Facebook Updates the News Feed: What it Means for Users, Marketers, Startups, Small Businesses, and the Future

Facebook News Feed Update

On March 7th, Facebook announced the biggest change to its popular News Feed feature since its launch in 2006. In the big announcement, Mark Zuckerberg compared Facebook to a newspaper: “Our mission is to give everyone in the world the best personalized newspaper in the world,” Zuckerberg said. In response to recent claims that Facebook has lost touch with its users, the updated News Feed is an attempt to bring back control and personalization to its enormous user base. As is the case with all updates to Facebook, many users will complain and brands will speculate about what it means for their business.

But, by bringing multiple feeds, bigger visuals, a cleaner interface and consistent design, there’s surely a lot to love about Facebook’s latest update.

Facebook News Feed Update

How does this update impact the user experience?

There’s no doubt that social media has taken an image-heavy turn in the past year. With the obvious success of image-focused networks like Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram, Facebook’s photo offerings were beginning to look outdated.

With that in mind, the biggest change users will notice in this News Feed update is increased space for bigger, richer images to be shared. Images will now fill 552 pixels across the News Feed, instead of 403 pixels, giving users more opportunity to showcase their photo albums and personal moments.

Facebook News Feed Update 

Additionally, the added image space in the News Feed, rolls-over to content shared from sources outside of Facebook. For example, content shared to Facebook from Pinterest, Quora, and Instagram will get a visual boost too, making the Facebook experience more visually attractive no matter what content is being shared.

Furthermore, users will experience refined control of the Feeds they wish to see on their home page. TechCrunch explains that the new feeds will be sorted by how frequently you check them, for easy access. They include:

- All Friends – a feed that shows you everything your friends are sharing.
- Photos – a feed with only photos from your friends and Pages you like (including Instagram).
- Music – a feed with posts about the music you and your friends have played.
- Following – a feed with the latest news from the Pages you like and the people you follow.
- Games – a feed dedicated to games being played by your friends.

Facebook News Feed Update

Essentially, other than in the “default” News Feed view, Facebook will not decide what shows up on your home screen as it has done in the past. With the potential for more fine-tuned control, users should feel more connected to what they’re seeing on Facebook and why they’re seeing it. This should greatly improve the user experience, putting the power back in the hands of the people sharing content. Josh Constantine of TechCrunch sums the benefits of multiple feeds nicely: “Overall, users simply have more choice now. If they want to see content from businesses, it’s easier to do so now than it was before. If they don’t, they can skip them.”

How will Users, Marketers, Startups and Small Businesses be impacted by the redesigned News Feed?

Most notably, images will play an even larger role for Facebook marketers after the News Feed update. As mentioned above, Facebook is going to provide a lot more room to display images in all their glory. But, because users will now have the ability to control what news streams they pay attention to, brands on Facebook are going to have to do an even better job at providing high quality, relevant visual content if they want to stand out.

Ryan Tate, of Wired, emphasized the importance of quality visual content for businesses after attending the launch event on Thursday: “A redesign like the one unveiled [on Thursday] could potentially boost the attention directed at posts from news publishers and businesses. Showing large images and videos, as the new design does, gives extra importance to professionally shot photos and videos like those regularly commissioned by news organizations and advertisers.”

As seen in the screenshot below, Sponsored Stories and Suggested Posts (ads) will be displayed significantly larger than before in the new News Feed. If you think of the new News Feed like a newspaper, the importance of well-designed ads becomes clearer. No one reads the New York Times expecting to see half thought out advertisements, or off-topic messaging. Readers expect quality content.

Starbucks Gift Cards

From now on, advertisers and businesses will need to take advantage of visual content if they want to succeed on the News Feed, but that doesn’t mean they should forget about all the other Facebook marketing best practices that still stand.

If anything, business owners and marketers on Facebook should be more thoughtful about what they publish. Now, having the option to view a “Friends Only” feed, users will easily be able to completely ignore your brand’s posts. Page owners should carefully rethink their content strategies and ensure that they are posting relevant photos, updates, and links to their target audience. Brands that don’t run the risk of becoming pushed aside, or worse, “Unliked” by users.

