Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you’ve been hearing the endless chatter about the new Facebook changes.
Like most of their changes, many of the users aren’t too happy about it.
However, after examining the changes more closely, I’ve realized they’re actually pretty cool. In fact, I think many of the changes are going to have a dramatic impact on how bloggers promote their content.
With over 800 million users, Facebook is a traffic powerhouse. But only for those who know how to use it properly.
I have buried myself in the marketing lab over the past couple days so that I can show you exactly how the new Facebook changes will impact your business. And how you can leverage these changes to drive more traffic to your website.
Here’s the lowdown…
Facebook News Feed Vs. News Ticker
One of the most controversial changes is the addition of the News Feed Ticker. Some people hate it while others love it. However, it is an integral part of creating a new, more engaging Facebook platform.
The new Facebook ticker contains everything that happens on Twitter – no matter how trivial the activity. So this section is a bit more like Twitter and will contain a little bit more noise. But at the same time you can keep an eye on anything that might catch you.
The News Ticker contains posts and “activity stories”. This includes friends adding friends, friends commenting on other posts, liking pages, friends posting photos, etc.
Also keep in mind, although the News Ticker is filled with a lot of noise – it can also potentially get your posts some extra exposure. Each time someone likes or comments on your content, that comment will appear in the News Ticker (along with your story, link, photo, etc…) So engaging content essentially gets double exposure (in the news feed and also in the news ticker)
Your Facebook posts now have a longer shelf life due to follow-up comments. Remember, Mark Zuckerberg’s main goal with the new Facebook changes is to increase engagement. So the more you’re able to increase engagement on your Fan Page, the more exposure and traffic you will be rewarded with.
Plus, users can interact directly with items in the ticker. Simply hover over any item from the ticker and the content will expand in a hover window – allowing you to ‘like’, ‘comment’, or ‘share’ the content in real time. I have to say this is one of my favorite features – being able to quickly interact with my friends content without ever leaving the home page.
There are also a number of changes that you’ll want to take note of. The first thing you’ll noticed about the News Feed is that you can no longer toggle between Tops News and Most Recent.
Now you have ‘Top Stories’ and ‘Recent Stories’. The Top Stories are located at the very top of your home page. These are the posts that Facebook thinks you will find most interesting based on your interaction in the past. In addition to this personalized ranking factor, the “Top Stories” are also highly influenced by EdgeRank.
So in order to get into this more valuable real estate, you’ll need to focus on high quality content, new layers of multimedia, and engagement.
It’s becoming more important now than ever for us to cut through the noise by creating and sharing high-quality, engaging content.
The New Timeline
Your personal profile page is now called the Timeline. With the new Timeline, Facebook has created a social hub with new ways to express
yourself and tell your story. It’s kind of like your very own personal scrapbook online.
Plus, with the new Timeline, you now have a HUGE cover photo at the top of your page. (840x310px) A massive amount of pixel space to express yourself.
This is a HUGE piece of real estate for expressing yourself, your favorite interests, or cross-promoting your blog, Twitter, and LinkedIn account.
Here are a few creative Timeline cover photos to get your juices going…
Plus, with the new Facebook Timeline design also comes new branding opportunities!
Imagine running a contest where you have your fans pose with your newly published book and post it as their cover photo!
Or simply create a branded cover photo that not only showcases an interesting picture – but also the name of your business, your website, your Facebook
page, and your Twitter profile.
As a business owner, you’ll definitely want to put some thought into how you use this space.
The New Subscribe Button
Facebook has just recently introduced the Facebook ‘Subscribe’ button – which allows users to view other people’s feeds without having to add them as Friends. Very similar to the concept of Twitter and Google+ Circles.
The subscribe button allows anyone to follow your updates without requiring you to follow them back.
This means you can ‘subscribe’ to celebrities, journalists, marketers, thought leaders, and anyone else your interested in but don’t know personally. This way,
you can check out their updates without having to be accepted as their friend.
