3 things B2B companies should know about Facebook Page changes
I wonder what companies like Organic Valley are thinking after yesterday's Facebook announcements. Many thousands of companies have established a presence on Facebook thanks to its entity (formerly) known as the "Fan Page." The smart companies, like Organic Valley, have promoted this presence through old school mechanisms like product packaging. While this is not the case with Organic Valley, many others have adopted Facebook's own nomenclature "become a fan on Facebook" in this promotion.
For those that did, they have to scramble to make changes, as "become a Facebook fan" no longer is cool with Facebook. Among the announcements the company made yesterday, people that want to connect to brands on Facebook no longer become a fan, but rather "Like" the brand. The manifestation is the "Become a Fan" button at the top of each page is being replaced with "Like" button.
Predictably, as the comments to the blog post linked above, nearly everyone immediately said "change it back." That's a given for any change Facebook makes.
The reality, though, is that the change is not as drastic as those commenters would have us believe.
What B2B Companies Should Know
I spent some time going through the Facebook's help page that detail these changes and pulled out three things that get to the heart of the Page changes that B2B brands should understand.
1. Expect a jump in follower count rate
At the heart of all of Facebook's changes was the fact that people weren't adding enough information to their profiles about their interests on their own. Instead, three times as many people were becoming fans of pages as adding interests to their profiles. Facebook is building on this by prompting members with a list of Pages with which to connect based upon profile information (similar to recent "Friend Suggestion" enhancements). In my opinion, presenting people with the option of "liking" a brand is a lower psychological barrier than asking them to "Become a Fan." Between the suggestion list most members will see when the changes are rolled out and this lower barrier, I expect companies to see a jump in followers as well as faster rate of growth.
2. Examine relative investment in Facebook vs. Twitter
I recently wrote about how the sheer audience size and deep engagement of Facebook members as compared to Twitter means that B2B companies should treat the former more seriously. More data released by comScore reinforce this. Facebook is the blue line below and according to comScore, now makes up 41% of all social media traffic.
(comScore via Mashable)
What is NOT changing with the new Facebook Pages is the fact that status updates or other content that brands add to the page will appear in the News Feeds of members that are connected to those pages. Given the fact that half of members check their News Feeds at least once per day for an average of 55 minutes, there is a very good chance they will see your information. Compare that to Twitter where a typical update gets pushed down the stream in minutes (unless you pay for a Sponsored Tweet).
One issue I see, though, with the encouragement Facebook is giving members to connect with more pages is that it will increase the noise in the typical person's News Feed. So, you need to make your updates valuable and worthwhile.
3. Get ready for content recommendations
Marshall Kirkpatrick on ReadWriteWeb wrote last night about rumors Facebook would be introducing content recommendation service for Web sites. Here's how it would work:
The language in that code implies to me that the feature will display content recommended to a user because of interest by friends in certain content on the site. Presumably if any of your friends have shared links to the site you're visiting, you'll be encouraged to visit those pages in particular. Perhaps recommendation will go further than that. It's really hard to know, but we'll probably find out tomorrow. That's the question: is this a way for you to recommend content or to have content recommended to you? If it's primarily one, I'm guessing it's the latter.
There should be more to come from Facebook this week that we may write about further. In the meantime, how have you interpreted the changes announced yesterday?