What you can expect from Facebook as a user
Last week Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled to the world a big change with the company, user profiles will be altered into a virtual scrapbook. The update is known as Timeline and it aesthetically outlines everything you’ve ever done, even from when you were born. It records all the conversations, places you’ve been, photos, and videos you’ve ever taken on Facebook and posts them onto one streamlined page. Along with the Timeline, a header photo will be added to the top of the profile page. This large picture will be the “welcome mat” for many profile users. The update was essential to Facebook’s progress and to its 800 million users according to Zuckerberg, “We (Facebook users) are more than what we did recently”.
Timeline wasn’t the only update announced. Facebook has transformed the way you can “like” something. It’s called Facebook Gestures and users will be able to [verb] any [noun] instead of just liking it. Although the added feature could potentially frustrate users with the coined phrase “oversharing”, it poses an opportunity for brands to connect with their fans on a higher level. Advertisers are the consumer and the 800 million Facebook users are the product. Facebook’s Ticker will also be updated to include only the most newsworthy of updates from friends and pages. Users won’t be bothered by insignificant updates about FarmVille and other apps every 5 minutes and the Ticker feed will be displayed on the far right of users’ profiles, away from Timeline. Netflix, Hulu, Spotify and Yahoo News have all partnered up with the new launch of Facebook. We’re sure there are more to come, but for now these partnerships will have a strong influence interacting with users. If a user is “watching Anchorman” from Netflix, then friends are updated on the status and are socially peer pressured to engage in watching too. All of these updates are just the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot more going on with the company and everyone will soon find out soon enough, Timeline goes live early October.
What you can expect from Facebook as a business.
There are increasing worries from businesses of how to reach out to Facebook users when the updates are launched. Currently with Facebook Pages, businesses can create a unique profile that can be blasted, like spam, out to other pages. This proposed a problem for many users who thought the “Like” button became a staple of who they were or some kind of marketing endorsement for the business. Users started to ignore the “Like” button once they felt violated by the marketing involved. Facebook decided to help break the rigidness of the button and add a personal touch allowing users to [verb] any [noun]. Facebook proposed this will cause better interaction with businesses and users. Probably the most important aspect of the Facebook updates for businesses is the Newsfeed. No longer will a user be able to spread every bit of activity for the day on to their friends’ Newsfeeds. It’s more selective now. Users can choose what they want for their personal Newsfeed, allowing updates what they think to be most important to them. For businesses to gain leverage on users Newsfeeds they will need to generate interesting and engaging content, as well as buying Facebook Ads/Sponsored Stories. This could pose a problem for many small-medium business owners who cannot keep up with the changing landscapes of Facebook, cannot afford Facebook Ads/Sponsored Stories and lack the time or man-power to create interesting content (This is where CFM comes in!).
There are many resources for small businesses to help with the Facebook transition. Facebook Studio for example offers great resources for businesses http://facebook-studio.com/site/index. On Studio, businesses can learn the basics, how to use Facebook Ads and how to reach out to potential consumers. Currently there is not a good source for analytics from Facebook and many third party programs provide the insight businesses need. Hootsuite.com is one of these third party platforms that can create a detailed Facebook analytics report for very low cost. The program, Facebook Marketing Solutions, will give each qualified business at least $50 of free advertising on Facebook and promises free resources and information on how to market your business on Facebook. Facebook Marketing Solutions will be launching over the next few months across the U.S. for small business owners.
What CFM predicts.
The Facebook landscape will be changing and promises of better marketing are hopeful. Though we don’t expect any users to leave once the updates are launched, we do see a slow adaptation to it. Facebook has become the central hub for finding old friends and keeping contact and a profile change won’t hinder users from staying with the social site. Activity will be high on the Facebook over the next few months with users trying out their profiles. There was speculation that Facebook would be charging for accounts, but that was dismissed by Facebook on Tuesday. There has also been speculation for users to sell their banner space on FB or win a prize for promoting a business on their banner space. This would be beneficial for many companies if it were true. What Facebook has come down to for businesses are, the users and their info are merely a product of the company, and businesses have become Facebook’s key customer. At CFM we accept change and adapt to it well. If any businesses need help with the new Facebook layout feel free to contact us at cfmedia.net.