Facebook Inc. this week announced changes to its features that could affect business use of the social network. Businesses can now post promotions and contests on their pages' timelines and collect contest entries by having users post on the page or by having users message the page.
   They can also allow users to use the "like" button as a voting mechanism, according to the
official Facebook blog.
Previously, businesses could only run promotions or contests through a third-party app.
A Facebook spokesperson told the AllFacebook blog that the capability should make it easier for small businesses to build awareness for new products or the opening of a new location.
"Say, for instance, a local pizza parlor wants to give away free pizza for a month to the 100th person to like its post," the spokesperson wrote. "Now the business can do this right on its page (and increase awareness of the post via promoted posts) without needing to work with a third party to build an app."
Facebook also announced a new feature that allows multiple contributors to post photos to the same photo album, the tech blog Mashable reported. In the past, only the creator of the album could post photos to it.
Twitter Inc. also updated its mobile phone apps, with the intent to make it easier to follow conversations on a user's timeline. To see a short video on that feature, click here.