Whenever Facebook makes changes to their site, the ripple of effects sends all it’s users scrambling to mitigate the impacts to their online persona – whether that’s a personal page or a business page. Facebook rolled out a round of changes over two weeks ago that are already impacting page performance and they are gearing up to roll out another change that we’re betting will require page owners to rethink their strategy. Here’s why…
The Newsfeed Re-Design
According to Facebook, the purpose of the redesign is to ensure that users don’t miss important events, regardless of how often they log in. You can now see that ‘top stories’ are at the top of your newsfeed with ‘recent stories’ are below that. This new layout is supposed to feature more engaging stories and encourage greater overall engagement (likes, comments, shares, clicks). This also adjusts based on how often you log into Facebook.
You’ve probably noticed that smaller actions such as likes aren’t present in the newsfeed anymore and are now to the right of the screen in what’s called the ‘Ticker’. This is a real-time feed of information that updates as people are acting on Facebook. The information doesn’t stay there long, but it ensures that you see everything…and we mean everything.
Why do you care?
As a page owner, and someone interested in getting more action on Facebook, you care because the likes you are getting on your page aren’t getting as much love in the newfeed anymore. Before, if someone liked a post it would show up in their newsfeed giving you more exposure to their friends and family but now that sort of information is placed on the ticker and is pushed down in the priority list on the actual newsfeed. You’ll need to step up your game on getting deeper engagement and more of it. Likes are still important, but you need a lot more of them to come up in the ‘Top Stories’ section.
Apps can now announce activities in an expanded way, which pass through to the ticker, newsfeed and the profile. So, for example if you are listening to music using Spotify there is now a real-time update on all three areas of what you are listening to. Before, this was limited to certain actions, but now applications are becoming a key part of how someone expresses themselves.
This also enhances the use of Facebook advertising in that you can target users based on this information, making the targeting even more detailed.
Why do you care?
As someone marketing on Facebook, you care because this expanded ability for applications increases their impact in three areas of Facebook – ticker, newsfeed and profile. Consider using more applications and be on the lookout for cool applications that could benefit your page or inspire a fun competition or campaign on your business page.
Announced over a week ago and recently delayed, the latest update for Facebook impacts the layout of the personal profile. Profiles will be completely overhauled into a sleek new page with large cover pictures, featured actions, certain aggregated information and more. It is an amazing overhaul and probably the biggest round of changes in a long time. The basic idea behind this is creating a sequence of important events in the persons life on Facebook in chronological order, with items automatically appearing based on some really smart (and not always accurate) Facebook logic.
Instead of the profile being a stream of information about the persons activity on Facebook, things are now being grouped together to highlight more important updates and also make it easier for people to get a snapshot of what their friend is up to.
Why do you care?
This re-organization groups things together and automatically displays the more engaging, or interesting. This means you need to focus on creating campaigns that focus on touching each of these key areas and driving engagement. Focus on updates that get people talking on your page and interacting, otherwise you will be buried in the ticker rather than growing your brand in the newsfeed and timeline profile.
Based on historical updates on Facebook, brand pages typically get a round of updates, too, but there is no official word on that round of changes and when it will happen. We only hope and pray that we get a snazzy layout like timeline as we love the new visually appealing look of the profile!!!
So, to basically sum up what to make of these changes and their impact on your Facebook marketing strategy, engagement is even more important than it used to be. Remember that ‘likes’ for your page are still very important and keeping this momentum going is crucial for continued success. Sweepstakes and viral-based campaigns are great ideas for generating new ‘likes’ for your page while contests, trivia, group deals and engaging pages are also great for fostering engagement.
Look at your strategy and evaluate how you can take advantage of these changes. You may be able to produce the engagement necessary for frequent appearances in the ticker and lasting impressions in the newsfeed and timeline, but that won’t work for everyone. If your brand is one where engaging actions aren’t obvious (plenty of clicks and likes), think about what activities your fans regularly take, and what partnerships or co-marketing could help turn those activities into deeper engagement.