what do the changes to facebook mean for your little biz?

facebook changes.jpg

of course, it has been a week of changes on facebook with the addition of new lists, subscribe buttons, newsfeed and ticker.

and there are still more changes to come as the new profile pages roll out, and application security tightens.

what does this mean for you as a business builder?

#1. glitches

whenever facebook rolls out changes, things get glitchy. so if your page starts behaving funny, if things don’t work as they usually do, chill out. take a break, get a beer and go sit in the sun. almost always the glitches go away after a few days, so don’t panic. okay?

#2. you need good information

don’t get stressed out about every status update telling you what to do with the new facebook. the amount of misinformation, incorrect information, and just plain ridiculous information out there is crazy. my lovely friend nic from market me has a great post on getting real about facebook changes and it contains some links to reputable sources of facebook information.

my go-to sources are mashable, social media examiner and all facebook.

take some time to read real facts and tutorials about the facebook changes (don’t just rely on hearsay), and figure out how to make them work best for you – consider the ways in which you can organize your own profile so that facebook remains fun and not overwhelming, and also consider what you need to take into account for your own privacy as well as that of your friends.

#3. you have no ownership over your space on facebook

remember that facebook isn’t and shouldn’t be the “be all end all” for your business. i have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. facebook is a free service to users - it is not a collective, a cooperative or a boardroom. we do not have any ownership over our little piece of property on facebook. and like it or not, for better or for worse, we as users don't really have much of a say. unless everyone, en masse, were to leave facebook then i don't really think the powers that be give one iota what we like or dislike about the changes.

i think some of the changes will be good ones, and some will be frustrating, but if we want to stay and play in this playground then we gotta just suck it up and make the best of the opportunities we have here.

i see this as a reminder that my 'spot' here is about community and engagement, and that everything else i do for my business needs to take place on my own little piece of real estate that i have control over.

#4. your marketing strategy should be about awesomeness not likes

the changes to newsfeeds and personal profiles should not affect how your market your business. if you have been doing it well in the first place that is! facebook has always been best for businesses who are using it to truly engage with their right people. that is not going to change, if anything i think facebook will come up with ways to make that even better. the changes they are making seem to be all about upping the game and making facebook even more interactive and engaging.

because of the changes to the newsfeed, the addition of the ticker, the new way of showing lists and the more complex profiles that will be coming, it will be more important than ever that your business page not just add to the noise but to be so awesome that people continue to want to hear from you.

facebook has always had an algorithm for what shows up in the news feed, that has not changed! so these posts from pages asking you to like a comment so they stay in your newsfeed are a bit silly, and to be honest feel kind of icky and spam-ish. the algorithm seems to favour posts from friends over brands, and we have little control over what facebook does with that algorithm.

so i urge you to stop adding to the noise on the newsfeed by begging people to like your comment so that your page remains on their feed. instead provide so much awesomeness with your page that people automatically make you a top story or add your page to their lists because they genuinely don’t want to miss a thing.

right now people are trying to figure out how to make the new facebook work best for them. they may be creating lists so that they can keep track of what’s important. they may be unsubscribing from people and pages so that they can remove the noise from feeds and keep up with what’s important. they may be tagging people and pages as top stories so they can be sure to keep up with what’s important. here is an idea – work hard on being what’s important to your right people.

be so valuable to your clients that they won’t want to miss what is happening on your page. be helpful, be entertaining, be useful, be awesome.

#5. your marketing strategy should make the most of the tools you are using

maybe it is time to step up your game. if the changes to facebook are freaking you out because what you used to do is not going to work anymore, stop complaining and start getting innovative. what can you do to create a better experience on facebook for your right people? what can you do with your page to stand out in the crowd? what can you do to make the most of the changes, to create new experiences on facebook?

it appears that changes to the way ‘likes’ work mean that when someone likes your page, a wall comment, a post in the newsfeed, or on a friend’s profile that like no longer shows up in their newsfeed. this means that you can’t rely on friends of likers to see your page show up on their newsfeed and catch their interest. you can’t rely on the numbers game. instead you need to be engaging and create a community where your likers will actively tell their friends about your page. you need to step up your game.

instead of following the pack, think outside the box and come up with new ways to engage your fans. a social media marketing strategy is best when it is about quality not quantity. when you concentrate on true fans not likes and likers. when you actually live your brand message, and create a community of like minded people. use this as an opportunity to rise about the heap and stand out!

some of my fabulous online friends have written about this as well – cas from support a wahp reminds us that we need to concentrate on engagement and amanda from foyster’s communication tells us why meaningful is the new black.

#6. your marketing strategy cannot be at the mercy of facebook

your business strategies need to be successful no matter what changes a third party makes. we can't rely on facebook for any kind of consistency or longevity. facebook could decide next week to change the algorithms, or that pages won't show up in newsfeeds only profiles will, or to introduce a new way for fans to like brands, or to change the way pages work altogether.

we can't rely on an external source that we have no control over to grow our business. we can only rely on our own actions & strategies. so having a plan to provide fans with what they really need from you, no matter the platform, is a better strategy than asking fans to like a post.

as a business you should be able to keep trucking along no matter what changes facebook makes, rather than have your strategies fall apart on you because facebook made a change.

just sayin’.

more about what facebook’s changes mean for marketing (hint it is not the # of likes)

more about what you should really be measuring on facebook (hint it is not the # of likes)