Branded Facebook Pages – Back to the drawing board!

It’s hard to have missed last week’s hype on F8, Mark Zuckerberg and all the huge changes that are coming to Facebook. As much as I’m always eager to read up on Social Media news, it was pretty hard to keep up with everything!. Of course, as a Social Media Manager I was concerned, not much was said about Facebook Pages in particular but we all know that they will be largely affected with the introduction of so many new features.

Having said that, it’s clear that all Social Media Marketers need to go back to the drawing board, it’s important to find out what we need to adjust, change or add to our Social Media strategies. I know it’s tricky, a couple of months ago you sat with your CEO to explain why he needed to update the “Like” and “Follow” buttons on his website and now you need to meet up with him and explain all Facebook’s new changes! It’s still a little early to know what will happen but having early access to Facebook Timeline and having heard all the news about the changes, we can speculate quite a bit on the shift that we must make.

There’s quite a few articles out there about how all of these changes go down but it’s hard to understand how they will affect marketers and Social Media managers… so here’s my thoughts:

a) “Top Stories” vs. recent stories: Just before the announcement of the upcoming changes for Facebook we saw changes on our main feed. There’s a clear division between what Facebook considers are “Top Stories” and all other recent stories. I still don’t trust Facebook’s algorithm, it still marks stories that are completely irrelevant to me. In theory, Facebook will eventually remember our choices and only pick Top Stories that we will actually enjoy. As managers of company or branded Pages we do our best to provide creative and engaging content. Starting this week, users will now have more control over their feeds and us marketers, well, we’ll have switch it up to deliver even more interesting and valuable content to stay in those “Top Stories”!

b) Goodbye “Like”, hello sharing: A great change that I’ve noticed in the past weeks with some of the brands that I manage is the amount of people that have begun sharing and tagging on Facebook. I’m still not sure if this is a natural growth step or if it’s been product of some of Facebook’s recent changes. Somehow it seems that users are being more open to share, which can be a great opportunity for brands and the content they post on their Facebook Page. For years marketers and brands have been creating strategies for users to “Like” them and nothing else. With the introduction of all these changes, the loss of the “Like” and the arrival of Facebook Gestures I believe that this sharing will be the key to success, creating opportunities for our users to share stories about our brands or services.

c) Facebook scrapbooking: Facebook Timeline will not only allow users to look at their profile back in time (I took a peek at 2007, funny!), they will also be able to post events or pictures about their past, basically using Facebook as a scrapbook. Think of it, if users begin to make use of mentions, places, tags and new gestures back to the day they were born, that alone can become a wonderful sharing frenzy! Suddenly brands and companies will not only be a part of users life from here on but they can also become part of their past.

d) Apps Facelift: The integration of Facebook apps into this “lifestreaming” I think will also be key to the evolution of how people will be using their Facebook accounts. Apps will no longer be individual and random, they will become an integral part of user’s timelines. Again, going back to the drawing board on company apps will be key as they will need that shift to have that active roll in users lives and timelines.

e) Lists upgrade: The new Facebook lists are really a blessing, I personally found it hard to divide my Facebook profile into personal and business. When Google+ was launched I decided to keep my Facebook personal and use my Google+ for business only. Honestly, I rarely have the time to update my Google+. Facebook’s new subscriptions and the ability to make posts public & private is one of my favourite new features, I can keep in touch with friends and family privately and create wonderful feeds & content for business related stuff, love it! What will this mean to marketers? Once users realize the advantages of categorizing their posts, suddenly tags, mentions and checkin’s will become more public than private, it’s as simple as that.

f) Facebook’s not dying: Last but not least, Facebook has suddenly grown into 800 million users, that’s a huge number. With the introduction of these changes, Facebook believes that we will all “fall in love” with them again. I personally think Facebook is far from dying and once users take the time to learn about the new features, they’ll see the added value and take advantage of them.

Suddenly it seems that the next months are going to be incredibly exciting for companies and brands in the Social Media Marketing area. I personally am quite pumped up about the changes, I think it will challenge brands to “up their game” and not just “be there”. It will be a great challenge to become more valuable and engaging, certainly looking forward to how all Facebook changes will develop and unfold.