Need help navigating these big News Feed changes?

Fanpage Toolkit, a full-featured social commerce and marketing platform for small business, has been educating marketers and small business owners on how to keep up with the social network’s changes and how to take advantage of Facebook for small business. Through free webinars and informative blog posts, Fanpage Toolkit staff is able to walk small business owners through the steps necessary to succeed in Facebook’s changing environment. We all know it can be difficult to understand what the changes mean for you and your business, that’s why we’re here to talk about it! Join the Fanpage Toolkit e-mail list today to ensure you don’t get left behind!

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The Future Processes Of Internet Search

The Future Processes Of Internet Search

When it comes to looking for information online, the future of search has some definite trends for 2013.

In part, this new change is working in tandem with the ever growing and changing technology market. As we’ve seen with the invention of smartphones and tablets, web users are becoming more and more reliant on the convenience of the mobile web search. Nonetheless, of the new improvements and upcoming search trends, one of the most highly anticipated changes is the move toward more humanized search processes that are based on natural trends and habits conveyed by individual activity between users on social media sites.

With respect to the new surge in mobile searching, in the past, it was merely an alternative to the search norm, which had always been from a PC device, or laptop. In today’s market, mobile searching is up and coming as an industry standard, and with that said, mobile searching has become a necessary staple from which millions of users are drawing from on a daily basis. The difference in this trend, from recent practices is that in former times, only sites generating the most online traffic really utilized specialized mobile applications and formats.

As a result, the new norm will require that particular web sites that have not yet made the mobile leap will have to be formatted to support these types of applications. By updating their sites to include mobile friendly searches for tablets, smartphones and other devices… companies working to stay relevant in a mobile trending and possibly dominated market in the near future, will have a competitive edge.

Another new trend associated with methods of SEO searching has to do with the relationships of titles, tags, and headings. Individually, each of these items has always been integral to the process of an online database search of information.

However, now the systeThe Future Processes Of Internet Searchm is playing more heavily off of the relationship of title to tag and content, as opposed to keyword searching only. To put it more clearly, instead of focusing on one word that would link a search to a specific idea, or topic – heavy hitting companies setting precedents in the search game are planning to focus on a more narrow search. For example: One that would be based on the establishment of how strong the correlation is between a heading, and content within a written blog piece. This can be done by breaking up paragraphs and making them more relative to each heading, thereby making the correlation denser.

Despite the future changes in content writing, and the way Internet users search… there are staples that will remain consistent. For the fact that the very nature of the SEO game has simply to do with the facts, and dressing them up… staying competitive will continue to mean providing people with useful information in the shape of direct facts that provide a creative spin, while elaborating on the fine nuances of any given topic at the same time.

Finally, the idea of SEO in comparison to conversion optimization has been of debate lately in the IT market. In 2013, businesses are trending toward a new tool of measurement when considering the value of a site. The new shift seems to be embracing the idea of website strength, in terms of its ability to actually convert an online visitor – to interactive user. As opposed to merely considering traffic volume, which can simply translate to browsing.

Overall, the future of search is delving into a new age all together when it comes to search relevance, personalized searches, or how to go about judging brand strength. Instead of relying on merely computer data, statistics, or algorithms… 2013 has ushered in a new wave of idealism and order – weaving these elements together for a more effective way to gauge website success.

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Facebook’s Graph Search, 5 Oughta Knows

The world’s largest social network made waves on the ’Net yesterday with the launch of a new tool called Graph Search.

The tool essentially allows people to discover information based on data that Facebook has collected from its users over time. For example, someone could use Graph Search to discover information such as “restaurants in Chicago that my friends like” or “photos of me that I liked.”

