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How to Leverage Facebook Design Changes

Why Bother with Facebook?

This is a question I ask myself on a regular basis, especially now, as each time I add a post to my page, I am given the option of spending up to $50 to reach 5,000 people.

Over the past two years, I’ve seen decent growth in my personal blog, MomsGetReal, which has gone from about 2,000 unique views per month and about 10,000 pageviews per month to more than 10,000 unique pageviews and 40,000 pageviews per month.

While Facebook is responsible for driving some of that growth, Pinterest has actually been responsible for more traffic (by about a third) than Facebook (although the resulting addiction to Pinterest is certainly something to consider). Even though Twitter sends less traffic to the site, it provides a better platform for networking. My connections on Twitter have resulted in paid advertising for my blog, participation in promotional events that improve brand awareness and wonderful, enriching partnerships. Google+ allows me to connect more effectively with people who share interests.

But Facebook is not going away, and the changes they are making to their algorithms (whether they admit it or not), combined with the rollout of EdgeRank last year and now the up-and-coming visual redesign (which is not yet fully available, though most people can sign up for a waiting list), makes Facebook something we will have to continue to contend with.

What’s Changing?

According to Facebook, the new design will be image intensive, with better control over what appears in your stream and the ability to define streams based on content. This is very much like Google+ Circles, which demonstrates that Facebook not only sees Google as a threat but is also trying to keep up with their design. While I ultimately predict Google+ will have the ability to dominate, thanks to its integration with all other Google-based products and because I think everyone should be on Google+ now, it’s not worth giving up on Facebook just yet.

Facebook’s Three Major Changes

  1. Image display will be larger. Images are shared a lot, and Facebook is making it even easier to share them, giving up more landscape to those images and changing the way the accompanying text will appear. Because the text will now overlay the image, it will be important to keep that in mind when you have commentary to accompany your image.

  1. Newsfeed. Users will now be able to define what appears in their feeds, and this is where managing pages gets tricky for businesses and communities. If users choose to have only friends show up in their feed, the only way your page will show up is if their friends liked or shared your content. Brand cheerleaders have never been more important, making engagement critical to visibility.

  1. Mobility Rules. The best change to come out of the latest revamp is that Facebook is making it easier to use the platform on any mobile device. This change provides a consistent look whether you’re using a phone, tablet or laptop. The mobile redesign will roll out first to iPhone and iPad, then to Android devices.

These changes not only will alter the way your page is seen, since users will have more control over their newsfeeds, but they will also make image-intensive and video-intensive posts far more appealing than plain text updates. If you want to have your posts viewed, liked and shared, a strong image-based marketing effort will be required.

What the Changes Mean for Social Media Managers

For those who use Hootsuite to provide bulk updates to clients, be prepared to have a more labor-intensive experience with clients who want an image-based campaign. Hootsuite is not capable of offering a bulk update that includes an image, so the only option is a manual update via the page admin or via Hootsuite one post at a time.

How to Handle the Changes

As the Facebook changes roll out, both companies and page managers need to take steps to leverage the improved image and video visibility, but the real focus needs to be on engagement. You need to turn your fans into brand cheerleaders and your brand cheerleaders into evangelists. So in the end, it really doesn’t matter what the design or platform is that you’re using. It’s not a matter of having the most images; it’s a matter of having great fans who love you enough to share what you post.

If you need help bringing  your social media up to speed, DaSh factor can help.