Hi! We’re Alex and Will — a couple of engineers at EverTrue who were sent on a mission to learn as much as we could about all of the recent changes at Facebook and how they affect our integrations and future plans for our products.
While our main focus at Facebook’s annual f8 Developer Conference was reconnaissance, we didn’t mind enjoying a bit of Cali sun, some In-N-Out burgers, and a chance to check out some of Facebook’s developments in VR on the new Oculus Go headsets they handed out to attendees.
We wanted to share as much as we could so here’s what’s happening at Facebook and how it impacts alumni relations and development in 2018 and beyond.
Not a surprise, but a lot of the conference revolved around privacy issues.
Facebook made a big splash by announcing a new feature called “Clear History,” where users can wipe out all of the data Facebook has collected.
The good news for advancement teams? This doesn’t change who’s following your public university pages. You can still create content to engage them and track those interactions in EverTrue.
Unfortunately, Facebook has temporarily switched off access to insights from Events and Groups. As soon as that happened, EverTrue submitted an application for approval to reconnect to Facebook Events. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of companies doing the same and Facebook will begin its review process soon. We’ll update you as soon as we’ve gained approval from Facebook. For now though, we have done everything possible on our side to position ourselves for when they re-open the gates.
In the meantime, check out our sweet Eventbrite integration.
Facebook wants to focus more on groups and make it easier to join and interact with groups in general. They are launching a new Groups tab in the app that should make this a more central and easily accessible feature. Facebook is also adding a new “Join Group” button that can be embedded on websites for people to easily join groups on Facebook from external sites.
This could be great for higher ed as institutions look for more ways to connect like-minded alumni, whether they’re in the same region or share similar interests. Your alumni are already on Facebook every day, why not leverage that to make sure your network stays atop their news feed?
Facebook is pushing VR hard this year, with lots of awesome features like watch parties, live events, and algorithms that can recreate your childhood home from pictures in your Facebook profile.
Our big idea here is GiVR… What if we took EverTrue’s online giving platform to the virtual reality world? You could experience donating to your alma mater like never before with realistic recreations of the university and mind-blowing action of the programs your gifts affect.
Messenger + Chatbots
Facebook is really investing into Messenger, and allowing brands (like your institution) to connect directly with followers via chat. Facebook is actively promoting Messenger as a way for businesses and nonprofits to maintain relationships with customers that doesn’t require the customers to come back to your site or open an email. Look for more businesses to start offering chat features (powered by Messenger) on their site, soon. We wouldn’t be surprised to see colleges start, as well!
There’s even the possibility that a forward-thinking school could use Messenger on its site, then record conversations with alums as another engagement point (similar to the way EverTrue now tracks likes and comments). Those interactions could become searchable in EverTrue. Think of it as a contact report written automatically by a chatbot. Cool, right?
Facebook remains the biggest social media platform in the world. It’s investing heavily in new products and features that sync up with business needs and advancement team’s goals.
Whether it’s using Facebook Events to promote gatherings or connecting with graduates via Messenger, there are new opportunities to use Facebook’s tools to build stronger connections with alumni. Schools and universities can use the world’s largest social platform to engage alumni on a personal level. And isn’t building strong relationships what alumni relations and development is all about?