While Graph Search is currently in a limited beta release, the tool seems to improve the social network’s lackluster search bar, which previously only allowed users to search for people or pages on the social network. Moreover, Graph Search has the potential to impact businesses on Facebook. Discover five things you should know about Graph Search below:

1. Likes Matter

Facebook Likes are now more important than ever, especially for businesses. According to a Facebook blog post, Graph Search can make it easier for people to discover and learn more about businesses on Facebook. This is because the search results are based on Facebook’s robust database, which includes information that has been shared by businesses and individuals alike. That being said, businesses with a large fan base will be more likely to turn up in searches for phrases like “restaurants in Chicago that my friends like.”

2. Engagement is Key

Aside from obtaining likes, businesses should focus on maintaining an engaging Page that includes quality interactions with fans. Since the search results are based on information that has been shared by businesses and individuals, interactions between a business and their fans can help the business score higher in the search results. Furthermore, Graph Search also makes interactions like check-ins even more important, because users could potentially search for phrases like “Places in Los Angeles that my friends have been to.”

3. Invest in your Page

Facebook’s blog post states that the best thing businesses can do for their Page is to continue to invest in it and make sure that it is complete and up-to-date. Items like the name, category, vanity URL and information within the “About” section of a business Page can help make it easier for people to find the business on Facebook. Additionally, Page owners should make sure that their business’s address is correct because this information could help someone discover a local business when they are searching for places in a specific location.

4. There are No Graph Search Ad Formats…Yet

As Graph Search becomes more widely available, so will the speculation of a new ad format from Facebook. However, the social network confirmed in their blog post that there are currently no new ad formats available for Graph Search. However, it is important to note that Pages and apps can still use the Sponsored Results ad format to show up in the search results for all Facebook users, whether they have Graph Search or not.

5. Sign Up to Try It

Graph Search is currently in a limited beta release, which means that you must sign up for a waitlist to gain access to this tool. According to Facebook, the rollout of Graph Search will be gradual, starting with a very small number of users. This means that the company is still working out some of the bugs in order to provide the best search results possible to its users before the tool is available to everyone.

Facebook Graph Search Results

Original Post by Allison Howen

 

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What’s the Big Deal About Small Business?

Small Business Saturday is a day dedicated to supporting the local establishments that enrich communities all across the US. As a small business owner, you’re already well aware of the impact your business has on your town’s economic health.

But how aware are your customers? Small Business Saturday helps to highlight the vital role of small businesses on both local and national levels.

You are job creators, economy builders, charitable givers and community enrichers. The folks at AWeber designed the infographic below to show just how important small businesses like yours are, and encourage people to come out and support you on November 24th – and all year long.

Go to the official Small Business Saturday site and find your local participating small businesses. Then, shop there on Saturday, November 24th.

Use the share buttons above to share this post on your social networks, in your emails, on your website or anywhere you want to encourage others to support the small establishments in your area.

Data and infographic by AWeber

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Facebook Responds to Outcry with “Pages” Dedicated Feed

Remember the outcry when people realized that only about %16 of a Page’s fans were actually seeing status updates in their Facebook news feed? In a move that seems to be aimed at remedying this fact, Facebook will be introducing a dedicated “Page notification” news feed option.

As a Facebook marketer, it can be frustrating to realize that only a small percentage of your fans are actually seeing the updates you post. On a Page with less than 100 fans, it can be depressing to see that only 20 or so saw your exciting update. Many managers have claimed that the Facebook EdgeRank has made it difficult to reach fans that could potentially be interested in content, and now Facebook seems to have come up with a solution.

Jon Loomer has reported that the option to subscribe to a Page news feed by getting notifications has been introduced to Facebook. Inside Facebook shows screenshots of an option to “Get Notifications” from a particular Facebook Page by digging into the “Like” options a bit.

Facebook Get Notifications from Pages

Facebook Page Notification

Then, presumably, every time a Facebook Page you’ve selected creates a status update, you should be notified on top of Facebook similar to the way you are whenever a person comments or Likes something of yours.

