Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ways Brands Can Prepare For Facebook Changes

As a wise statesman rocker once sang, the waiting is the hardest part.
These days, that applies to Facebook marketing, too. We’ve seen a preview of what Facebook’s Graph Search and new newsfeed will bring. Now, all that’s left to do is wait.
But, while we’re speculating, pontificating and – well, waiting – here are 20 mostly painless, definitely necessary things all brands can do to get a jump start on whatever is on the way. No matter how you feel about Facebook, it’s time to get ready.

1. Get On The List

First and foremost, get a jump on the crowd by signing up for the early access list. You can enlist yourself for both Graph Search in “very limited” beta and the new newsfeed.

2. Audit Your “About” Page

Now’s a good time to revisit all the information listed in your brand’s “About” section – any of this data could become a Graph Search element. Are your categories correct? Is your address up-to-date? Are you focusing on the right keywords? Do your name and username match what users will plug into Graph Search to find you?

3. Lock Down Your Likes

Graph Search makes “likes” public, so it’s easy for anyone to discover such unsavory information as which politicians like big butts and which companies have employees who “like” racism.
Can you say reputation management nightmare? Educate your company and its employees about privacy settings – the Washington Post has a great primer and infographic.

4. Fine-Tune Your Visual Content Strategy

With every scrap of info Facebook is giving us about the new newsfeed, the importance of visual content is reinforced.If your content strategy doesn’t include visuals, now’s the time to change that.

5. Get Meta

Articles you share will soon feature a larger image, a more prominent title, and a longer article summary. So, make the most of all editable fields for every link.
The link’s title, meta excerpt and associated photo can all be edited and optimized. A few small tweaks could draw more users to your site, so don’t sleep on this easy fix.

6. Blog With Bigger Photos

Since larger images will be created automatically from the links you post, it’s important to upload large, high-quality links to the blog or site you’ll be sharing from. Facebook recommends a width of at least 552 pixels.

7. Encourage Check-ins

Storefront business? Begin thinking of ways to encourage check-ins, whether it’s a sign, discount or contest. Check-ins will be featured more prominently with a map in the new newsfeed, and they’ll be a big factor in Graph Search, too.

8. Get To Know The New Feed Options

One of the most notable changes coming to Facebook is the ability for users to filter content into different feeds. In addition to the default mix of updates from friends and brands we’re used to now, users will also be able to choose from other “subfeeds” like:
  • Most Recent: All posts, in chronological order
  • All Friends: All posts from all friends
  • Photos: All the photos posted by friends and brands a user follows
  • Following: All posts from the brands and public figures a user follows


9. Prepare For A Reach Drop

Let’s be realistic. For the first time, users have the choice of totally tuning out messages from brands by looking at their “All Friends” feed. They’ll probably take advantage of it. Prepare bosses, clients and any other stakeholders that there could be an adjustment period ahead.

10. Get Trending

One way Facebook’s new newsfeed will reduce clutter is by grouping together stories on the same topic in a mini-carousel of headlines. Brands that study up on trending topics and prepare themselves for successful newsjacking a la Oreo’s Super Bowl moment could be rewarded with more eyeballs.

11. Make Sharing Your Goal

With users now given the option to totally filter out brands, share-worthy content is more crucial than ever. If the “All Friends” feed becomes the norm, that’ll be the main avenue to get your content seen.

12. Optimize Your Post Times

At least some of the optional subfeeds will be shown in chronological order (including “Following,” the one that shows primarily brand content). In these feeds, content will move fast – if your fans follow lots of other brands, your content could disappear in a matter of minutes. It’s important to consider your fans’ Facebook habits and experiment with post times to find the frequency that works for your brand.

13. Prep High-Quality Images For FB

What does it tell you when Facebook makes photos bigger and creates a photos-only feed? It’s time to invest in high-quality, high-resolution images. Take advantage of Facebook’s rich display opportunities. Even if it’s just converting a pullquote into an image, photos are your best bet for engagement.

14. Make Your Cover Count

Haven’t looked at your cover photo in a while? Revisit it now. When someone likes or interacts with your Page in the future, the cover photo could come along with that activity – right into the News Feed.
This update is designed to provide more context about your Page, so make sure your cover photo tells your brand’s story and makes users curious to learn more.

15. Think Multimedia

It’s not just photos, although those are the most important element to optimize. Videos will be getting more and bigger play in the new newsfeed, and there’s even a chance music apps like Spotify could add in brands to create unique new marketing opportunities.
Share different types of media, and get pumped about the possibilities. Multimedia is critical to your Facebook success.

16. Mine Graph Search For Intel

Once you get access to Graph Search, max it out to gather new intelligence about your fans. What kind of music, books, TV shows and movies do your fans like most? What other brands do they like? Use all the information available to paint a fuller picture of your fan base so you can create more compelling content for them.
Then move on to analyzing industry competitors or even mining for media sources you can begin to build a relationship with.

17. Organize Your Photos

Have you looked at your photos and albums lately? It’s time to organize them. Here’s what to focus on:
  • Shorten the captions – From the examples Facebook has provided, the new newsfeed will display photo captions overlaid on the actual photo. Too much copy could distract users.
  • Categorize photos – When Facebook gets a refresh, users tend to explore a lot more, so be ready. Move miscellaneous wall photos into appropriate albums for easy browsing.
  • Tag your photos – Photos of people and places are searchable in Graph Search, so be sure to tag where applicable. Encourage others to tag themselves in your photos, too.

18. Focus On Useful Or Funny Content

In Facebook’s new world, great content will get a wider audience, and poor content will get lost in the clutter. So, before that new world gets here, focus on producing quality content that’s unique, solves a problem, provokes awe or makes people laugh. That’s the stuff that’s most likely to spread.

19. Remember Why They’re There

In the midst of trying to make sense of the kind of changes that marketers are most likely to notice, it’s important to remember why people come to Facebook in the first place. It’s not to be sold to. It’s to keep up with friends, see what’s new and newsworthy and maybe alleviate boredom. How can your posts stay on topic and also fulfill those needs?

20. Diversify Your Social Media

Still feeling anxious? Just remember, Facebook isn’t the only place you can go to promote your brand. Investing some time in other social media networks or even giving your own blog a refresh could provide the perspective you need.


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