New Facebook News Feed – 3 Things for Page Managers

Uh oh. Facebook changed the News feed again. Sending Marketers in a panic everywhere, the changes to the Facebook News feed were released Thursday and they are, well, expected. This change isn’t drastic for users of tablet applications and mobile apps that have used the black left hand navigation bar for some time, replacing the somewhat cleaner but clunkier existing white navigation. Where the change is dramatic is decentralization, content and implications for the brand reach.

 

Decentralization

Facebook’s newest change allows users to navigate from a selection of options rather than one, busier News Feed. This will help the User experience in that they dictate the categories of information seen. This was their intent in some of the last News Feed modifications, however, users simply didn’t change their content settings or really make much use of the Close Friends option. The idea is for users to read the News Feed similarly to a News Paper. With the growth of their older demographics and negative growth of teenagers, this is in line with where Facebook is headed.

Here are the categories:

  • Top News (Major stories of each section)
  • All Friends 
  • Following (for pages)
  • Photos (see: Instagram)
  • Games, Music (two separate tabs but not worthy of their own bullets on my page)
  • Groups
  • Close Friends

For Page Managers, this means slightly less visibility overall. Where you can win is in the photo section. Friends usually have a lot of photos, but pages generally have even more, and they can dominate the Photo section.

 

Content

With the added emphasis to photos and videos, its pretty clear where our focus as page mangers will have to be. Yes, the focus has always been on content, but this is even more crucial now. Many top brands are already embracing this, by providing content directly into photos, allowing for more clicks and eventually a higher Edge Rank.

Lakers

Here we have the Lakers Facebook page, they are sharing a photo that most people can read the majority of the information but many people will click to expand to read the smaller font.

Albums have also been redesigned, rewarding pages who upload multiple pictures. This shouldn’t be a major change for some brands who often posted collage pictures in order to enhance media clicks. Having 5+ photos will likely be a good target for brands, engaging users and ultimately increasing their visibility.

 

Brand Reach

With these changes to a News Paper type experience, the All Friends section is likely to be a hit with users, much the same as the photo section (see: Why Facebook bought Instagram) however, where we may lose our traction as brands is in the Pages section. While I’d like to think that users love my brands (who doesn’t), the reality is, many of them only “Like” my brand (see what I did there?).

As Page Manager’s I see that there will be two choices, either invest more into visual content, or invest more into ads. Without one of these two mechanisms, I’d be willing to bet that your post views will decrease overall. Facebook is under increasing pressure to sell more ads, and these new changes force the brand’s hand in many cases to get in front of users by paying for it.

There is also a not-so-insignificant undertone in all of this, content is moving towards a more chronological approach, based on the early signs. Brands will need to be more conscious of when they are posting and less conscious of how often they are posting. Matching posts with Facebook’s peak times will be essential for maximum Edge Rank reach and achieving your goals.

 

In summary, what can you do to stay current with the changes?

Thoughts of the week

I’ve had a lot of sporadic Facebook ideas throughout this week and I decided simply to write them down!
 
Facebook Ads: Target fans of your page on their birthday, with no specific call to action. Likely, they wouldn’t click on your ad, however, the positive brand interaction will still be fostered and at little cost (if any at all).
 
Increased Status Targeting: Recently, Facebook Marketing Solutions put out a post increasing the awareness of highly targeted Facebook ads specifically. This functionality is something I have been looking for to bleed into status updates for a while now. The ability to target specific areas of interest within a page update would be hugely efficient for Facebook pages. To me, this could be an area to become monetized. This would combat FB’s un-monetized server stress and would allow for interesting local contests.
 
Foursquare’s Event-based venues: This one I have been anticipating for some time. Soon, Foursquare venues will be able to have specific events in a venue. For anyone who manages a concert venue, or multi-sport facility they will be able to customize mayorships and check-ins. Annually, one of my projects, creates a venue at a large convention centre, I am curious to see where ownership of these time-sensitive venues would land.
 
Facebook as Google+: If you find the idea of circles attractive within Google+, you should know that Facebook has had the same ability for some time. Granted, in a stealthy presentation, FB has allowed you to write general status updates for specific friends to see only. Using the customization on your post, you can drill down through 4 layers of settings and ensure that only your BFF sees your link about the new Keanu Reaves movie.

Elections 2.0

With the government of Canada announcing a May 2nd election, it prompts me to think that there will certainly be a new type of campaign this April.

Politicians will rely heavily on social media support from their most loyal partisans and use all resources at their disposal to sway the undecided. Already, I’ve seen Ignatief and the liberals reserve the headline ad of facebook with a 30 second spot from Michael.

I will be closely following the evolution as well as the new initiatives that will certainly emerge. I doubt it will be enough to simply have a page and create a discussion. The winners will have to innovate, persuade and deliver.

Carpe diem.

Exploring Facebook Ads

In the post-secondary education realm it is extremely difficult to create awareness around the benefits of your specific product without outside influences. Students (current and future) are bombarded with ads and are used to it. These millennials are quick to move past the 5,000+ messages they see every day and continue ignoring your brand. They are experts at discerning what is relevant to them; a subject line, an impression of an image or context of the message will ostensibly be enough for them.

Here are 4 lessons I’ve learned in having your ad win the battle and your Facebook page win the war.

Targeting: Facebook has great resources on how to target your ad and reach the desired audience. No other platform will allow you to reach the new audience in a measurable, interactive way. Want to reach 16 year old males in Markham who are interested in Sports? No problem; that will be 46 cents per click, please. If you’ve targeted ads properly, you can then review your statistics and find out what all of your “clickers” had in common interests (providing new targeting insight).

Budget: We’re all on tight budgets and can’t afford to mess this up. You can customize your spending to reflect your budget, a daily spending limit, a campaign limit and suggested bid price will help you understand the price of your desired results. This process will give you a good idea of what it will take to get those 200 extra likes.

Creative: Now that you are on target and within budget, getting them to see you is crucial. You’re ad will be featured on the side of pages. You don’t need to hire a creative ad agency to develop your ad but you will want to be direct with what you say. Your immediate challenge is saying who you are and why they should click on your ad.

This ad (left) was used to attract alumni to our University’s primary page. Offering up the visual of the University’s logo provide an immediate known quantity and their attention was captured. The ads were successful as they had over 1,000 clicks and 460 fans on a limited budget (less than $200).

Your value proposition has to be the clincher, in this Free Samples ad (below), the value is clearly defined. Unfortunately, their “Wagjag.com” free samples don’t apply to my city (see: poor targeting).

Destination: Facebook ads are most efficient at promoting something housed on Facebook because they provide instant social recommendations (Your friend likes this) and a direct call to action. Posts with a social recommendation are 47% more effective in gaining clicks – of course you more likely to visit a site if your friend recommended it. The direct like button will allow users to join your page without even visiting it, increasing the likelihood of further interaction with that user. After all, the average Liker, has 2.4 times more friends than the average Facebook user.