Will Your Brand Succeed in the New Facebook?

Change is constant. For social media marketers, few events have illustrated this like the whirlwind of announcements from Facebook recently. When it comes to Facebook updates, there’s one other thing we can count on: some marketers will be able to adapt – and others won’t.

The announcements at f8 (Facebook’s developer conference) about the revamped News Feed, Ticker, Timeline, and Open Graph apps are exceptionally promising for users, for app developers, and for the Facebook platform itself. How brands will fare is still unknown for sure, but there are some clues as to how social media marketers can capitalize and prepare to adapt for whatever comes next. In order to be successful in this market, you have to first be prepared to adapt quickly. Nimble organizations benefit most as social media evolves at a pace never before seen. Those that can be flexible and grasp these ideas will make the most of the new Facebook:

View all interaction through the lens of storytelling. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called the new Timeline the “story of your life.” This pertains to users, but the evolution of social business has been headed in this direction for quite some time. The companies that know how to tell their brand’s story will come out ahead. Signs point to Facebook Pages taking the same form as the Timeline. This and other new features mean brands need to paint a picture of their own life stories for consumers – stories that connect with them through:

  • Eye-catching photos. With cover images and a visually-focused design, Timeline photos play a huge part of making Timeline so beautiful.
  • Highly engaging, relevant content in multiple forms. 1) Through optimized posts that successfully claw their way into both Recent and Top Stories, while also capturing attention in the real-time Ticker section. 2) Potentially through seamlessly social, branded apps, or app integrations that are engaging enough to strengthen the relationship with each user and boost “GraphRank,” the new app version of EdgeRank.

Successful Facebook marketing from this point forward may be as simple as telling your story well and making it easy for your customers to showcase the fact that your brand is also an integral part of their own stories, which will be portrayed in whole on Facebook.

Know your audience cold. Changes coming to Facebook will provide an unprecedented amount of control to users in terms of what news they’re served when they view the News Feed. Know what information triggers feedback and action by your customers on Facebook, what actions they’re likely to share, how they feel about privacy issues on Facebook, and what activity drives them to act on friends’ actions. This will set you up for success in the News Feed and the Ticker, for Sponsored Stories (new Sponsored Stories will be able to target based on activities, not just users’ declared interests), and in apps. Understand the mechanics of how your audience operates on Facebook, and you’re on the path to success “post-f8” – whatever that may bring.

In short, (Facebook) change is inevitable. Adaptation is not. Flexibility determines how quickly a social program can pivot with the updates, but underlying factors like creating great content that is built to perform well in Facebook and resonate with customers are arguably the most critical elements of the new gold-standard Facebook marketing.

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