Facebook is constantly reinventing itself, and you can’t blame them. To stay stagnant is a death wish in an industry that changes so rapidly. That said, some of the changes benefit users and some brands. The most recent newsfeed change is one that I believe tips the scale for the user, giving them more control over what they see on Facebook.
A user will soon be able to toggle between different newsfeed streams – Photos, Friends, Most Recent, Music and Following (brand/media pages). Great customization for the user, not so great for brand pages who currently get a coveted spot between posts from friends and families. I predict that the Following newsfeed will probably be the most underused feed, because at the end of the day no matter how clever a post, it’s still from a business versus a friend.
Should brands shut down their pages quite yet? No. Brands can still actively engage with users but they must find ways to get into as many newsfeeds as possible. If they rely just on the “Follows” newsfeed they’re likely to see their engagement levels drop pretty dramatically.
Here are recommendations for staying in the “feed”:
– Include images in your posts. With the popularity of Instagram and Pinterest, it’s becoming more apparent that visual does well on social. As a brand if you post an image with your post, you can then secure a space in the Photos newsfeed.
– Post regularly. If you want to appear in the most recent news feed, you need to post. Simple enough.
– Create engaging content. Get people to engage with your content and it will appear in the Friends newsfeed.
– Consider advertising. It’s not been clearly defined yet, but from early talks it sounds as if ads will get your airtime in all newsfeeds, including the Friends newsfeed which will most likely be the most popular.
I’m a firm believer that you should treat your Facebook and Twitter content differently. Don’t link them up. They are two different audiences and two different platforms. That’s just being lazy, no matter how much you tell yourself you’re being efficient.
My belief was confirmed as Valentine’s Day rolled around and then Mardi Gras. Something struck me as I saw brands and people posting about the various holidays – on Twitter it benefits you to join in on the conversation, while on Facebook it can hurt you to be the same.
Here’s why: If there are 30 posts referencing Valentine’s Day on Facebook your post may very well be tucked into a grouping of all the others who posted about Valentine’s Day. Facebook groups similar topics together on your newsfeed. Great for the user but for a brand trying to break through,not so much.
Twitter is totally different. If Valentine’s Day is trending because so many people are talking about it, you should leverage keywords like Valentine’s Day. People who currently don’t follow you but are searching the topic or clicking on the trending topic, will then find you.
Long story short – find ways to stand out on Facebook to get your spot in the newsfeed, and find ways to jump in on Twitter to be a part of the larger conversation and gain more exposure.
Just another reason you should really treat your Twitter and Facebook management differently.
The change game is complicated. Don’t make drastic changes (see Apple iPhone 4s) people complain. Don’t see change coming (see Blockbuster, Borders) you could go under. Make too many changes (enter Facebook) and you risk ticking people off.
Facebook’s new Timeline, Ticker and Newsfeed may take some getting used to, but after getting over the initial shock, I actually find the new changes worthwhile. Timeline is light years better then my profile page which had little use. Ticker brings what was “Recent News” to life giving more real-time exposure. And the Newsfeed? Well I’m happy to not have to toggle back between the two tabs. Only time will tell if brand pages are hurt by the move. I’ve noticed some activity lighten up on pages that don’t have as many fans but the ticker does seem to offer a quick burst of exposure every time you update.
Let’s be honest, if Facebook didn’t change it would become MySpace. Instead of ranting and raving about changes I think we should thank Facebook for forcing us to learn how to be flexible. Yes, the changes are irritating at times for the user, but we’ll survive and in the end so will Facebook.
It’s every marketer’s dream to have 1 million Facebook fans waiting to hear your messages and even better waiting to give you real time feedback. Finally, you have a place tucked neatly between family and friends in a newsfeed. But of course you have to respect that space. A recent study by Opinionway shows 36% of people stop “liking” a company on Facebook mainly because they don’t care for the content or the frequency of posts are too intense.
Which got me thinking about some recent Facebook ads I’ve seen that could be construed as a little misleading. An ad by Casa Dragones Tequila shows Eva Longoria and promises other celeb pics. Another ad from Corona Light promises to put my face on a billboard in Times Square if I like it. Now if I’m a Desperate Housewives fan I may click that ad but it really doesn’t mean I like the tequila, and if the thought of seeing myself in Times Square seems exciting…which it does…I may click Corona Light, but it doesn’t mean I like the beer…which I happen to like very much actually.
The point is you may get a million fans this way but are they going to stay? Do they really really like you, because if not, they aren’t going to keep you in their ever-growing newsfeed. Perhaps its better to just tell them the truth. “Hello, my name is Casa Dragones, I paid Eva Longoria twenty grand to show up at this party and take a quick picture. You probably won’t see her very often on the page. In fact what you’ll really get are some recipes. That’s who I really am. P.S. Hope we can still be friends.”