Facebook has confirmed that they are indeed introducing the feature:

“We are currently rolling out the ability for people to receive notifications from specific pages, friends or public figures that they are connected to. This feature will help people keep up with the people and things that they care about most.”

What does this mean for Page Managers? Whenever you see this option roll out, be sure to let your fans know! Let them know that they can “subscribe” to make sure they don’t miss any updates.

Will people actually use this new feature?  Maybe. Or maybe it will just make things more difficult for pages. Jon Loomer expresses uncertainty about the new feature:

“Many brands should feel uneasy about these potential changes. If you are putting your visibility in the hands of the users, you can no longer blame EdgeRank if no one sees your content. If your Fans don’t take action to see your stuff more often, it’s pretty clear how they feel about you.”

What do you think? Will you take advantage of this new feature? Or do you think it could pose a problem?

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Control Which Fans See Facebook Page Status Updates

With its latest update, Facebook enables Page Managers to control which fans see Facebook updates from a Page in their news feed.

Announced on Facebook’s help docs, Page Managers now have a new marketing tool in their Facebook arsenal. The latest addition lets Page owners choose which fans see a Page’s status updates. Limiting your audience may sound silly, but in some cases, can be used to strategically push out messages to different types of fans.  Now, Page Managers can choose specific demographic aspects of their audience to target posts:

Before posting, make sure to click the drop-down menu that says “Public” and change it to a narrower physical audience if you’d like.

The new feature lets you also decide if you want to control which fans see your Facebook post.

The options for targeting that pop up from this “target” icon include:

  • Gender
  • Relationship Status
  • Education
  • Interested In
  • Age
  • Location
  • Language

Filters such as “gender” can be selected from there. Unless you change them, “Male” will be selected by default. Multiple filters can be selected for post targeting, making sure your post only reaches a very specific audience in the news feed.

Why is this useful? Some Facebook pages have very diverse audiences and may find it useful to target different segments of fans with specifics posts. In the case that a certain portion of your fan base will find information relevant, this could be a useful option.

REMEMBER: Whatever post you make, even if it is targeted to certain users in the news feed, will show up on your Facebook Page’s timeline.

So, don’t post anything you wouldn’t want a certain portion of your fans to see. In other words, don’t discriminate between fans by using targeted posts as they could potentially come across the messages on your Facebook Page.

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Facebook for Nonprofits: Making the Most of Your Time

For nonprofits, everything counts. The world of social media marketing has made the barriers to promote a cause and request donation almost non-existent. Using Facebook wisely, nonprofits can build an audience and increase brand awareness.

nonprofits on facebook

Is your nonprofit using Facebook to promote its cause? If not, it should be! Facebook has just surpassed 1 BILLION active users, everyone (and their mom) is on Facebook, and nearly every major corporation and small business has a presence on the site.

Nonprofits need an affordable solution to Facebook marketing

While Facebook may be free to begin with. Once your nonprofit has signed up, created a Facebook Page, and begun trying to build an audience, you might quickly realize that Facebook marketing might require some time and money – more than you expected.

For that reason, Fanpage Toolkit has explicitly made its suite of marketing applications available to nonprofits hoping to build a presence on Facebook.

Fanpage Toolkit Nonprofit App Builder

The Fanpage Toolkit Nonprofit Page Builder for Facebook.

For small nonprofits on a budget, there is almost no need to invest in a potentially expensive website when effective Facebook use can offer equal benefits and provide similar results.

Now, nonprofits can collect donations directly on Facebook

Eagle’s Wings Albania has done a great job of implementing the Fanpage Toolkit Nonprofit Donation app. This app is perfect for nonprofits looking to collect donations from their fan base. Instead of making an entirely separate website, the Nonprofit Page Builder app provides the full functionality of a donation website (easily compatible with PayPal and credit cards).

Better yet, the app provides 3 distinct visual templates for nonprofits to choose from when building a page. As seen above, each template leaves room to express the mission of your nonprofit whether it’s through rich images, text, or even video. At the bottom of each nonprofit Facebook Page template is a “Donate” button that links directly to any existing PayPal account your nonprofit has in place.

