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How Brands Fit Into Facebook’s Future

Facebook Brand MarketingBrands across the board struggle to engage with fans on social networking sites – there is no secret there.

If you think about it, some pages have hundreds of thousands of fans, but only a small fraction of these fans are actually interacting with the brands. However, this may all change. Up until recently, most Facebook users were only seeing the ‘Top News’ – content that Facebook deemed to be the most important to you. In order to see all the messages on Facebook, users would have to change their preferences to see ‘All News’.

In its most recent round of changes, revealed for the first time at its F8 Developers Conference in San Francisco, Facebook is now showing both top news and recent news. Right off the bat, you’ll probably notice you are seeing more messages from the brands you follow. As the noise – the messages that aren’t from your close friends and family – on your news feed buries the important content for Facebook users, brands should expect Facebook users to start unfollowing the brands that are too heavy on marketing messages or produce mediocre content.

The Next Round of Changes at Facebook

A lot of brands were hoping that Facebook’s recent announcements would have more to do with increasing the ability for brands to interact with Facebook users, but Facebook’s focus was entirely on the user experience:

  • Profiles are now becoming timelines, a stream of your photos, status updates, places you’ve visited and more. You’ll even get to choose a ‘cover image’… How can you open the book to your life without a great cover anyway?
  • Facebook is moving beyond the Like. You’ll now be able to share that you are reading a book, watching a movie, shopping at a store or any other verb/noun combination.
  • A ticker was already added to display the stuff Facebook doesn’t think you care about. I mean, who really wants to know that Aunt Mae became a fan of Sausages USA or that I just ran 2.1 miles on RunKeeper?
  • You and your friends can listen to music, watch movies and read news together. You’ll be able to see what kinds of content your friends are consuming.
The folks at Facebook made the right moves in this latest round of updates. They made their social network more unique by focusing on the users, not the brands. If they make it too easy for brands to interrupt users, they’re won’t be able to remain the powerhouse they are today.

Where’s the Brand Love?

So where do brands fit into all of this? The solution is simple: create great experiences that your customers will want to share. Facebook users only share the “best” things with their friends and family. Create a great experience and they’ll be more likely to share it, and your customer’s connections will be much more likely to pay attention. These experiences can come in the form of content as well. If you see that four of your friends read a blog post or news article, you’ll be much more likely to pay attention.

What are some ways you can improve customer experience on Facebook?