What began as a simple platform for specific college networks has grown into a hub of social activity for 1.65 billion monthly active users. Popular Facebook features like Pages, News Feed and a suite of advertising tools have made this network a must-have for marketers and advertisers.
Since 2004 countless new Facebook features have been released for you to use to meet your business objectives. If you’ve been on the platform for a while, it’s easy to overlook some of its most dominant features. And if you’re new, you might be overwhelmed by all of Facebook’s moving parts—and there are a lot of them.
Whether you’re too comfortable with the classic line-up or unsure of where to start, here are few overlooked Facebook features we think you’ll love:
1. Like Pages as a Brand
Easily one of the most overlooked Facebook features is the ability to Like other Pages as your brand. When you’re focused on building out your Facebook presence, Liking other Pages isn’t usually top of mind. But it’s a great way to support partners and sister brands, as well as other businesses.
Your Likes are always displayed on the left-hand column of your Page. However, if you want to throw a little extra love someone’s way, you can choose which Pages are featured. Up to five Pages are shown at a time, but you can specify which Pages appear by selecting them as featured.
For example, Aveeno chose to highlight Pages relevant to its brand, while Lululemon features some of its subsidiaries. You can rotate featured Likes as often as you want, or you can keep the same three to five displayed.
To Like a Page as your brand:
- Visit the Page you want to Like and click the icon with the three dots in the lower right corner of their cover photo.
- Select Like As Your Page from the drop-down menu.
- Find your Page in the second drop-down menu that appears.
- Click Save.
2. Pages to Watch
If your Facebook Page has more than 100 Likes, then you have access to a powerful Insights tool: Pages to Watch. This feature gives you the ability to quickly compare the activity, engagement and audience growth of up to 100 different brand Pages.
Facebook Insights offers dozens of helpful features for analyzing Page performance, but one of our favorites focuses on what others are doing instead. Pages to Watch can be used to track a number of performers in your industry including competitors, influencers, collaborators, partners and peers.
By staying abreast of what your competitors and industry peers are posting, you can use that information to inspire a new or strengthen your existing content strategy. This is why it’s important to track Pages that are relevant to your brand, and not just Pages you’re personally interested in. While it’s intriguing, that data will do little to move your strategy forward.
If you’re using this for competitive intelligence, be aware that the people who manage the Page will receive a notification that it has been added to a watch list. The notification won’t include your name or the name of your Page, however.
How to Access Pages to Watch
To start building your own Pages to Watch list, take the following steps:
- From your Page, click on Insights.
- By default you’ll be taken to the Overview tab.
- Scroll down and underneath the “5 Most Recent Posts” section, you’ll find Pages to Watch.
- Click on Add Pages to get started.
- After searching for a Page you want, click + Watch Page.
- When you’re finished building your list click Done.
Once Pages have been added to your watch list, Facebook will begin providing a detailed view of every one of their posts from the current week. If you decide to stop watching a Page, just hover over the Page you want to remove and click the “x.”
- Remember: If your Page doesn’t have 100 Likes, you won’t see this feature on your Overview tab in Insights.
3. Save for Later
If you’ve been Liking Pages as your brand, your News Feed should be full of interesting content. But marketers and social media managers don’t always have time to click through and read articles or watch videos. That’s where Facebook’s Save feature comes in handy.
More than 250 million people use Facebook’s Save feature, which lets you save content so you can come back to it later. All of your saves can be accessed at any time by going to your saved items in the “More” tab on mobile or by clicking the “Saved” link under Favorites on the left-hand side of Facebook on desktop.
And don’t worry, this isn’t where content goes to die. Facebook will occasionally show you reminders of your saved items in News Feed.
4. People & Other Pages
Another useful yet possibly underutilized feature is People and Other Pages, which is found under your Page’s settings.
It may seem silly to include this since you receive notifications about Page Likes, but for brands with hundreds, thousands or even millions of Likes, it can be hard to keep track of every notification.
This feature gives you a comprehensive list of every person and Page that has Liked your Page—as long as they’ve done so publicly. It can be filtered by people, Pages and banned individuals. One of the major benefits is utility since you can quickly assign someone a new role, remove them from people who Like the Page or ban them.
Additionally, the list provides you with the date on which each person or Page Liked yours. This small detail could be useful for tracking follower growth during campaigns or contests. And by keeping an eye on which Pages are fans, you’re better able to build relationships that could lead to new content partnership opportunities.
This certainly isn’t something you need to track every day, but it’s good to be aware of for regular check-ins.
5. Saved Replies
Last year Facebook began testing a new feature called Saved Replies, which allow businesses to write, save and re-use messages when responding to customers on the social network. It’s similar to Sprout’s Suggested Replies feature for Twitter. It’s a particularly useful feature if you’re using Facebook for customer service, but can also be helpful when answering frequently asked questions.
While certainly a time-saver, Saved Replies isn’t a pass for lazy communication. Although your response to the same question over and over won’t vary much in content, it should be personalized to the individual. For example, make sure you use their name in your response and thank them for taking the time to reach out.
How to Create a Saved Reply
To created a Saved Reply for your Page, follow these steps:
- Click Messages at the top of your Page.
- Click on the Messages icon at the bottom and select Manage Replies.
- Choose Create Reply.
- Add your reply title and message.
- Click Save reply.
To use your Saved Reply, click on any conversation you want to reply to on the Messages tab, followed by the Messages icon and choose the reply you want to use. We recommend editing your message to personalize it a bit before sending.
6. Response Assistant
Facebook is one of the top destinations for social customer service. According to a 2014 study, 44% of consumers expect to hear back from a brand on Facebook. Of course not every business can afford to have an around-the-clock support staff. If that’s the case, Facebook’s Response Assistant might come in handy.
Response Assistant is a feature that offers three different types of response options. The first lets you stay responsive even when you can’t get to your computer. It lets customers know that you will respond soon. The second sends an instant reply to anyone who messages your Page. The final option is to send people a greeting the first time they start a conversation with you on Messenger.
All three come with pre-made canned responses that you can turn on (they’re off by default). You’ll also notice that each one includes the option to edit the response. This is recommended so you can add a bit of character and ensure the tone matches that of your brand.
Track Your Progress
Regardless of which features you’re using, the key to finding success on Facebook is tracking your performance. How else would you know if anything you’re doing is actually working?
Sprout Social’s updated Facebook Pages Report provides you with a ton of data around message volume, engagement, paid activity and audience demographics.
With our report, you can:
- Get an overview of stats for multiple Pages.
- Analyze organic Likes, impressions and video views.
- Compare paid and organic engagement to calculate ROI.
- Measure clicks on links to see if your content is driving traffic.
- Monitor audience engagement and action metrics.
That’s just a few of the ways our Facebook Pages Report can help you track performance. Curious what the report says about your Page? Sign up and download yours today.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.