What nonprofit wouldn’t want a DONATE button directly on Facebook?

Nonprofit on Facebook Donate Button Example

Easily collect donations from your fans directly on your Facebook page. No website required!

Every day, nonprofits are connecting with fans and potential donors, spreading the word about their individual cause. Making the most of everyone’s time is important, so make every interaction count by filling your nonprofit Facebook page with valuable content and a clear call to action – “Donate.”

With the right marketing tools, a nonprofit can easily convert any Facebook Page fans it earns into valuable donors. And with apps such as Fanpage Toolkit’s Nonprofit Page builder, the tools to do so have never been more accessible.

 

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Facebook Adds New Ads Manager Notification

In an effort to make ad buying more effortless, Facebook has added a much needed notification to its arsenal of marketing tools.

Facebook Ads manager notification via Fanpage Toolkit

Have you seen new notifications like this one?

 

Facebook is always trying to make advertising more appealing to marketers. In the past, creating a Facebook ad was something that seemed limited to only the biggest brands with the biggest budgets and dedicated marketing teams. Next, Facebook started emphasizing the power of advertising for small business. Finally, Facebook introduced promoted posts, making advertising all too tempting and easy to do. with the click of a button, marketers were able to place an order for a promoted post.

Since then, promoted posts have become a standard way for businesses to gain more exposure among their fans (and we love using them!) Even adding as little as $5.00 to a post can increase its reach by thousands of people. When used correctly, promoted posts can become a valuable part of any pages marketing strategy. Except, even with promoted posts, there is a “lag” period where the post ad must be approved by Facebook.

With this latest update, Facebook has brought ad notifications to the forefront of its platform, informing page managers whenever their latest ads have been approved.

This is good news. Anything to make the process of buying, paying, and tracking Facebook ads less painful is a step in the right direction in our opinion. Because the delay between ordering a Facebook ad and it actually being put into rotation can be so long, this feature now serves as a great reminder function to go back into the ads manager and check on your newly created Facebook ads.

How to Build Your Audience on Facebook and Fanpage Toolkit

Building Facebook ads has been streamlined.

Making it easier for Page Managers to keep track of the ads they have running will only make it more tempting to create more ads. With this latest update, Facebook does just that, making ad approval as important as a new “Like” notification.

Have you seen this new notification appear on your Timeline yet? Is it helpful?

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Is a Facebook Page More Valuable Than a Website?

In recent survey, 50% of respondents explained that they value a brand’s Facebook Page more than its website! Are you taking note?

Mashable is reporting that after surveying 1,000 social media users, Lab42 found that half of them actually found more value in a brand’s Facebook Page more than its stand alone website.

Why Like a Facebook Brand page via fanpage toolkit

52% of users Liked a Page to receive a free item!

So, what do the results tell us?

Based on the fact that half of users find a Facebook Page more valuable than a brand’s website, we know that brands that aren’t already using Facebook as a business channel are missing out. For the fair price of $0.00, a small business or brand can jump on Facebook and begin building an audience. Can a fully functional and branded website be made for that amount? Probably not.

Even when factoring in the purchase of Facebook advertising or targeted, promoted posts to increase reach and engagement, the budget to set-up and promote a brand on Facebook is significantly less than that of a stand-alone website. 

But, why do users actually Like brand Pages?

Not surprisingly, 52% of those surveyed said they Liked a brand Page because they wanted a free item! Do you know what that tells us? You need to be using promotions to give away free items! Facebook insists that you use a 3rd party app when creating a promotion or gathering information from fans, and luckily many of these, promotional apps can be installed for free! As a brand, with promotional tools you can provide great value for your fans, without having to spend more than you’re comfortable with.

With the low cost of running a Facebook page in mind, surely your brand can spare some budget to create worthwhile promotions or giveaways, right? Users want to achieve something valuable by Liking a Page, if you don’t provide that (be it a prize, product, or promotion) then why should they stay around?

