Almost two weeks ago, Facebook unveiled its latest platform changes. As with any change, users immediately began posting their dissatisfaction with the revisions. In one survey, 86 percent of the Facebook audience said they strongly disliked the changes.
In a moment of much-needed perspective, a friend of mine shared a link from someecards.com that stated: “I’m appalled that the free service that I am in no way obligated to use keeps making changes that mildly inconvenience me.”
Change is inevitable—especially with Facebook. Social media is all about change—especially when the using population is often the driving force behind the change. With the introduction of Google+ and a plethora of other social media properties, change is the only way to stay current and stay relevant.
At the developer conference where the company unveiled the changes, Facebook also shared some user data:
- – Half of its user base logs into the site every day.
- – The average user has 130 friends and is connected to 80 pages, groups and events.
- – There are more than 900 million objects (pages, groups, etc.) that people interact with on the service.
As a result, you can’t afford not to be connecting with your audience on Facebook any longer. The reality is that a lot of the changes (and here’s a good summary) are designed to encourage even more sharing among users.
For example, the timeline feature reconfigures individual profiles into a virtual scrapbook. Think of it as a one-stop shop for HR and recruiting managers to know all about a candidate’s personal life (if you don’t take advantage of the privacy settings). As a result, ensuring your personal brand is bulletproof has never been more important.
Additionally, apps got a makeover in the name of incorporating more music and video into the sharing experience. So, the feature in the upper right-hand corner of the newsfeed now shares what your friends are listening to or watching.
As more people share more about their lives, the opportunity to get to know your fans more intimately increases. Facebook fans will let you know if you do something right—and something wrong. For example, when Netflix announced its price hike in July 2011, more than 20,000 comments were posted on Netflix’s wall … in one day.
So, how can marketers take advantage of these changes? Here are three quick strategies to continuously change with Facebook:
(1) Remember, it’s not advertising. Facebook is not a broadcast channel; it’s a conversation. So, if you are just repeating your advertising slogan over and over, your fans will likely tune you out. In fact, Facebook made it even easier to decide which updates users would like to see in their news stream. Don’t give them a reason to opt out.
(2) Focus on engagement. Review your Facebook engagement. Are you encouraging interaction? Posting quizzes? Asking questions? If not, you may be missing a huge opportunity to make your customers the star.
(3) Continue to measure the right things. Don’t judge your Facebook page by the number of fans. Dig deeper. Which posts generated the most action? What topics resulted in comments and shares (not just likes)?
As Facebook continues to change and evolve (as this will hardly be the last platform change the site makes), marketers need to pay attention and evolve along with it. After all, with more than 800 million active users on the social network, chances are, your customers are among them.
by Denise Suttman
Senior VP, Public Relations
Follow Denise on Twitter @DeniseKOH
Cross-posted at Ignite Something on the Forbes CMO Network