How the Recent Facebook Changes Impact Your Business

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In September of 2011, Facebook, the massive social networking website, introduced an array of new changes. Many businesses are upset with the new way Facebook functions, even though many of the changes were designed to let businesses and brands interact more easily with prospective customers. It’s time for businesses to embrace the changes and provide users a more robust experience. Here’s a list of prominent changes businesses should be aware of.

Like Button and Comments on Facebook Pages

The recent changes have decreased the importance of the Like button. Any Facebook member can now leave a comment on a company or brand Page, even if they don’t “Like” the Page. The change, a substantial departure from the “Like to Comment” rule, opens up conversations on branded Pages to a lot more users (they may end up being customers). However, it could create a major moderation problem due to anyone being able to comment on a company Page whenever they want.

Some marketing experts believe “Likes” have held back proper brand interaction and conversion; they believe Pages are now more relevant and useful because anyone can comment on a brand Page.

Mobile Marketing

More than 350 million people access Facebook each month via mobile devices. Most businesses overlook this segment when creating a Facebook marketing campaign. The good news is the recent changes have provided new and improved mobile marketing features such as a Facebook app for non-smartphones and an iPad Facebook app. Facebook engineer Luke Shepard, quoted in a Social Media Today blog said, “You can now easily reach the 350 million people who use Facebook every month on a mobile device, including iPad, iPhone, iPod touch and our mobile website.” Mobile marketing can significantly impact your business. It’s vital for businesses to set up a mobile version of their website so users won’t have a bad experience visiting a website not optimized for smaller screens.

News Feed Subscriptions

The “subscribe button” allows users to customize the stories appearing in their News Feeds. They can select some of your page updates, important updates or all updates from their Facebook friends and Business Pages. With the subscribe button users are in control of what they see from your updates. Now making your updates more pertinent to users is more important than ever.

Status Update Character Limit

The status update has increased from 420 to 5,000 characters. This allows companies with important long-form content to share them with visitors of their page or with people who read their updates through the News Feed.

Conversion

Facebook Pages are now open to conversion. Via news feed exposure, more people will visit Pages and the number of comments will increase. This positive contribution to brand awareness makes a brand page a valuable asset and provides businesses an opportunity to directly communicate with customers and prospective customers.

Recent Stories and Real-Time News Feed Ticker

The “Most Recent” and “Top News” have been replaced by “Top Stories” and “Recent Stories.” Stories in the news feed are user produced objects such as pictures, status updates and videos. Unfortunately for businesses, many social marketing experts have noticed Facebook is more likely to give a higher priority to messages from friends than messages from businesses the user has “liked.”

Due to the changes, users have more control of what is shown; companies failing to provide quality content will likely be screened out – a business can no longer just plaster their sales message on every area of its profile because clients and prospective clients may not see it. To maintain visibility, businesses have to spend more time creating compelling messages which resonate with customers and prospective customers.

A real-time ticker, at the top right hand of an active user’s profile, shows posts in real-time. Not all uses will see the ticker. It is only visible in accounts where there is enough activity for it to make sense.

The ticker is an area for lightweight news and activity stories. The good   news  for  businesses  is every action a user takes on a fan page appears in the ticker. A company’s posts get a new life every time a user takes an action on it; the post appears in the ticker of their friends again. Businesses asking enticing questions in their posts increase their chances of getting viewed by friends of fans of the ticker.

Data Accessibility

The Facebook changes have increased the availability of personal user data, which improves the quality of targeting within Facebook’s Ads platform. The new organization of information in the Ticker and Timeline features along with the increased presence of apps allow the information to be more accessible to Facebook and the companies which use its advertising services.

Facebook’s changes are designed to bring more interaction, integration and sharing. A people-centric, user-friendly Facebook page should be part of practically every online marketing strategy.


Source by Jan Stewart

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