It seems like every time I turn around this year, Facebook is announcing another new feature. First it was Graph Search in January. Then in March, Facebook began announcing three features that directly impact brand and business pages: a News Feed redesign, threaded Facebook Page comments and partner categories for the Facebook advertising platform.
News Feed Redesign
Facebook announced the news feed redesign in March. According to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the new News Feed’s goal is to be a user’s best personalized newspaper. The new look features a simplified layout with a heavy emphasis on visuals.
Facebook users will also be able to view several different feeds from the homepage. Among the choices are friends-only, photos, music, music, games, groups and most recent feeds. The new look will be available on all desktop, mobile and tablet platforms.
With this new design, you’ll need to reevaluate your page layouts and content based on these recommendations:
- Visuals will be larger so frequent, high quality images are the way to go
- Photo captions will now be in an overlay in the top left corner of the photo so keep this in mind when composing and editing visuals
- Website and brand logos, larger thumbnail images and headlines will appear when users and pages share links to external pages so your blog or website must be optimized for optimal appearance
- Page cover photos and profile photos will now be displayed in the news feed when a user likes a page so a professional, eye-catching and engaging design is best
Facebook Page Threaded Comments
Threaded conversations are now available as an opt-in feature through qualified page admin panels. All pages will be switched over to threaded comments and replies feature in July 2013.
Threads give page owners and page members the ability to directly reply to one another in a conversation. Conversations will also be ranked using popularity and a user’s social connections as a key indicator. Posts that have more comments and “likes” are likely to appear at the top of the conversation. If a user reading comments on a post is connected to any of the responders, their posts will also appear higher than comments from users they have no connections with.
Threaded conversations on Pages will give you the ability to:
- Interact directly with users, building real relationships and encouraging conversations
- Open the door to new marketing opportunities like live question and answer sessions
- Increase your page’s social engagement to improve Graph Search rankings
Partner Categories for Advertising
Partner categories is a new feature on the Facebook advertising platform that allows page owners and other advertisers to better target their advertisements on the social network.
Third-party data providers like Datalogix, Epsilon and Acxiom have partnered with Facebook to provide details on users’ actual purchases. Previous targeted advertisements on Facebook could only be targeted using expressed interests through profile information and “liked” pages.
If you advertise on Facebook, there are now over 500 partner categories to choose from. All categories contain a description of the category, details about the target audience and an explanation about the data source. No personal data is revealed and advertisers can still only see the size of their audience.
I know it might be hard to keep up with Facebook’s updates and new features, but I really these features create additional opportunities for brands and businesses to interact with existing page members as well as build out their social networks.
Have you used any of these new features? Will they affect the way you market your brand or business on Facebook?
Katie Elizabeth is a blogger and communications grad student. She’s obsessed with social media and loves testing new features. She’s a social media consultant for several real estate agencies, accredited online schools and retail stores.