This is also a great branding opportunity for you as a marketer as well. If you’d like to share your public updates with more than just your friends, you can setup a ‘Subscribe’ button on your profile as well.
Here’s how to activate the new subscribe button…
We’re living in a world where our personal life continually slips into the business world and vice versa. And the ‘Subscribe’ button adds an additional layer of access to your followers and fans. Giving them a peak behind the curtain at your personal life – which builds trust, engagement, and raving fans.
This is also a great way to get around the 5,000 friend limit because there’s no limit to how many people can ‘Subscribe’ to your personal profile page.
Plus, Facebook is also allowing you a great deal of control on what you share to subscribers. For example, you can share links and text updates but keep your photos and apps shared only with friends. So you can essential censor what information you want to display – thereby separating your public profile from your personal profile.
In addition, people who subscribe to your page can decide exactly which updates they want to see as well.
As a marketer, this also allows you to gain an additional audience without having to accept each ‘friend’ manually.
New Facebook Buttons
Most of us are familiar with the ‘Like’ button and the ‘Share’ button.
But Facebook is taking it’s social sharing to a new level with 3 new buttons – “Read, Listened, and Watched”.
These will also be followed by a button called “Want”.
It seems as though they’re bringing the Like button to a granular level – creating a more personal and in-depth content sharing platform.
At this point, it’s unclear how these new buttons will affect the Like button. While I’m sure these new buttons will also present some new marketing opportunities for content publishers, it also seems that some of these additional options are simply making it more confusing for the average user.
But it will certainly be interesting to see how these new buttons will affect the Like button.
Facebook Like Vs. Facebook Share
As content creators, the Facebook ‘Like’ & ‘Share’ button have played a HUGE role in getting extra traffic to your blog.
However, in terms of traffic, the Facebook buttons seem to be going through a bit of transition at the moment.
According to Mari Smith (one of the foremost experts on Facebook) – “Facebook “Shares” will become more important than ‘Likes’.”
For the most part, ‘shares’ generally have a higher Edgerank score – which leads to more exposure and traffic.
The Facebook Share button is a bit similar to the ‘reblog’ feature on Tumblr. Whenever you ‘Share’ a Facebook story or a new article it will repost the story on your timeline (with a complete description, link, and photo). Whereas the ‘Like’ button simply posts a short line of text to your timeline noting that you ‘liked’ a particular article, photo, Facebook post, etc… So in terms of virtual real estate, the ‘share’ button seems to be more powerful.
However, with the rollout of Timeline and Graphrank, it’s still too early in the game to know which buttons will have the biggest impact for marketers and content publishers.
Frictionless Sharing via Apps – Kind of Scary
Although I’m a huge fan of MOST of Facebook’s recent changes, the frictionless sharing via Apps is kind of scary.
Here’s how it works…
Let’s say you’ve installed Facebook’s ‘Spotify’ App and your listening to some of your favorite songs via Spotify.
That information is then automatically shared in the Facebook news feed ‘ticker’.
Or perhaps you’ve installed the Washington Post Facebook App. Each new article you click on via the Washington Post is now automatically shared on Facebook.
Once you approve a media partner app, all of your activity within that app is then automatically shared to Facebook. No need to click any buttons.
At first glance it seems like a content publishers dream come true. But at the same time, it also sounds like a privacy nightmare.
Fortunately, there are a number of privacy settings you can choose to filter and select exactly what you want to share.
As a blogger, this could present a HUGE opportunity for you as well.
It will be interesting to see if more and more bloggers start creating apps to tap into these new traffic opportunities.
New Facebook Page Insights
Facebook is launching a major facelift to Page Insights. If you have a Facebook Fan Page (which I seriously hope you do!) you’re going to be seeing some major updates in the admin area.
Facebook is giving us new tools and statistics, giving us much more information about our fans, the popularity of virality of our content, and overall engagement.
