Views & Opinions

Facebook’s New Features & What They Mean For Companies

With the recent flurry of activity happening with the launch of several new Facebook features, we decided it might be best to pull all of these changes into one article and to try and decipher what this may mean for brand/company pages. All sources used to create this post are linked below.

New Features:

The addition of Facebook Timeline: Allows individuals to create a “scrapbook on steroids” of their pictures, events, places, videos, Likes, friends, apps (via recent music and movie app partnerships). This feature is not currently available. You can sign up to be notified when it will be available here.

Facebook Apps Get “Socialized”: Changes to Facebook’s Open Graph Protocol now allows developers to create more social apps. Examples of this include Spotify (real time music streaming), Netflix (movie watching without leaving Facebook), and The Daily (news stream). Some new apps currently available... still rolling out new apps/features/developer tools.

Changes to Facebook Profiles: The addition of a real-time “ticker” (live stream of friends’ updates), Top Stories implementation (stories that Facebook thinks you’ll find interesting), Facebook Updates are now called “Facebook Stories”, and you can now see Friends’ Activity on you favorite pages to see what your friends have said/done on the page. Already Implemented.

No More Like Gate for Commenting: You no longer have to “Like” a page in order to comment on the wall. Already Implemented.

The introduction of “Facebook Gestures”: You no longer have to “Like” something – new Facebook Gestures allows developers to turn any verb into a button action. Launch TBD.

Facebook Apps only need to ask permission ONCE to share stories on your behalf – Before apps had to ask permission each time they wanted to share information about you in your profile.

Although many of the recent Facebook changes are appearing on individual profiles, there are still some implications for existing brand Pages. Read the full B2C article by Ken Mueller here. Italic emphasis is mine.

KEY TAKEAWAYS FOR PAGES:

1. Engagement, and especially engagement over time, is more important Creating engaging content has always been important, but continually providing engaging content can be somewhat tricky. Evaluating your posts based upon comments/Likes/Shares is now more important than ever. If certain content isn’t getting the “clicks/comments” that other content receives, it may be time to re-evaluate and revisit your content strategy going forward.

2. Think customer experience over marketing – Provide great content and engagement that translates into great customer service, and your “fans” will be more likely to talk about you positively and share you with their friends. Whether you’re developing a new Page or managing a new one, you need to have a plan to deliver immediate customer service - or at least a way to direct them to customer service within 24 hours. Don’t just say “Contact Customer Service”. You need to reply with email addresses, phone numbers, specific names of people (if appropriate) and the hours of operation. And don’t forget links!

3. Think “story” – The new timeline is all about helping people tell their story. Encourage your fans to share THEIR experiences. Provide appropriate Calls To Action and let users provide some of the Page content.

4. Ratchet your accountability up a few notches –if you provide great content, great products, and great services…and stand behind them, your customers are less likely to be unhappy. I go back to the first thing I learned in dealing with social media : IF YOU SCREW UP, ADMIT IT, APOLOGIZE and FIX IT. If you don’t own it, you’re more than likely going to get ‘called to the carpet’ by a group of angry fans.

5. Turn the auto-pilot off and monitor more closely Auto publishing is great for things that can be scheduled out, but it’s not a permanent solution. Engagement is a two-way street: you need to be engaged with your Page content  if you expect your fans to engage.

6. Find creative ways to help people share their interests – (New apps) Pay attention to new app trends and make it easy for people to share and engage.

7. Consider spending some money ads – Clearly, this is what Facebook wants. The new ad targeting capabilities make it easier for companies to customize their messages – right down to customer zip codes.

8. Consider spending some money on apps – Whether it’s some sort of game or contest, now might be the time to experiment. The increased app functionality can make for some very cool and engaging apps – time to start brainstorming!

9. Focus on the long haul, not just campaigns and promotions There’s often a lull in Page content after a sweepstakes or campaign has ended. Focus on filling the time between campaigns with good content and engaging apps. If your Page pushes  messaging or posts or develops apps that are uninteresting to your internal team, your audience is going to find them uninteresting as well and your page engagement will inevitably begin to dwindle.

10. Be creative New, innovative ideas are often well-received by fans and bring in new Facebook users. Make sure that you properly support your creative ideas – a Facebook app on its own, no matter HOW creative will (in most cases) not be able to promote itself. You need to integrate  other sources of promotion get your idea in front of more people (cue Facebook ads, influencer and advocate engagement, blog posts, PR, etc).

11. Keep it simple If you make your content or apps hard to for users to use or engage with, they’re simply not going to take action. Keep your Calls to Action simple and few and provide clear, concise instructions with your apps.

Sources:

Photo: Thos003

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