What Does Facebook’s New News Feed Mean For Brands?



Five key points for businesses as they prepare for Facebook’s redesign.

By Courtney Cairns Pastor

On your personal Facebook account, the new news feed will look clean and sleek, with pictures that pop and links designed like a glossy magazine’s table of contents. But there’s just one thing brands that rely on Facebook for exposure want to know — will the news feed redesign help or hurt company pages?

Facebook unveiled a revamped news feed today, a significant change from the current cluttered page. Today, on a desktop computer, your news feed — the meat and potatoes of your Facebook experience, the reason you actually log in regularly — takes up about 40 percent of your screen. It’s flanked with a lot of visual noise. If you like the more streamlined look on your mobile app, you have a sense of what the future will hold, and it’s good. (Mobile is getting a facelift, too, but it won’t be as drastic a change)

Some of these changes could be great for brands. Some of the changes raise questions about Facebook features businesses have come to rely on. If you manage a company Facebook page, here’s what you need to know:

You need good images: You got a taste of this when Facebook introduced Timeline with its dominant cover photo. If your solution was to throw up a stock photo or a lackluster image, you need to step up your game. Your Timeline cover photo will now be appearing on people’s news feeds when someone likes you or your brand. Make a good first impression and make sure your cover photo follows Facebook rules.

The photos you post will also appear more prominently. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you’ll want to populate your posts with more images. Links to articles and blog posts are a good second choice, because they’ll be bigger as well. If you’re sharing something popular, it will be more dominant, and you’ll be included with the other people who shared that content.

You should embrace videos: CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently spoke out about the need for Facebook to recognize that businesses wanted rich visuals like “big pictures or videos” for advertising that Facebook hadn’t been providing. Like photos, videos will get good play. If you’ve got them, share them. Video advertising? Business Insider says the new news feed features larger videos that can be played directly from your feed — including ads. Facebook isn’t being charitable to companies. They can charge more for video ads.

Your content won’t get lost (maybe): The current news feed does let you filter what you see to include just the pages you follow, but it’s buried amid the other clutter and not many people use it. The new news feed includes multiple options for filtering to help you sort through all your content. Click on “following” and you’ll get the updates from the brands you follow.

The down side? Users can also click on “all friends” and just see their friends’ posts. As page managers for businesses, we hope people will toggle between the two, but there’s no guarantee. Businesses will continue to appear in the main news feed, and Zuckerberg is confident that those will get views. He compared it to a newspaper — that’s the front page, where you get your overview, and then you can click on other feeds to delve deeper into more specific content.

Ads are still around: You can still advertise on Facebook, and they should look bigger and better. Your default view when you log in will be the main news feed, which will continue to use the EdgeRank algorithm to determine what you see. Ads will likely appear here, too, although specifics were not available immediately.

Take advantage of different types of content: The new news feed will highlight check-ins and events, which could be a good way for brands to get onto other feeds (like the friends one). If one of your friends checks in at your restaurant or attends a concert at your venue, you get more exposure. Make sure you are sharing that kind of content online and making it easy for others to share it, too. That extends to your Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube content as well — activity on those pages will show up on the Facebook news feed if the poster has their accounts linked.

So when is all this happening? Soon. Facebook is already rolling out the changes. You can sign up to get on the list earlier here. But it will take a while for everyone to get the revised feed. Facebook wants to collect feedback and make changes if necessary before giving everyone the new look.

What do you think about the makeover?

Courtney Cairns Pastor is a writer and community manager for BallywhoSocial. You can find her on Twitter @courtneycp or follow our BallywhoSocial account for social media tips, news and more @BallywhoSocial.

 





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