What’s “Happening Now?” Facebook’s New Feature and What It Means for Your Business

Facebook is in the process of adding a new feature called “Happening Now.” It’s currently being tested on a handful of users’ profile pages; expect to see it go into wide use in upcoming weeks.

What It Is

Essentially, the “Happening Now” feature will function in many ways like a Twitter feed. It will give you real-time updates about actions your friends are taking. And primarily, it looks like it will focus on other Facebook pages or outside links that they are “liking.” You’ll also be able to click on updates there to get more information without leaving either the feed or your profile page.

Where It Is

With the current test, the “Happening Now” bar appears on the right side of a user’s profile page, underneath the two or three ads that are usually currently displayed. It seems unlikely this placement will change when the full rollout comes.

What It Does

At the moment, there is a fair amount of duplication between your normal news feed and the “Happening Now” feed. We expect this will be worked out before final rollout, with “Happening Now” focusing more on “likes” of various Facebook and outside pages (as we mentioned above). There will also be integration with Facebook Places, utilizing the check-in feature.

What It Means for Your Business

While “likes” are currently shared on your main news feed, they aren’t always shown in a timely manner, and they aren’t always shown for all your friends or for everything they like. With “Happening Now” things will get shared immediately and consistently. If your business’ page is getting “liked” it’s going to show up to more people, and more quickly, than ever before –and they’ll be able to see all about it without leaving their current page.

And the integration with Facebook Places (a feature that probably hasn’t caught on as much as Facebook would have liked so far) can help friends meet up around town, especially as Facebook use shifts more and more to mobile devices. Your business can end up as a meeting place, and even if your customer’s friends don’t become paying clients right away, at least you’ll be on their radar now.

Best of all, the “Happening Now” feature should be a seamless addition to your current Facebook usage. There will be nothing new to sign up for, learn how to use, or add content to.

As Facebook and other social media platforms continue to increase in importance as marketing tools, we think the new “Happening Now” feature is only going to help your exposure go up.