Battery vampires, data gatherers, addiction boosters – these are some of the commonalities of today’s social media apps. Does this also apply to the big family of Facebook apps? The final decision as to whether you need or want to have all of them installed on your phone is totally up to you.
A recent Pew Research Center study (Fall 2019) found that 70% of Americans are unaware that Instagram and WhatsApp are part of the Facebook group.
Just a quick recap:
Facebook acquired Instagram in April 2012 for $1 billion. (Source: TechCrunch)
Two years later, in early 2014, Facebook acquired the messaging service WhatsApp for $19 billion. (Source: Forbes)
Yet seven years later, the vast majority of people continue to be clueless about the fact that these two major apps, which they use on a daily basis, are part of Mark Zuckerberg’s imperium. This is absolutely mind-boggling.
Facebook holds a decent collection of various apps. Some of them have been disabled like for example Facebook Groups, whereas others continue to be updated and improved on an ongoing basis.
Here are some of the most common Facebook apps:
Facebook is basically the parent app. You can scroll through posts, watch videos, interact with your friends and see whether there’s an interesting event nearby you might want to attend. If you have a lower end phone with less data or you prefer a lighter version with fewer features, you might want to try Facebook Lite.
The next one on the list is the standard Facebook Messenger app that also comes with a ‘Lite’ version. This is where you can text your friends, make phone and video calls for free or interact with a business.
If you’re an admin of several Facebook Pages, you will most likely use Pages Manager to easily manage and switch between pages, check different page notifications, interact with followers and even respond to messages.
For those of you in the advertising business, the Facebook Ads Manager will certainly be one of your most ‘intimate’ companion apps as it allows you to create new ads, track ad performance, manage ad spend and get a glimpse into analytics. If you’re often on the road and need to take a deeper dive into analytics so that you can have more in-depth knowledge on specific ads and be able to make better decisions, Facebook Analytics will come handy.
Workplace by Facebook is an app suited for larger businesses and global organizations with a lot of staff. It’s basically an Intranet, an internal social network that enables employees to collaborate and communicate with one another. So if you’re a solopreneur or a small business with a handful of employees, the likelihood of you using AKA benefiting from this app will be little to none.
The photo and video sharing social media service Instagram has become one of the most popular apps. Although it works as a separate entity and doesn’t carry the Facebook name, the app still belongs to the overall Facebook ecosystem. The very same criteria apply to the world’s most popular messenger service WhatsApp. The app runs under the Facebook hood, allowing people to text, make calls, send photos and videos, and interact in groups for free.
Which one of these apps do I use?
Before I share some tips and recommendations, let me tell you which Facebook apps I use.
If you’re not a first time visitor or reader of my blogs, you know that I’m an avid advertiser on Facebook and Instagram. Therefore, the main Facebook app that I use is Ads Manager. Along with it, I use two more apps: Pages Manager and Instagram. That’s it.
Which and how many Facebook apps you should use is a very personal and individualized decision as it depends on preferences, life circumstances, smartphone capacity, and many other factors. Therefore, there’s no ‘one-fits-all’ answer.
If you value time tremendously just like I do AND you don’t subscribe to the current stigma that you have to be available all the time and answer to questions 24-7/ 365, then you might want to go with a minimalistic approach similar to what I’ve mentioned above.
Although I run a lot of ads and consult with clients worldwide who advertise across Facebook’s platforms, I prefer to use the desktop version of the Ads Manager and Analytics. Especially when it comes to analytics, I very much value a larger screen. Even if I have periods where I spend vast amounts of time travelling, I stick to the desktop version and only have the Ads Manager app installed on my phone.
For those of you who need to respond to messages but aren’t near a desktop and are looking for alternatives to the Messenger app, know that you can accomplish a pretty decent job from within the Pages Manager, too.
Furthermore, if you don’t want to totally give up on the main Facebook app, you can add the Facebook site to your phone’s home screen. This is basically a shortcut, a bookmark from your browser. Although the Facebook icon looks like an actual app, it won’t be listed on your web app page. You’ll only be able to access it from your home screen. Occasionally you might be asked to log in again.
An interesting decision remains whether to use Instagram or not on your mobile. As the desktop version isn’t particularly user-friendly thus pushing you towards either using the original app or some 3rd party tools, you might want to keep the app until there’s a better solution presented.
Now, what to do with WhatsApp? So many people are addicted to it and yet, you’re well advised to sit down and assess whether you really need the app or not. You might want to look into other private messaging services if you don’t want all your data to be ‘centralized’ and ‘stored’ by one big blue guardian in Silicon Valley.
All these apps are designed to be amazing attention seekers and keepers. They can easily ‘mutate’ into time wasters if you let them control you.
Facebook apps along with all other major social network services are fantastic tools that enable us to run our businesses more smoothly, share our message with the world across multiple channels and interact with clients from all over the world – in most cases for free.
Yes, most of them are large and permission-hungry apps but remember:
You’re the master.
You’re the one who invited these apps to the party by installing them on your phone.
If you don’t discipline yourself to using them appropriately, they will take control over your life. And it doesn’t matter whether these apps come from Facebook or another provider.
Originally published on my blog at StrengthInBusiness.com.