Then what makes a person Unlike a Page?

We can clearly see that users Like Pages on Facebook in hopes of winning something, getting a coupon, or saving money. But why do users Unlike a Page? The survey found that 47% of users typically Unliked a Facebook Page because “it cluttered their news feed.” There’s an easy take away  represented by that figure – Don’t post too often! Brands that crowd their fans’ home screen may quickly see themselves Unliked. Keep posts consistent and timely, don’t feel forced to post every little bit of news that comes out.

Why do people unlike a page via fanpage toolkit

Don’t post too often or you’ll clutter fans’ news feeds!

In some cases, a brand may not remain relevant to a user’s interests, which is why it’s increasingly important to remain focused and post on topic for your fans! If a brand strays from its core audience’s interests by posting funny cat pictures or the latest viral video, how is that forwarding the business? Just because you’re using Facebook doesn’t mean you should “sabotage” your brand by giving in to the latest trends spreading across the news feed.

In fact, we’ve argued against posting the same thing as everyone else, as it limits your exposure.

interact with brands on Facebook

Most people believe Facebook is a good place to interact with brands.

These numbers make it clear to see. If you’re not using Facebook as a secondary (or primary) site to drive business and fan interaction, you’re missing out! With 82% of users surveyed saying they think Facebook is a good place to interact with brands, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be engaging them.

 

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Facebook Commerce and Small Retailers Get Cozy

Facebook offers something to small retailers that large chains and corporations can’t compete with – a personal connection to an audience. Is your small business taking advantage of it?

USA Today is reporting that Facebook has become the go-to place for small businesses and retailers to set up shop. Are we surprised? No way! It has become increasingly clear that Facebook provides a platform from which small businesses and retailers can set up shop, build a small and personal audience, and promote a few unique products or services.

A personal touch is necessary for interaction on Facebook. While a giant retailer might have hired someone to manage their Facebook Page, does that manager truly know its audience? Does that manager even know who the page’s fans are? Probably not. In fact, the article says “Social-commerce gurus say small retailers have the edge over big names, because they behave more like friends on Facebook.” Paul Chaney, Author of The F-Commerce Handbook explains:

“This is where small business can really hit it out of the park…I connect with the guy or lady who runs the business, and that’s the person who’s posting.”

When it comes down to it, small businesses might just know their customers better than the big guys! In many cases, small business owners are on the ground, in their store, selling and working hard all day. The best part, though, is that Facebook has opened up another sales channel to small business owners, and now they can easily connect with customers through a business Page.

Small businesses are succeeding every day with Fanpage Toolkit’s app suite.

Fanpage Toolkit has made it easy for small businesses to jump on board the prime real estate of Facebook and start selling. But, selling would be meaningless if there wasn’t the ability to support sales with promotional tools and marketing content. Small business owners need to make their time on Facebook worth while. Creating a page is the first step, but that alone won’t guarantee fans or sales. Pages must be supported with promotions and giveaways!

Luckily, our platform is full of apps designed to support the small business owner looking for “more bang for their buck.” No one wants to spend extra money to build a Facebook presence, right? Especially for small businesses, product value is of utmost importance!

F-commerce App via Fanpage Toolkit

Facebook Commerce is one of the many apps in our suite.

One reason we saw so many big-name retailers pulling out of Facebook commerce in recent months is pricing. These big retailers were paying IT costs to the tune of six and seven figures to develop their own Facebook Commerce solutions, or paying a very high subscription fee to use a single F-commerce shopping provider. It’s no wonder they never achieved the necessary ROI to make F-commerce worth while!

On the other hand, we know that small businesses and local retailers don’t have the kind of budget of big chains like JC Penney. For that reason, Fanpage Toolkit is not only affordable, but services scale from completely free, to a maximum of $25.00 per month! We want to make it appealing for small businesses to “get cozy” with Facebook commerce. We want to make it painless to jump in and start using Facebook to its full potential.

So, what are you waiting for? Have you made use of Facebook commerce for your small business yet?

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