Staying On Top: Facebook Changes

Facebook has undergone several changes in recent months, making a difference in how brands build their presence on the social media site. There are implications to these changes that businesses should be aware of.

News Feeds have changed

Facebook no longer defaults to the most recent updates for the news feed. Instead, it opts to display posts that have the most interaction, including comments and “likes.” While it still offers the live news feed as an option, it is no longer the default. This means you will need to make sure that people care about what you are posting and are participating in your message to guarantee a spot on your audience’s news feeds.

Email will soon be an option

Originally, Facebook had hidden user email addresses; however, it will soon be allowing developers access to these users’ verified email addresses. Obviously, email is an important tool to marketers and a positive way to reconnect with old fans or friends that may have fallen to the wayside.

Brands gain more control on application appearance

The application canvas pages have removed the Facebook header, allowing brands to make better use of the page to be more customized. Users can still return to Facebook via a link near the top of the page, but the removal of the header has given brands significant control over how they are able to portray themselves to customers.

The “share” option is more dynamic

Facebook will be enhancing its share button to include a counter displaying the number of times a piece of content has been shared by users. For brands that have a large audience, this is a positive development and really allows them to leverage the word of mouth aspect of Facebook. Facebook will essentially be doing more of the work to make your content social.

The Open Graph

In the near future, Facebook will allow every webpage the potential to become a fan page. Soon, users will be able to fan not only your company or brand, but also a specific product, page, movie or SKU. Not only will users be able to fan these separate elements, but they will also show up in users’ profiles and in search results. This is one of the most significant changes that Facebook will be making in the near future.

These changes will allow brands to leverage more control over their message and perception on Facebook’s platform, making it easier to engage customers and build personal relationships. For brands that can manage to stay ahead of the curve, 2010 should bring a positive wave of social media for strong brands.