The Epic Facebook Changes – A Marketers Guide

By on September 27, 2011

The internet is aflame with the epic changes recently implemented by Facebook. Opinions are flying around about the evolving platform – some claiming that marketers will have a harder job promoting their brands there.

One thing is clear, Facebook is trying to steer people and brands towards greater interaction and social connectivity. Predictably, Facebook is placing more power in the hands of the user, which will make it more difficult for businesses to gain fans without spending money. Let’s take a closer look at how you, as a marketer, will be affected.

Open Graph in Basic English

What the heck is Open Graph? Open Graph is really Facebook’s attempt to extend the social connectivity and interaction of its users across the entire internet. In other words this is Facebook trying to create its own search engine without actually doing it. Open Graph was launched last year, but the new changes – well they’re pretty extensive. Open Graph links with other websites on the internet. When you interact there, Facebook publishes your activity in your news ticker.

This is a bold move by Facebook – a sort of response to the Google+ hostile takeover. Now, when you interact on third party websites – you’ll be able to see which of your friends liked the particular song, book or sports event on that page. Without being on Facebook. It’s a running Facebook profile available on other people’s websites. We’re talking about a personalized web experience here.

The change is extremely profound, but there are mixed reactions coming from the marketing community. One side of the coin has us yelling: great! More reach for Facebook fans on our own pages means more brand visibility. Closer communities and greater interaction – and its all automated! On the other side of the coin – it all belongs to Facebook. Facebook is muscling in on your website ownership. They’re claiming parts of your website for their own personal use. Red flag moment!

In simplified English? Facebook is gathering information on every single individual, and using it to promote brands and sell their products and services. Information targeting is the future, and it’s a good thing for marketers. Our advice? Apps just became even more important than they were before. Real-time, action based apps that use Open Graph, are going to make people fortunes. Get in NOW.

News Feed and New Ticker

We’ve already explained that the news ticker isn’t just going to be there for Facebook based interactions with your friends. It will incorporate outside interaction as well. What’s even more amazing, is that you’ll be able to click on a friends outside interaction, and do that same activity – direct from Facebook.

It’s so revolutionary that you can almost see the Facebook team snickering at Google from behind their office desks. We’re impressed, and as a marketer, this is going to open up an entirely new chapter in interactive-marketing for you. Better prepare!

Our predictions – The news ticker and feed just made social management more important than any other form of marketing in the world. The leaps that Facebook is taking to customize the online experience, can only improve sales for marketers that learn how to use interaction properly. It might be easier to get content into your fans tickers, but the pay-off for top story posts will be that much greater. Edgerank still matters to get on that coveted list.

You’ll have to be smarter, more creative and write content that blows away your competition if you want to make an impact. Remember, you’re not only competing with other businesses now, you’re competing with friends and family. Targeting is crucial, social content is pivotal and accurate strategy and maintenance is a priority for brands that want to earn money from Facebook.

Timeline and Sponsored Stories

Everyone on Facebook will have a timeline, or a page that essentially sums up your life or who you are in one neat profile. This will be the central part of Facebook for many fans.

That’s why for brands to make it into a profile timeline, they will have to find ways to become truly meaningful to their fan base. Marketers will be working extra hard to make an experience with their brand timeline-worthy. It’s excellent exposure and ideal brand promotion space.

Sponsored stories have a bunch of new interactive features, which will be great for customer feedback and attracting customers to your page. As a marketer on Facebook, you’re looking at a lot of change coming your way very soon. Keep reading and we’ll keep posting about the changes, and how they impact your life and your business!

Do you have any questions about the new Facebook changes? Ask and we’ll answer!

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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