New Facebook Changes a Good Thing for Business
As a company who helps businesses maintain their Facebook pages, my team quickly did an in depth review of all the new features. Here’s a quick guide to the changes and how they will impact your company’s Facebook presence. Overall, it encourages more sharing and interaction, which should help elevate your page’s visibility, so long as you’re giving people content worth sharing. It’s no longer going to be enough to get customers to click “like” on your page; you’re going to have to keep them interested and active.
The newsfeed, the running list of friend activity that you see upon opening Facebook, got an overhaul with Top Stories now at the top. These stories are what Facebook thinks are of most interest to you and that have a lot of comments and “likes”. The downside is that you’ll now have to fight to get your way into Top Stories by giving your friends or “likers” something worth making a comment about. Additionally, as users, you can tweak what’s in the Top Stories by clicking on the top right of any post to hide the story or hide all posts from that page. You don’t want your friends to hide your posts because getting them to like your page will have become pointless. So keep your content interesting!
The ticker now runs at the top right of your screen and is a real time flow of all your friends’ actions. I like this because Facebook has taken all the inane stuff from the newsfeed, like accepting a friend request, “liking” links or making changes to your profile, and stuck it here. This helps the newsfeed be less cluttered with uninteresting junk (Farmville, anyone?). The ticker is also beneficial to business pages, because even if you don’t make it into the newsfeed you still have a chance to be here.
In a direct swipe at Google +, Facebook has added the most popular feature from Google’s latest foray into social networking that it calls Smart Lists (Circles in Google+). Facebook has automatically created lists, such as Close Friends, Family, Business Colleagues, Indianapolis residents, etc. based on the information it has about you and who you interact with most. You can tweak who’s in these lists and choose to share content only with select groups.
Very much like Twitter, on Facebook you can now “subscribe” to people without becoming their “friend.” This means you don’t have to mutually agree to connect, but rather you can follow someone’s Facebook content without them following you back. However, you don’t have to allow subscribers, but if you do (a great idea for journalists, public figures, politicians, musicians, etc.), go to your profile page, click Subscribers and opt in. Now anything that you post and choose the sharing option for Public will be shared with your subscribers. This can be a great tool for following top people in your industry, for PR people who want follow journalists, etc.
In addition to “liking” something on Facebook, soon you will be able to say you are “listening” to a song on the music service Spotify, “watching” a movie on Netflix or Hulu or “reading” an article from the Washington Post. This new use of verbs will likely encourage more sharing of activity, again a good thing for business pages. The more you can get people to comment and share your activity the better likelihood you’ll show up in the newsfeed and get maximum views.
Finally, Facebook is unrolling an entirely new profile page called Timeline, which Mark Zuckerberg says will serve as a scrapbook of your life. You can go back to the day you were born, note key moments with content, photos or video, and divide all this good stuff by year. Facebook will even pull out what it sees as major moments in your life since you joined Facebook. So far, it’s getting good reviews. Anything that gets more people to go on Facebook and to stay there longer is good for Facebook … and good for your business page.
Although many people are complaining about all the changes, I promise we’ll all get used to it. These are positive changes for Facebook and ultimately will make it a better tool for people and businesses.