By Jake Finkelstein
You can accuse Facebook of being many things, but stagnant is not one of them. Since the beginning of the year Facebook has announced a number of new features and changes to existing functionality that have a broad impact on the ways in which brands are interacting with consumers on the social network. At BBG, we’re constantly evaluating how these changes impact our clients as well as providing guidance for best practices on how to capitalize on these new opportunities.
Today I’d like to highlight four recent changes to Facebook and how they’re impacting the way that brands interact with their Connections and customers.
Tabs Lose Prominence
In February Facebook announced a significant revision to the design of Facebook Pages that among other changes moved the tabs from the top of the page to the left side menu (replaced by a photostrip). With the tabs no longer front and center, it’s likely that brands will see a decrease in traffic to the custom tabs and applications. On the plus side though, Page owners can now list up to nine tabs above the fold as well as use longer tab names.
Post & Interact As a Brand Instead of an Individual
Coinciding with the redesign of the Pages, Facebook now allows administrators to use the social network as the brand page. Having (nearly) the same privileges as a regular user opens up a host of interesting opportunities including giving Page owners the ability to post to other Pages’ wall, make comments and even “Like” other Pages. While not everyone is thrilled with the idea the responsible use of this feature not only enhances how a brand can interact with users but will also increase the likelihood that users will organically discover a brand’s Facebook Page.
Monitoring Just Became a Whole Lot Easier
As someone who manages a number of different Pages for brands, I was quite pleased by two new features that make monitoring quite a bit easier. First, we have automated keyword blocking which filters out from public view posts that include a predefined list of words. This is particularly useful for Pages with a significant number of Connections where the volume of posts to the Wall can sometimes make it difficult to catch the occasional post with a curse word.
Second, Facebook has also launched a feature that allows Page administrators to be notified via email when a new post is made to the Wall. While this could easily become overwhelming for Pages with a large number of Connections, for smaller Pages this is a great way stay on top of user activity without having to constantly check in on the Page.
Facebook Comments Coming To A Blog Near You
Facebook Comments is an interesting extension of the social network that brings the commenting engine from Facebook to your blog. In addition to providing users with a familiar interface for leaving comments, this new feature allows for blog comments to automatically be posted to users’ Facebook profile and – better still – for users within Facebook to discover the conversation happening on your blog and participate from within the social network.
What’s Your Take?
How have Facebook’s recent changes impacted your company’s presence on the social network? Do you like the new features and design or is it now more difficult for you to achieve your communications goals?