Last month, Facebook unveiled Rooms, the social network's version of message boards and discussion forums. The company issued its first update to the Rooms app for iOS today (Nov. 25), adding new features to help Room owners monitor activity and drive engagement.
Though owned by Facebook, Rooms is a standalone service outside of the social network. It lets you create, join and participate in "rooms" about any topic you're interested in. Each room contains a feed of content — photos, videos and text — about that topic, much like Instagram and other social networks.
Rooms offers businesses a new venue to market their brands, showcase their expertise, and spark conversations with current and prospective customers. Users can invite their friends and share content, just as you would with any other social network. [21 Social Media Marketing Solutions for Small Businesses]
What Rooms isn't is an advertising channel. For instance, if you own a yoga studio, you wouldn't create a room for the sole purpose of promoting classes, workshops and merchandise you offer. Instead, you'd create rooms to discuss specific yoga-related topics, such as the benefits of practicing yoga and advice on improving one's practice.
The challenge with Rooms, however, is keeping up and keeping them active. With this new iOS update, businesses have a better way to monitor their rooms and stay up to date with the latest conversations — using push notifications and a new activity dashboard.
Receive alerts for new activities. The app can now send your phone push notifications whenever someone posts in a Room you create or belong to, so you always know when there's something new to talk about.
It can also alert you whenever members tap the Like button. These alerts are customizable, allowing you to designate different sounds for different members.
You can turn the alerts on and off in the settings menu.
Get insights on room activities and member behaviors. The new activity dashboard offers several metrics to track activity and measure engagement, such as how much time members spend in your room, as well as the number of posts, comments and Likes your room received in the past week. Use this information to make improvements, up your own activity and increase engagement.
The update also comes with several bug fixes to make the Rooms iOS app work better and faster. The Rooms app is currently only available on iOS. An Android app has yet to be announced.