If you were on Facebook this past weekend you no doubt noticed some changes. About a week or two ago those of us with Facebook (fan) pages were invited to transition our content over to the new format. Late last week regular “profile” users were migrated to the much discussed new homepage. Whatever your personal opinion is (though one of my favorite friend status updates from the weekend was ‘Where IS everything?!!! Curse you facebook!’) there are some exciting developments that marketers utilizing Facebook should know about …
- Pages = Profiles As you can see, pages for organizations and businesses now look more like profile pages. This is a good update for brands with pages as the old layout was clunky and difficult to update and leverage. This means your business can have status updates that are supposed to start appearing in fans news feeds soon (no word from Facebook on when ‘soon’ is). This also means that your page will feature profile-like tabs for users to easily navigate plus a wall for you and your fans to interact. Very cool as all of this allows for more frequent interaction with your fans — giving you the potential to build even stronger brand advocates via Facebook.
- The Need for Speed Definitely a behind-the-scenes update but you will notice it instantly. The ‘new’ Facebook features news feeds that are updated pretty close to real time vs. every 10 minutes as before. So users will now be even more in-tune to the goings on in their network.
- Cutting the Clutter So with all of this new info coming at users much faster than before the logical progression will be that the quantity of updates will increase as well. To protect against this new onslaught of info, users can now create filters on their homepage (now being called a ‘stream’ like that other social site that starts with a ‘T’ …) in an effort to cut through clutter.
- Relevancy Rules What do filters mean for you? If you start spamming your fans you could get banished to that filter they never check. However, if you keep your messaging relevant then you could make your way into a more frequently monitored filter. Like email — and most online marketing anymore which is becoming more personal by the minute — relevancy is king.
- Face Time Making pages more like profiles and moving to an almost real-time news feed means that you will probably have to increase your time investment in Facebook. Gone are the days when you could set up a fan page and watch it grow like a garden. You’ll need to get in there and prune it more regularly to keep your updates in this bigger and more competitive ‘stream’ high on the wall.
- More Metrics In addition to the general fan counts page admins had before, you’ll know get more rich metrics on comments, posts, etc. More measurement is always a good thing especially since the new Facebook may require a bit more time thus giving you a better handle on your ROI.
So as you can see, for marketers, these updates are very advantageous though they seem to be raising the ire of many Facebook users. Unlike the toppled terms revision of last month, these updates are probably here to stay as Facebook searches for ways to stay competitive with Twitter and, like all social media sites, strives to monetize.
What do you think of the new Facebook changes? Is it too much like Twitter or just the natural evolution of the online conversation?