Facebook has launched a new feature called Neighborhoods, which has similarities to Nextdoor, the social networking app for neighbours.
This new feature is, essentially, an app within the Facebook app, and it provides users of the social network with a way to connect with one another away from their news feeds.
With Neighborhoods (it uses the US spelling with Facebook being an American company), users can opt in and create a separate profile to their main Facebook profile. This will feature their name, profile picture and cover photo from their original profile, and they have the option of adding additional information, such as a bio and interests. Once this is set up, they can connect with people who live in their local area – otherwise known as their neighbourhood.
This expands on activities users already do on Facebook, including connecting with people they know, sharing reviews and recommendations, and showing support for local businesses. It is enhanced by providing users with the opportunity to interact with people within their area who they do not have on their Friends list.
When they join their local neighbourhood, people can get involved in conversations with their neighbours on existing posts or start posts of their own. They can also create and join groups within the Neighbourhoods platform. For those who are admins of existing groups on Facebook, such as a community page, group can be imported into the platform, meaning they don’t have to start from scratch building up a group.
There’s also a Neighborhood Questions section, in which people can submit questions to and provide answers for others in their community. In addition, there’s a Recommendations feature, which lets local people share their suggestions with others about businesses and places to visit. People can also create polls to receive recommendations.
Users will have to confirm their neighbourhood in order to join to make sure they live where they’ve said they do – meaning people from Birkenhead can’t go joining a neighbourhood in Madrid, for example. However, there will be the option to join nearby neighbourhoods, so Birkenhead residents could join a Liverpool neighbourhood.
Currently, the feature is only live in Canada, with plans to release it in the US soon, and presumably the UK won’t be too far behind. Neighborhoods will provide the opportunity to spread the word about local businesses on a new platform, and those running said businesses should make sure they join their local neighbourhoods when they become available.
In addition, those who advertise on Facebook may be interested to know that the activity of those using Neighborhoods will be used to personalise their activity across the Facebook app as a whole – meaning the ads they see. With the new iOS 14.5 update from Apple making it harder for Facebook to track the activity of its users, this in-app solution is undeniably a clever move. Whether Facebook Ads themselves will be displayed within Neighborhoods is unclear as of yet, although it’s extremely likely.
If you’d like to use Facebook or the wider web to connect your business with people in your local area, we’d be happy to help here at Engage Web. Give us a call to learn more.
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