Written by Amanda DiSilvestro
Over the last couple months, Facebook has been rolling out even more changes to their layout. Naturally, businesses have spent time scrambling and trying to understand how to make the changes work for them.
It’s clear that the social networking giant isn’t going anywhere, so it’s important that businesses take advantage in order to reach an even larger audience. With the built-in analytics Facebook offers, it’s easy for companies to see what a large impact Facebook has on audiences. Facebook brings in that engagement that is so important and helps create visibility amongst its now over 1 billion users. Companies have to ask themselves: What are these new changes, and how can I make them work for me?
The Facebook Changes Explained
There were a few changes Facebook made to the layout as well as the navigation that have made people stop and think. A few of the major changes include >>>
#1. A new feature called “Replies” allows you to reply directly to comments that you see on your Page as well as start conversation threads. The most engaging conversations will also be shown at the top of your posts.
You have to opt-in to the feature from the Page admin panel in the “manage permission” section of your page. Otherwise, this will be automatically enacted on July 10 of this year. It’s not yet available for mobile, but hopefully will be soon.
What the Changes Mean to Your Business: This update should make it easier for a business to interact with individual visitors and help keep similar conversations connected for a better experience. People will always be seeing the most engaging conversations on your page (according to you), so you never have to worry about someone missing something important. The change has still not shown up for my company or me, so here is a screenshot from a Facebook article.
#2. All posts have been moved to the right-hand side of the timeline, while other general, miscellaneous information have been moved to the left.
Once the timeline layout was introduced, there was a lot of backlash about having to move your eyes from one side of the screen to the other. Everything seemed jumbled, and people didn’t like the fact that when something new was posted, many things shifted to the other side of the timeline. This made it confusing, so it wasn’t a surprise when Facebook decided to make this change. The left side of the page is now filled snippets of the about section, friends, photos, places, music, movies, TV shows, books, likes, notes, and recent activity.
What the Changes Mean to Your Business: The changes here are likely more important for bloggers and individuals than businesses; however there is no denying that things are at least easier to understand. People are going to be able to skim your business page easier, which should help make sure that all of your posts are being seen.
#3. Images are going to be larger and more vibrant, and videos will now be able to be viewed at their full size.
Facebook understands that photos are one of the most interesting and engaging parts of the network. The photos got larger when the timeline was first developed, and now they’re getting larger again. Videos will also get larger, making them easier to watch.
What The Changes Mean to Your Business: Larger photos often mean more engagement because it catches the attention of visitors. Utilise photos more now that Facebook has added this feature and do a little bit of testing to see what your audience likes to see.
#4. Graph Search is a new way to search for things on Facebook. It allows you to better discover things in common with other companies as well as your followers.
Finally, Facebook is using its plethora of information to help benefit you with more than just targeted ads. With Graph Search, you can type in a query such as “friends who enjoy bike riding,” or “people who enjoy Italian food” and a list of your friends would appear. It makes the most sense to use Graph Search when looking for connections based on information that is given to Facebook. Graph Search is currently not available to all Facebook account holders, but you can visit an introductory page to sign up on their waiting list.
What The Change Means to Your Business: If you are thinking about having a bike riding event for your company, the first search above will help you determine if it’s really worth your while. If you’re an Italian food restaurant, the second search above will help you know who to connect with in your area. The possibilities for connections are endless. You can finally learn more about those in your area and those connected with your company, and target some of your efforts towards any trends. Below is a video explaining more about the feature >>>
#5. When someone “likes” your business page, part of your cover photo will show up in that person’s news feed.
This is another example of Facebook trying to incorporate more photos. Logos and cover photos are often ways that someone can identify a business right away, so this will only help users and businesses see more clicks.
What This Change Means to Your Business: The biggest takeaway here is making sure that your cover photo is up to date and relevant. People will be seeing this as well as your full profile picture in their news feeds. Since this is where the most clicks will occur, you’ll want to take advantage.
Facebook 2013 Changes: Now It’s Your Turn
It’s also important to realise that at this point, the changes have not been enacted for every Facebook account just yet, but the social networking giant expects all accounts to cross over throughout the next few weeks. There are also a few more changes that have been made to Facebook that don’t necessarily directly affect business pages, which you can learn more about here.
About the Author
Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from algorithm updates. She writes for HigherVisibility, a nationally recognized SEO agency and local SEO company.