Find out what Facebook’s latest redesign means for businesses, and learn implications and tips that will help improve your Facebook marketing in light of the layout update.
Have you heard the news? Facebook is completely changing its layout! The social network has been forcing layout changes on us from time immemorial and it seems like only yesterday when we first got Timeline.
This time, apart from retaining the white and blue theme, Facebook is getting a complete makeover. The Facebook layout update is for removing clutter and creating a simpler, cleaner News Feed, according to the social media giant.
Here’s the preview video with some commentary from one of the people behind the social network:
Sign up to be in the new layout waiting list here: www.facebook.com/newsfeed
First of all, does anyone else think this preview looks a bit too “stock photo-ish”? Seriously, a normal Facebook timeline doesn’t look like this; it’s filled with 9gag memes, selfies, passive-aggressive status messages, pictures of babies and pets, and promoted posts among other banalities. Considering that the usual timeline is mostly packed with mundane or funny photos and statuses, the question of how uncluttered Facebook will turn out remains.
With Great Change Comes Great Opportunity
Now, let’s move on to the really important question: how will the new Facebook affect your social media marketing?
Facebook’s udpates have always driven us to revamp our social media strategies. When the social network stopped supporting static iFrames, we had to cease developing Facebook landing pages; and although not many social media marketers knew this, Facebook once had a feature where you could easily send messages to your fans’ inboxes, but that’s no longer possible.
Here are implications and issues brands should be aware of due to the change.
1. More filtering options for newsfeed content.
How your posts and messages are delivered and how they’re sequenced in the news feed will stay the same, but the most significant impact re your content delivery is that your content may or may not be seen by followers. On your homepage, there is now the option to toggle between all friend activities through the “All Friends” feed and all activity from fan pages through the “Following” feed.
The ability for users to control what content they receive could potentially cut brands out of the loop since most people acquire brand information from the News Feed instead of individual fan pages.
There is one way to make sure your content is seen – Facebook ads, but that entails that you pay. The idea that engagement with an audience depends on budget size and not interesting content is a huge blow for brands. Stories from a brand can still be seen in the All Friends feed if a user’s friend shares content from that brand’s page, but that means you’d have to release more compelling and shareable posts.
Currently, the update is being rolled out to just a few accounts, so the overall performance of your content shouldn’t be greatly affected. Facebook said they will measure the change’s impact before rolling out further.
2. Maximize all the content feeds.
The multiple-feed update doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can be beneficial for your business. Considering that there are several feed filters to get updates from, i.e. the All Friends, Photos, Music and Following feeds, you have many opportunities of displaying your content to your fan base and their friends.
For instance, by increasing image posts, you can reach out to people who frequent the Photos filter. To be present in the Music feed, you could connect to a company account on Spotify. There are so many ways to make the new Facebook work for you.
3. High-quality photos are needed more than ever.
One of the first things you’ll notice in the new layout is photo size.
Everything from your cover photo to your profile picture to your image posts will be more visible than ever before. Photos have been enlarged and you have the choice to only see photos in your News Feed. This means good-quality photos will appear even better, but poor-quality pictures will look even worse.
When someone likes your page, your cover photo will appear on that person’s News Feed. Your cover photo can leave the first impression, and you want that to be a remarkable first impression of your business.
Not only should your cover photos represent your brand; they should look stunning and invite users to join. Facebook is encouraging brands to use great photos as much as possible, for both mobile and web browsing; the suggested size is 600×600 pixels and shouldn’t be smaller than 200×200 pixels.
There’s also the rule of using not more than 20% of text within image posts. If your Facebook strategies involve a lot of text, it’s time to revise that strategy.
4. Encourage people to check in.
Of course, this only applies if you have a physical location. In the “old Facebook”, when you check in, all that appears in News Feed is this:
Facebook has brought check-ins to a whole new level as they now come with a map of the location and the profile picture of the brand’s fan page.
There’s so much potential here to increase your brand’s exposure. When people check in on Facebook, their friends immediately see that update, and now check-ins will be much more prominent thanks to the redesign.
Seeing check-ins on Facebook can instigate the idea that that venue is popular. If you have a physical location, make your fan page a place page and encourage people to check in. There are many ways to generate check-ins, such as offering discounts and unlocking special coupons for checking in, or asking your employees to check in.
5. Image descriptions are superimposed on the photos.
Some photos may have the image caption appear as white text overlay. This will only happen if:
- The image has a contrast that goes well with the white text
- It doesn’t already contain superimposed text
- Its size is large enough (425×157 pixels)
If the picture doesn’t meet these criteria, the description will be posted using the default, original News Feed display. This enhanced caption styling requires shorter text, so consider using direct, short captions so you can take full advantage of the new display format.
Facebook has also announced that admins may be able to opt out of the text overlay feature.
The update presents change we may find hard to adjust to, but more importantly, new opportunities that could help you step up your game. Has you account switched to the latest redesign? Tell us what you think in the comments section below!