As Facebook changes for individual users, social media marketers are speculating about how the changes will both positively and negatively affect small business pages. Facebook has been fairly silent on the issue of what changes will be made to pages, and a lot has yet to be discovered. As small business owners now is the time to analyze how these major changes might affect us positively and adversely, and how we as marketers and small business owners will have to change our strategies and roll with the tide.
What we don’t know:
Timeline, subscribe button, and lists
The Facebook timeline brings the past into the present. It is a visually stunning and customizable scrapbook of sorts that allows the user to choose a large picture at the top of the page and show their friends more about who they are. It is for these reasons that it would be brilliant for small businesses if the timeline was integrated into Facebook fan pages. It would really bring Facebook fan page customization and branding to new levels. Let’s all just cross our fingers on this one.
The subscribe button is similar to gaining likes, or followers, only better. Going with the assumption that people who subscribe to you actually want to hear what you say, it would be the best way to really bring great content and interaction to your followers.
If individual users have the friends lists what would businesses have? Some sort of followers or subscribers lists would be an awesome way to direct content toward or otherwise connect with potential consumers based on demographics. For example, pretend I’m an artist with an upcoming gallery opening. Of course I would want to announce this to all of my followers, but if I want to invite some followers to join me, it would be great to have the option to say, sort by city.
What we do know:
The newsfeed and ticker
The newsfeed and ticker changes are leaving businesses with big hurdles to overcome. Since this news feed was implemented, small businesses have been seeing a major drop in the amount of impressions, likes, and comments on their status updates. Facebook uses information about what individual users have interacted with as a guide to what they will present to users. A lot of business news is getting overlooked, which really brings home the idea that we really need to be giving our followers great content! Remember when I first talked about that in my first Facebook post in June? It was true then and it’s REALLY true now. We need to spend the time brainstorming how how our brands can integrate into the daily lives of our followers. Although we won’t know for sure how to do this until all the Facebook changes are rolled out, we can at least speculate start giving it thought, and keep trying to engage our followers, possibly through increasing posting frequency.
Here is the positive spin on the real-time ticker. Although a lot of content is being left behind in the news feed, if even one person interacts with it, it can resurface in the ticker. So, potentially, when June Poodle comments on your status, all 100 of her friends who are online in that moment will see your name. You also have the opportunity to comment, in real time if you see this in the ticker, keeping your status update alive. The caveat here is there is a large number of people who use Facebook on a mobile device, and so they will never see the ticker.
Where do we go from here?
The changes are rolling out little by little. We need to stay on top of the changes, adapt, create great content, and monitor our stats. A lot has yet to be discovered. What we do know is even with Google+, we can’t leave Facebook behind. We have put too much work into it and with a little tweaking in our strategies we will continue to be able to use Facebook in our social media marketing repertoire.
How are the new Facebook changes affecting the way you interact with your followers? How would you like to see Facebook for business change? I would love to hear from you – join in the conversation now!