How Facebook changes will affect businesses

Facebook Changes

Facebook and many other social media platforms now form a key part of marketing strategies for many businesses; from brands using them as engagement tools to companies aiming to drive as many people as possible into the sales funnel. So when Facebook changes it’s features, rules, design and layout, it’s important that we take notice and ensure that we’re making the most of any changes that might have an impact on us.

Mark Zuckerberg and Director of Design, Julie Zhuo recently announced a number of Facebook changes which will be rolled out over the coming months. These changes will impact on business pages and brands in a number of ways. In this blog post, I’m going to examine the new Facebook changes and discuss how these will impact on businesses as well as brand pages on Facebook.

Firstly, it’s important to note why these Facebook changes were required. When Facebook started out, News Feed was primarily populated with text updates from users. That of course was prior to the explosion of camera phones and affordable data plans. Since then, the majority of the content on News Feed is visual content. As well as that, many users have complained that their News Feed is cluttered with updates from brand pages and public figures. Content from brands actually makes up approximately 30% of our News Feeds. This percentage isn’t really the issue. To me, the fact that users are complaining means that brands are not providing content that is engaging or entertaining enough. Now, more than ever, brands must ensure that they consistently provide useful content on platforms such as Facebook. Otherwise they run the risk of being blocked from a user’s News Feed.

For these reasons, a number of Facebook changes were announced:

“Rich stories; visual and engaging”

Regardless of how good your visual content is,  News Feed currently doesn’t deservedly represent the rich content that you produce. However, the new design ensures that visual content takes centre-stage; it represents this rich content in a deserved light and gives you much more space to showcase your images.

From a brand’s perspective, this particular Facebook change could mean that you no longer have to solely rely on the likes of Instagram or Pinterest to show off your rich visual content. On the flipside, if you are the producer of substandard visual content, this Facebook change means that you will need to ensure that your content is high quality and strong enough to be able to compete with other brands who are posting similar content.

The layout of photo albums has also changed. Albums will now appear on News Feed in a way that tells a story. For brands, this offers an opportunity to move away from posting a lone photograph and instead posting an album which will tell a story and achieve a higher level of engagement with consumers.
Publishers and media organisations will also be pleased to know that links to articles will be represented with a bigger image and longer titles and summaries.

“Choice of different feeds; dig into any topic that you want”

This change is a means of combating the cluttered News Feed. It gives the user more control over their feed. For example, if they just want to see posts from friends, they can select the Friend feed. There’s also a Photo feed which allows the user to see all updates which include photos. Again, this means that brands will need to ensure that they are only producing high quality visual content.

There’s also a feed where users can see updates from pages. From a marketing point of view, this changes things quite a bit. No longer will your brand message slot in between updates from friends. Now you will appear in a feed where you are primarily competing with other brands. Again, this means that all brands must up their games and ensure that they provide content worthy of grabbing the attention of the user. Since users will now actually have the ability to ignore the business pages feed, it’s more important than ever to ensure that we provide useful, engaging and entertaining content that will bring the consumer back for more.

Facebook Changes

Mobile inspired UI

The feel and design of Facebook will now be the same across desktop, tablet and mobile devices. Therefore, users accessing Facebook on a mobile device will have a much better experience than they currently have. This also means that the content you post will be consumed more consistently across all devices.

Here’s a quick look at some other recent Facebook changes that you might have missed:

  • Facebook recently updated its policy for business pages. There will no longer be rules against a call-to-action, contact or price information on cover photos. In saying that, businesses and brands must still ensure that cover photos are not made up of more than 20% text.
  • If someone likes your brand page on Facebook, your cover photo will now appear in a friend’s feed. This is the perfect opportunity for marketers to create a cover photo that will attract other potential customers to the page.

If you want to get on the waiting list for the new design, click here to register your interest.

About Paul Healy

Paul has a number of years experience in digital marketing and is particularly interested innovative marketing techniques and inbound marketing.
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