If you’ve spent any time at all on Facebook the last couple of weeks, you’ve likely been witness to the outcry over the upcoming changes to Facebook Business Pages starting on March 10. If you work with a Facebook business page, you’ll want to read Mari Smith’s Essential Guide to Facebook Page Changes to a nice collection of screenshots explaining the full host of changes.
One of the most significant changes, that is also causing the most fervor, is that pages will no longer show posts in chronological order. Rather, posts will filtered by a weighting system and placed in the order of most popular (in other words, engaging) on top when viewing by the Everyone filter. Post by page will continue to be in chronological order.
Let’s face it, we like order. And this seems to be bringing a level of chaos that at first blush, we’re not comfortable with. Yes, it’s different, and we’ll have to get used to doing things in a significantly new way (AGAIN!).
But, we also like what we want when we want it, in a way that is relevant to us. Chris Brogan touches on this in his recent blog post about the future of location apps. He tells us that one thing he would like to see when using location apps: “It’s not enough to tell me what’s local. I want you to tell me what’s local that I actually care about.” His video is posted below; it’s compelling viewing.
You may be wondering what Facebook wall post order and location apps have in common. I think the same pain is being felt in social media streams. Sure, we “like” pages, but there are many pages that we like for different reasons and at different times. I believe that this particular change is a move in the direction of providing users what they really care about that Chris discusses. It gets rid of some of the clutter.
If you’ve heard me speak about social media, you know that I’m a big proponent of focusing on what your audience wants. I’m actually very excited about this particular change because I see it as a significant move in user-driven engagement in three ways.
1. Your fans will still get your posts as they’ve chosen
Let’s face it, most users don’t hang out on your Facebook page. They typically see and interact with your posts within their page. Sure, they’ll pop over to your page if they see something of interest to them, wanting to link to your website or twitter stream, get your phone number or office hours. The way your audience will initially receive your message isn’t going to change.
2. Your fans will enjoy relevant posts when they come to your page
While you may be a little sideways because folks are seeing what they most likely want to see rather than what you want them to see, consider this. At the end of the day, your efforts are working towards causing your user to take some sort of action. It’s to your advantage to have what they’re looking for to bubble up to the top rather than needing to be unveiled by your fan clicking the View Older Posts link.
When fans visit any page they’ve liked, the wall posts will show up in accordance to their engagement with your page. In other words, the information that shows up at top is what they and their friends have interacted with the most. This means that EVERY user who comes to your page will see something different—they’ll see what is most relevant to them based on their likes and interactions, the interactions of their connected friends, and other factors in Facebook’s filter. Will your Facebook checkins have an impact? I’m sure they inevitably will if they don’t from the beginning.
3. Your page management doesn’t change
After you toggle to view your page as the page rather than the user, you’ll find that you’ll be able to interact with the posts in chronological order. You don’t have to worry about a hot posting to hinder your interaction with user engagement as it comes in. In short, your world as you know it isn’t changing that dramatically. You just need to toggle your viewing persona.
I take that back; if you’re an engagement marketer as opposed to an interruption marketer, things won’t really change. If you’re an interruption marketer, well, you’ll have to work a little harder.
The new order Facebook is bringing our way is actually a very exciting evolution. Instead of muddying the water, I believe it is setting the stage for improved interaction and providing what Chris is calling for: what users actually care about. At the end of the day, your Facebook community will be able to engage with you in a much deeper and more meaningful manner. Your social network becomes a much more powerful tool for your business.
You see, there is method to the madness. Facebook pages are actually making an ordered evolution that will allow you to really engage your audience. Take a deep breath, get used to the change, pay attention to your audience, and consider the richness that is to come.
What’s your take on the change? Let us know in the comments.