Facebook have once again updated their user experience. While in 2012, the change removed the well known Facebook Wall, replacing it with Timeline, this year’s update see’s a revamp of the newsfeed, as well as a unification of the user experience across platforms.
Previously Facebook’s mobile apps on iOS and Android had a very different user experience to that on the desktop browser version. This occasionally made it confusing for users to switch from using Facebook on their PC or Mac to their Facebook app on their phone, due to the different layout and functionality. Notably, The iOS version was missing the ‘share’ function for many months after it was debuted on the desktop version of Facebook!
Now, Facebook users should find it much easier to switch from using Facebook on their PC, to their phone or iPad, and back to the PC again, as the user experience across all the different devices are the same.
Right now, business owners and social media marketing managers are probably asking what effect do these changes have on my business brand page? We’ve put together a short list of some important changes to the Facebook newsfeed and what to do about it.
You may have already seen ‘trending articles’ on Facebook, where articles from sites like The Guardian, Huffington Post or Yahoo are shared in one carousel. You may have also seen that at holidays or big events, certain posts are grouped together. For example, at Christmas, status updates about Christmas would be grouped together, giving those stories extra prominence.
Now, trending topics have even more prominence in people’s newsfeeds, displaying all stories about a particular topic together with thumbnails. It’s therefore beneficial to track what news stories are currently trending, and posting about those, to gain prominence in this new feature. However to take this a step further, it would be even more beneficial to write and post your own article about a trending topic to your blog or website. That way, with enough shares your story could appear under ‘trending topics’ amongst other popular articles on the same topic, driving large amounts of traffic back to your website. Newsjacking is a useful book by David Meerman Scott, which discusses techniques on how one could achieve this.
Straight away, you’ll see that Facebook’s new newsfeed design makes much heavier use of photos. This somewhat follows the lead that Pinterest had, which is a fast growing social network based around image sharing. In fact, the proportion of images being shared via Facebook compared to other types of posts like video or text has increased from around 20% in 2011 to 50% this year, according to Zuckerberg.
Our advice is to ensure you have as many high resolution images you can use for marketing as possible. It’s important that any images you use are not below the actual resolution used on-screen, to avoid looking too grainy.
We suggest storing your marketing images, photos, and anything visual to do with your brand at the highest resolution possible, for a couple of reasons. First, as screen resolutions on laptops and phones are getting bigger and showing more detail, you’ll soon need even higher resolution images than today! It’s best to future proof your Facebook page by creating everything in high resolution then resampling or cropping the image to fit Facebook’s current design. Then, when Facebook’s design changes again using yet higher resolution images, you will be able to take your original master copy and adjust it again for the new image specifications.
Fix Up Your Cover Photo
Unfortunately, despite cover photos being part of Facebook for a year, many smaller businesses still do not have one set up properly. Cover photos now have more prominence within Facebook. Facebook suggests that “having an engaging cover photo that tells your or your page’s story is even more important to improve your discovery through connection stories”. Previously, whenever a page fan interacted with your brand page, your profile picture would get highlighted in the newsfeed of a friend of that fan.
Now, the brand’s cover image is also displayed, along with mutual friends, giving a mini-snapshot of your brand. Having a well thought out and well branded cover image is important to assist the viral growth of your page, helping to convert friends of fans into fans.
Other Types Of Media
Over the years Facebook has evolved from mostly text based stories to an increasingly multimedia rich experience. Thanks to Facebook Connect and OpenGraph, a wide range of media services are now connected to Facebook, giving users a more enjoyable experience, while brands have even more tools at their disposal to reach new customers.
With the redesign, the newsfeed can now be split up, allowing users to view only certain types of stories, for example just photos, or just music. This means if you only post text based stories or links, you could miss your audience completely, since they may choose to only see photo stories or music stories.
On the flip side, the brands that will win out are the ones that post a range of story types. For example, on Mondays you could post photos of happenings in the office, or a new product, the next day you could share a Spotify playlist (great for nightclubs, DJs or musicians!), the following day you could post a link to a recent blog article, and the day after that post a video of a product you sell or a guide to your service.
So you’ve found out about how Facebook’s redesign can be beneficial to brands, but you may still be unsure about how these tools can help your business specifically. You can find out more about Social Media Marketing here, or visit our Blog for more tips.