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Facebook Adds Shops in Groups, New Product Recommendation and Display Options Tied to Group Engagement

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Facebook is adding yet another element to its expanding eCommerce push, this time with the addition of a range of shopping and product discovery options in groups, in order to capitalize on niche targeting and community engagement.

The biggest addition is Shops in Groups, which, as it sounds, adds a dedicated Shop option within your Facebook Group display.

Facebook Shops in Groups

As you can see here, when a Shop is available, there’ll be a new ‘Shop’ tab in your group navigation options, while items will also be featured in a separate panel within the group feed. That will provide more ways to highlight specific products of interest to members of specific communities and interests.

And a bonus – each purchase from a group shop can also help to support that community.

For example, members of OctoNation, an octopus fan group, can now buy stickers, mugs and apparel to show their love of octopuses.”

Facebook hasn’t specified any clear revenue cut or percentage allocation to the group/merchant, as such, so this is more of an option than a defined process. But it’ll enable group admins to allocate funds to related causes if they choose – or they can advertise group branded items, or items related to the group’s interests.

In addition to this, Facebook’s also adding product recommendations in groups, in order to tap into community expertise and help group members find more relevant items.

Facebook product recommendations in groups

The process is not hugely different from adding a URL to your usual Facebook comments, but the new format will make it easier to browse the recommendations added in response to such queries, while recommended products will also be displayed in the Shop tab as well.

They’ll also be shown in a new Top Product Mentions alert in main user News Feeds, which will be displayed to people who are members of related groups.

Facebook Top Product mentions

As you can see in these example screens, the listings will not only highlight the most discussed products in groups, but they’ll also include the specific comments made about each, with a link through to the relevant group discussion.

And finally, Facebook’s launching a test of Live Shopping for creators, which will see popular creators partnering with brands in order to highlight their favorite products. 

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Facebook Live shopping for creators

So it’s basic influencer marketing, but via Facebook Live, which, given the amount of people following the most popular creators on the platform, will no doubt see many brands seeking new partnerships with these influencers as they look to raise awareness of their deals and offers.

Live-stream shopping events have become a key focus for social platforms, with YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest and Facebook all running various live shopping broadcasts and tests designed to encourage purchase behavior. The immediacy of live video, along with connection to popular influencers and stars, is a strong combination for maximizing engagement, and sales, and with this expansion, Facebook will be looking to further explore its potential on this front, and drive even more action on eCommerce listings.

Live stream shopping has been a big hit in China, where live-commerce is on track to become a $423 billion market by the end of next year. Facebook’s hoping that western consumers will align with the same trend, which could help to give its broader commerce ambitions a significant push.

Amid the pandemic-led surge in online shopping, consumer interest in, and openness to eCommerce has seen a significant shift, which has opened up new opportunity for social platforms to capitalize on these behaviors, and boost related in-app activity. Instagram seems the most likely to benefit from the push, given its focus on visual engagement, but YouTube also has ample opportunity to showcase related items, as does TikTok, the rising social app of the moment.

Facebook may not have the same visual focus nor trend value, as such. But what it does have is the audience, and with 1.8 billion people engaging in Facebook groups every month, that presents major potential to reach consumers engaging with specific topics, and specific interests, which could be highly valuable to businesses looking to get their products in front of these users.

Though the process is not clearly defined on this front as yet. Can brands partner with group admins to get their products featured? And if they do, is there any system in place to allocate a cut from sales to the group?

There are still a few elements that will need to be ironed out in this respect, but the capacity to showcase product listings within Facebook groups could open up a range of new opportunities.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Ahead of World Cup, influencer ‘Mr Q’ lifts veil on Qatar

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Khalifa Al Haroon, known to his followers as Mr Q, has become a social media hit by partially lifting the veil on World Cup host Qatar

Khalifa Al Haroon, known to his followers as Mr Q, has become a social media hit by partially lifting the veil on World Cup host Qatar – Copyright AFP KARIM JAAFAR

Raphaelle Peltier

At a time when prickly questions are being asked about Qatar and its hosting of the World Cup, Khalifa Al Haroon offers a smile, a sigh and a shrug as he seeks to explain its mysteries.

Known to his growing number of followers as Mr Q, the 38-year-old has become a social media hit by partially lifting the veil over the tiny but mega-rich Gulf state that describes itself as a “conservative” Islamic country.

The first World Cup in an Arab nation has put a spotlight on Qatar’s treatment of foreign workers, gender rights and even the use of air conditioning in stadiums.

Haroon’s cheerful #QTip videos broach everything from saying “Hello” in Arabic to the right way for men to wear the flowing ghutra headdress. There is also an edition on labour rights.

With less than 60 days to the November 20 start of the tournament, he now has more than 100,000 followers on Instagram and more than 115,000 on YouTube. And the numbers keep growing.

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Qatar has dozens of online influencers on topics ranging from “modest” but expensive fashion, to the latest sports car being imported into what is now one of the world’s wealthiest nations.

Haroon carved out his niche by elucidating Qatar’s unknowns to its growing expat community — and now the hordes of football fans expected for the World Cup.

Haroon — who was born to a Qatari father and British mother and spent 16 years in Bahrain — said he was first confronted by global stereotypes about Qatar and the Middle East while studying for a law degree in Britain.

He had wanted to become an actor, but instead launched his social media presence in 2008 with a blog.

“I was in the perfect position because I was a Qatari who has never lived properly in Qatar,” he said.

– ‘Trust your own eyes’ –

“In essence, I was like a foreigner in my own country and so I had the same questions that foreigners did, and so it just made it easy for me to start putting together information.”

Haroon said there has to be a distinction between “negative news” and misinformation about his country.

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“When it comes to fake news, obviously, I think everybody understands that it’s not true and so the only thing that I could do is show people videos and pictures and show them what we’re really like because you can trust your own eyes.”

Some people, he said, have told him they decided to move to Qatar after watching his videos.

Haroon, who is now a consultant to the Qatar Football Association and an eSports entrepreneur, said he is excited about the World Cup “because people can now come here and experience it for themselves and make their own judgements instead of just believing what’s written”.

His main grouse is how outsiders see something negative about Qatar and then believe that all Qataris “accept it or we all agree with it”.

Many supporters of the 31 foreign countries who will play in Qatar have raised concerns, however, about the welcome awaiting them. Can they drink? And what will happen to same-sex couples in a country where homosexuality is illegal?

The government has insisted that beer, normally restricted, will be available and that everyone is welcome. Haroon wants outsiders to experience “real Qatari hospitality”, with its food and coffee culture.

“Of course there are going to be certain social norms,” said Haroon. “What we are asking for is just respect the country. And of course the country will definitely be respecting everyone that comes.”

“Some people might make mistakes because they don’t know what the rules are and that’s OK,” he added.

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“The point is our culture is all about intention, our religion is about intention, so as long as you have good intentions and you want to do the right thing, you have nothing to worry about.”

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