So, at this year's F8 conference which occurred yesterday, new features to Facebook make things a bit more challenging for marketers—like us!
First, here are some of the changes that will have us revisiting some of the old tried-and-true social tactics.
The Like Button:
You know the "like" button that appears on friend and page/application posts and pictures? Well, clicking "like" on them will no longer appear in your news feed. So, if I "like" a great Fila Toning post, it will not say "Ryan Smith likes XYZ post on Fila Toning." That's a lot of visibility lost. Sharing is the new "like" to get those impressions. But, this also requires your friends/fans within the Facebook platform to truly "LIKE" your post, and not just "like" your post. Facebook is trying to make an honest fan out of us, vs. just passive "likers." They are almost saying, we'll give you more visibility if your friends/fans take the extra effort to share. Note: "likes" can be found racing by in that annoying new ticker feature.
What's also changing about the like button/link, is that now it will have some company. Thanks to Facebook Gestures, more verbs will be introduced. Facebook saw how limiting just "liking" something could be. What about "watched," "listened," etc. I'm interested to see how this will play out for businesses. Will women be "wearing" Fila on Facebook in the near future?
From Involver's blog: For the marketer, these new verbs enable brands to provide users with richer interactions and much more structured stream stories.
Entertainment brands can post videos that create a stream story based on what a specific user just “watched” Retailers can display items corresponding to what users “want” Politicians can allow fans to declare their loyalty with “recommend” or “voted for” verbs
As you've already probably noticed, relevant news stories will now be given more weight. Relevant stories are judged by Facebook's algorithms that consider your relationship and activity with a specific friend or page. This of course pushes "page" content down that could presumably be less of a relationship to us. Makes you start to think if you are really "friends" with your fans.
Friends' new photos/albums have big real estate in your feed, whereas Page photo updates are still very small.
So, what do these Facebook changes mean for marketers?
In short, avoid the easy tactics you currently rely on. It's assumed that people will still "like" your page on facebook. But, with your posts getting buried in the mix, and "like" no longer serving as impressions, it's not certain that your brand will get the face time it needs to get any sort of return. We need to start adding more substantial value for our customers. So…
Think of your fanpage more as a service, vs. a newsfeed. Truth is, this has always been the case. But, Facebook is getting smarter. It knows that nobody likes spam. Think of it like email. We all have spam blockers. Because we hate spam. Facebook is essentially creating spam filters on content that you may not like. Or, at least highlighting the things you WILL like. To counteract this, offer your fans more than just updates. As it stands now, applications still serve as the gateway for fan participation with your brand. What's next for applications, though? We've all seen the contest platforms—the old submit and win strategy. I'd argue that people want applications that do more—say more.
As marketers, we need to evolve with Facebook. With new updates like Timeline, we could transform our fans' visits to our fanpages into immersive brand experiences. "What were the styles from 3 years ago? Can I still purchase that?" How will applications involve the Timeline feature? Truthfully, I have no idea—yet. Hopefully we can figure it out before someone else does (or Facebook disables the feature).
For more on these changes, and others, check out Mashable's seemingly real-time write ups.