Facebook’s recent announcement at the F8 conference of radical changes to the platform, including things like timelines and tickers, has left most of the tech world reeling. While a lot of attention is being focused on how these changes will affect individual users, how will these and previously announced changes affect brands using Facebook Pages?
1. More integration of apps
Perhaps the biggest change for brands is that Facebook Apps will now be able to be more fully integrated into a Facebook user’s experience (read: timeline). For example, if you’re an online news site, someone reading an article on your site via your Facebook App will have that action published within the context of their timeline. This means more exposure for brands on Facebook – but once again, brands are increasingly being rewarded for interacting with users in a meaningful way.
2. Users have more control over their news feeds
With far more control now given to users to edit the top stories in their news feeds, they’re more easily able to filter out brand messaging from their Facebook feeds. So, if you’re a brand that doesn’t have much relevance to a particular user, your updates will quickly be edited out. This makes it more important than ever to create Page updates that are interesting, relevant, and that really stand out to your target audience.
3. Comment on a page without Liking it
Announced a little while before the F8 conference, this is nevertheless a significant change you may not be aware of: Facebook users can now comment on a Page without Liking it. While this creates an even easier way for people to interact with brands, it also makes it harder to incentivise people to Like your page. Previously, you could woo people to become fans of your page by asking them to comment on a specific issue or question. Now, they’re able to do that without the commitment, which means you as a brand will have to work harder to get a Facebook user’s attention.
Facebook’s changes are impacting brands too, because the new timeline format will force brands to be useful publishers rather than simply marketers or advertisers. So, the golden rule here (which hasn’t really changed but is being emphasised more and more) is: create useful content, and interact with your target audience on Facebook in a way that is meaningful to them. Yebo!