September 23rd, 2011What will the new Facebook News Feed changes mean for Brand Pages?
You may have heard that Facebook recently updated their “News Feed” and to no surprise there has been a backlash from their users. Much of this backlash has been around the removal of the option to choose between “Most Important” and “Most Recent” News and the new creation of one consolidated News Feed that automatically aggregates both most recent posts and most relevant. The most relevant posts are now called “Top Stories” and “Most Recent.” Facebook has also added a new feature called “Ticker” and this is a real-time feed that sits on the far right hand side of your screen.
The big question for marketers is what does this mean for brand pages?
Despite some recent posts that state that the changes will not benefit brands, the more I dig into the changes, the more it looks like the new format could be very beneficial for brands.
1. Social actions you take on a brand page, “like” a post, comment, etc. pop up in real-time in your friends Ticker. Your friend has the option to roll over the Ticker and expand the conversation seamlessly. The fact that a lot of the social actions that may not be the most important news for everyone (status updates, likes, friending and comments) are now real-time in the Ticker offer instant visibility, where before they were often hidden in the cluttered old feed. It gives most social actions an equal opportunity to be seen. Albeit the opportunity is shorter because the ticker moves quickly, but the new dashboard approach taken by Facebook offers people a “Twitter-like” interface while maintaining the ability to have weighted more relevant conversations bubble up to the surface similar to a Google+.
1a. Since many of the social actions are now in the Ticker, I’m seeing more posts by brand pages in the updated News Feed design then in the previous. Because many of the social actions have been removed from the News feed and into the Ticker highlights the brand page posts more in my feed than in the old feed system.[j1] The new cleaner “News Feed” provides significant exposure to brand page posts and this clears the way for more opportunity to engage. It seems like most of the posts in my “Most Recent” feed are brand page updates.
2. How do your brand page posts become “Top Stories?” What happens is that when a post by a friend or a brand page becomes “hot” and people are engaged then it moves up to the top. If you check Facebook a couple of times a day then your “Top Stories” go away and it is replaced by the “Most Recent.” If you are like me and check Facebook more that once or twice a day, it quickly switches to “Most Recent” news and “Top Stories” fades away.
The goal for brands pages is to create enough engagement and update frequently to ensure that you build a great relationship with your fans and that will get you in their “Top Stories.” But don’t fret if you miss this opportunity, because you can also reach them by posting consistently, but make sure that the content is exciting and relevant as you don’t want them to hide your posts.
An ultimate goal would be to get your fans to add you to their “Top Stories.” This can be done in the little arrow at the upper right corner of each Top Stories” post. Fans have the option of adding you to their “Top Stories.” This is what I call the Pandora “Thumbs up” – the more you add things you like to your top news the more content they will share from those sources. It might be as simple as to ask your fans to do this or to make sure you are providing them with the most relevant content that they don’t want to miss so they do it on their own.
Overall the new changes will take some time to fully digest and evaluate for brand pages, but for now I think that these exciting new developments will only help your chances to build deeper relationships with your fans.