or chat. Everything is in one place, making it simple to find what you are looking for. The only caveat is that it currently is only available for iPhone or Android platform users, but stay tuned as Facebook continues to evolve.

Wrap-Up

Facebook is always constantly innovating, offering applications and tools that you didn’t even know you wanted or needed. It is clearly a great socializing platform, but it may also be essential for your Internet marketing campaigns. Utilizing all of Facebook features, such as Ads, Pages, Check-Ins, etc. will drive more traffic to your business and optimize your advertising, search engine marketing, and Pay-Per-Click strategies in an affordable and social manner.