There was a collective groan from the masses when Facebook announced its changes to the look and usability of their pages. As of March 30th, TIMELINE will be the standard across the board. For the individual user, the changes are aesthetic. For brands however, the change is a game changer on how they used Facebook to connect with their customers and consumers.
The biggest perk to a brand on Facebook was the ability to control and customize landing pages. Third party app developers have appeared out of the woodwork just to take advantage of this. For a brand, the landing page and the ability to build big splashy pages was the equivalent to a magazine ad online. For old school business and old school marketers this was the draw to Facebook. It was something they understood. Much more than ROI or link backs and all the other countless social media jargon.
For Facebook the changes are geared toward making money, more for them and less for you. The Timeline format allows Facebook to run premium ads throughout a page instead of just the right hand column, and predominantly on mobile feeds. The new format allows for anything posted on an advertiser’s own page – status updates, photos and videos – to be made into an ad that can pushed out to users’ newsfeeds and mobile feeds. This kills the need for landing pages and the focus will be to turn content into advertising. Few seem to be taking these changes seriously. Jim Belosic on Mashable said in his article this rather telling statement.
“Facebook values the level of functionality and engagement that third-party apps offer, including sweepstakes, contests and landing tabs, and all of those features are still going to exist in some form. Let the third-party apps worry about the kinks and the aesthetics and remember that your fans are still visiting your page on a daily basis to get the same engagement and attention they’ve always received from you. With all the rumors we’ve heard, Facebook pages are about to be better than ever.”
I don’t think this is entirely true. What has happened is that Facebook has streamlined and strengthened the need for brands to advertise on Facebook. Their advertising structure was their weak link. Not anymore. Content will be ‘encouraged’ to become advertising. Beth McCabe, in an article yesterday on ADOTA makes this very clear. For the user, content is king. The Timeline page offers bigger spaces for visual and content. But gone is the hidden content. No more big flashy ‘like’ incentives. Brands will once again have to focus on paid advertising on Facebook to keep an edge on their competitors. Content will be the draw.
“Facebook’s best performing ads will now all be linked to the power of good content – stuff that’s engaging, compelling and, to use their nomenclature, helps to tell a brand’s story. That means consistently sourcing great content, such as videos and images, and having community managers who know how to wrap it in compelling calls to action.”
I have to admit, I never thought Facebook would be the force that encouraged good content. Granted your good content is geared towards making them money. The key now is how prepared are you for this change? Now is the time to take a good hard look at what is on your brands Facebook page. Is your message clear? Does your Facebook page speak to your customers? Is it telling the story you want to be told? If you are unsure on the answers to any of these questions, SAHMedia can help.