Facebook makes changes frequently, and without actively pandering for user input. The result is a wave of panicked posts and threats to defect to a competing social service. Getting past our collective discomfort with change, what are the most recent changes really going to mean for the users and marketers that live on Facebook every day?
The changes will affect how personal profiles are curated and displayed, who can see various status updates, and how news feeds display information about your friends, companies you like, and others that you have simply "subscribed" to receive their information.
Ultimately, yes, it adds a layer of complexity that may take some users time to understand. But it also allows a level of control over users' own information that was previously unavailable. A user can make sure their associations with organizations seem to be larger part of their identity than the time they spend playing Farmville. Joe Green from Causes.com wrote on the Huffington Post about what the changes will mean:
Facebook's willingness to tackle this issue and give people the power to curate their timeline to feature depth of attachment and not pure frequency of engagement is exciting for developers like Causes that power deeply meaningful social experiences.
But what does all of this mean for YOUR brand? Todd Wasserman wrote a great piece on Mashable yesterday, breaking it all down. In short, the "Like" is finally dead as a success metric, and the focus must be on how users can take social actions, enabled by the brand. Since users now have more control over their news feeds, brands with boring or irrelevant updates will have lower visibility. The last quote of the article really summed up the changes for marketers looking to leverage Facebook:
Colin Murphy, social media director at Skinny, a digital ad agency, thinks overall, the changes are a challenge to marketers and agencies. “He really threw down the gauntlet today,” Murphy says of Mark Zuckerberg. “You actually have to deliver something of value to a customer rather than just being a person spamming.”
Amen to that.