It’s been a busy year for announcements and changes for Facebook. Since January, there have been quite a few updates. Some of these updates have been made with a lot of fanfare (Graph Search and the new News Feed), while others (Business Page Cover Photo and Comments) have been quietly released. 2013 will be a big year for innovations on Facebook that will affect every personal and business user.
The first change to be announced this year was Facebook Graph Search. This is still in beta testing and will be rolling out to all users in the next few months. This search capability is very exciting in the tech world and could bring a challenge to Google. Facebook Graph Search allows a user to do a search directly in Facebook that incorporates recommendations and likes of people in their network (or their friends). When you perform a search for a good coffee house in Cleveland via this tool, Facebook will look through your friends’ check-ins, recommendations and posts for mentions of coffee houses in Cleveland and pull up the most popular mentions in the search results. It is much more personalized search than Google, which is based on keywords and computer ISP address. This new search tool makes it even more important for a business to be on Facebook as well as have engaging content, which includes cover photo, compelling content and encouraging check-ins by fans.
At the beginning of March, Facebook announced a major change in the lay-out of the personal news feed. Some of your personal pages have already been switched to the new page, while others are still waiting for the change. Currently, this news feed update is only going to be on personal pages and not business pages. The updated news feed will give the user the ability to sort their incoming content into different tabs such as: news feed, all friends, most recent, close friends, music, photo, games and pages that are being followed. Since the content will be going to different tabs, users can focus just on photos or just on specific friend’s posts. Not all content will be going to every tab. Facebook is also increasing the size of photos, videos and thumbnails for links on the page. When you like a business page or group, the cover photo of that organization will appear and not just a short text message, this makes it very important to have a great cover photo for your Facebook page. The music tab will continue to reflect bands that you like, concerts that you are going to or want to go to and share the music that you have listened to via services such as Spotify. The news feed for desktop will now look similar to the Facebook mobile app. The focus for the new Facebook news feed will be on visual content. The more compelling the visual content (video and pictures), the more it will appear in fan’s newsfeed. This will force marketers to be more creative and continuous with their Facebook content.
There are some smaller changes that have been released quietly by Facebook over the last few months as well. It was just released this week that Facebook has updated the comments section to allow direct replies and create a conversation on business pages. People can interact directly with readers/fans as well as keep relevant conversations connected. Currently, this is only available on desktop Facebook pages and not for the mobile app.
Lastly, Facebook has quietly changed the guidelines to business cover photos. The photos can now have a call-to-action, pricing information and contact information in the photo. The only specific requirement from Facebook for the cover photo is that there cannot be any more than 20% of text in the photo. This is a great opportunity for a company to market services, contests and promotions. Facebook Business Pages cover photos were created to be dynamic and updated and not just a static picture. With the changes to the news feed and Graph Search, it is more important than ever to have an engaging cover photo for your business.
The social media world continues to change and evolve. As an avid Facebook user since 2007, I have lived through the different changes that Facebook has made to their timeline and news feed over the years. We all may not have liked these changes when they are first released, but over time we get used to them and actually like the updates (until the next one comes along). With the popularity of Pinterest, visual content has become increasingly more important. Facebook is building on this with these upgrades to the site. These current changes to Facebook will make marketers work even harder to get great content out for fans and future fans. Linkmedia 360 can help your business manage these Facebook changes. Contact us today to see how we can help!