Facebook has launched three new metrics: “People Talking About This”, “Number of Friends of Fans”, and “Weekly Total Reach”.
1. “People Talking About This” is actually a public metric that you can now see on every Facebook Fan Page. It’s located directly underneath the fan count and it shows the number of people on Facebook who have engaged with your page in the last 7 days.
So if you’re boring the crap out of your fans, now everyone will know :)
This metric improves anytime someone engages with your page. This includes anytime a user ‘likes’ your page, posts on your wall, comments, shares a post, answers a poll, or tags your page in an update or in a photo.
It’s essentially the number of people who interact with your content.
2. “Number of Friends of Fans”: This new metric shows the collective number of friends your fans have. This gives page admins a better idea of the potential reach of their page.
3. “Weekly Total Reach”: This new metric is designed to show how many total people have seen content associated with your Page. This also includes any Ads or Sponsored Stories pointing to your Page.
Another very interesting change is that Facebook is now giving us actual numbers for each post so you can see EXACTLY how many people have clicked
on your blog post, video, photo, etc…
I’m sure you’ll see plenty of geek speak thrown around about these new metrics, but the bottom line is that Facebook is giving us more information
about how many people are clicking on your links, commenting on your post, or sharing your post with friends. In return, we’re able to see which types
of content work and which one’s don’t.
New Facebook Advertising Options
Facebook has also just recently released a new ad unit called “Premium Ad Product” – which allows brands to turn their posts into ads. The premium ad unit encourages increased engagement, brand exposure, and virality.
This new ad unit also combines post content with social context. Each premium ad also shows which friends have already ‘liked’ the post. The ad becomes
much more powerful when it is attached by the recommendation of a friend.
Social context is adding a new dynamic to traditional advertising. It’s kind of like a product owner telling you their product is great vs. your neighbor Sally telling you the product is great.
These Facebook advertising options allow you to build word of mouth around your content. One of the hardest parts of creating an online business is
simply getting the ball rolling. That initial bit of momentum. Sponsored advertising allows you to get those eyeballs in front of your content.
Plus, they’re also a HUGE branding opportunity. Imagine your photo being shown on thousands of pages. Regardless of whether or not someone clicks
on your ad, you’re still getting a ton of brand exposure. You are now going to be on the forefront of their minds. And this is very important for creating trust, building relationships, and making sales.
Facebook Pages Now Open
Another big change is that people can now engage on your Facebook Page without “Liking” your Page.
The focus is now much more on engagement rather than how many “likes’ you can get on your fan page. Because fan pages are now open – everyone can
engage, comment, like, and share your content with their friends.
The more engagement you create with your content (likes, comments, shares, etc…) the more likely your story will appear in your Fans’ newsfeeds. Increased engagement = Higher Edgerank. So the more interaction the better, even if it comes from non-Fans.
Fans are certainly still an important metric, but at the same time, the new open pages allow for an increased opportunity in traffic and exposure.
* We are living through the humanization of business. Social media is making it easier than ever to build your audience. But at the same time, social media has also humanized the business experience.
Now, more than ever before, business is about relationships. People are buying from people they know, like, and trust.
So the more you can bring your own personality into your business the better :)
* Facebook likes are becoming less important. You can no longer expect your posts to show up in someone’s News Feed simply because they ‘liked’ your page. Facebook wants to serve up the most relevant, interesting content. Therefore, engagement (likes, shares, and comments) are becoming a much more important metric. Engagement is now the BIGGEST key to getting more exposure on your content.
* Test different TYPES of content to see which ones drive the most engagement.
* Although it’s getting a bit harder to show up in your fans’ news feed, it’s also a HUGE opportunity for marketers and thought-leaders who are committed to creating killer content, engaging their community, and creating fun experiences. Those are the ones who will reap massive rewards. The bar has been raised!
* Although technology is changing rapidly, your main core focus is still all about relationships.