Nothing ever stays the same in the online world. Now businesses that have struggled to build a Facebook presence have to cope with a number of new and confusing changes.
Facebook has made numerous key changes to keep ahead. There are more than 800 million active users on Facebook and more than 50% of them log in daily. Google’s new social network platform called Google+ poses a real challenge to Facebook if it gains steam, so Facebook want to hold on to their commanding position in the social media world.
Twitter, while more a companion to Facebook than a direct competitor at this stage, last month had at least 100 million active users, half of which tweet on a daily basis. The key statistic here is the growth - 82% increase since January this year.
If you have a business Facebook page or are planning one, you need to understand how the changes work and how they might affect you.
The best news is that it’s now easier for people to see your posts. All they need to do is “like” you and you will show up in their news ticker feed. The biggest challenge is that it may mean you have to post more and be more active on your Facebook page to get people’s attention.
The news ticker, which now appears on the side of your Facebook page, is like the scrolling news ticker TV news channels use at the bottom of the screen to alert you to the main headlines. This is deliberately distracting so that it commands your attention if you are not interested in the visual news story item being shown and would otherwise be tempted to change channel.
On Facebook, the new news ticker is real time and contains posts, comments and likes your friends are posting. While it’s easy to miss something passing by, if people comment on a post, it gives others a chance to catch up with that item as it resurfaces.
It does mean that if you post something only every few days, you won’t be top of mind to users. Those who post frequently feature on users’ main page so that it looks current. You will want your stories to show on the users’ “top stories” feed.
One of the things marketers have put emphasis on until now is to encourage people to “like” their Facebook page. There is a change behind the scenes now. When someone clicks “like” it means your posts will start appearing in their news feed as if they have subscribed to your Facebook page. So while it’s great that people start subscribing the moment they press “like,” it poses a bigger challenge in getting those people to actually engage with you and your brand.
You need to word your posts in a way that encourages them to comment and engage with you. It's no longer about the number of likes but what sort of conversations (and how many) users are having with you.
The challenge with wording posts in Facebook company pages is the tone. If it comes across as an over-the-top marketing message that could have been written by an advertising agency, Facebook users will shy away from it. Posts from their other friends are likely to be more witty, cynical and of a more personal nature.
Be chatty, sound genuine and don't go overboard with enthusiasm for your brand. Ask a question that may get people talking. Don’t do a post for the sake of it. You need to have something interesting to say. It doesn’t have to be directly about your brand. If you go into a coffee shop each morning, you often have a conversation with the person about the weather or something else going on. You don’t talk every morning about the coffee. It’s all about customers liking you and feeling you too are a special friend.
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