Facebook Changes Mean Changes for Marketers

People were only just getting over their anger about the changes that began rolling out Tuesday night and now there are more to report. The Internet has been consumed with tidbits from today’s F8 Developer Conference, where Facebook introduced Timeline, a new profile that will present, in a kind of “magazine format,” the user’s content by month and year.

USA Today offers a live blog of today’s conference. And TechCrunch’s homepage is chock full of details. Engadget also has a breakdown of the different music and news services like Spotify that will be integrated into the social network.

Facebook should be thrilled with all of the media coverage its getting this week. And even if some people are angry, the level of reaction shows how important Facebook is to the average user. Fast Company is also talking revenue growth, something you don’t always hear coming from a digital company these days.

But brands, publicists, and marketers have also come to rely a great deal on Facebook as an outreach tool. Changes on Facebook affect them too.

ReadWriteWeb notes that the changes in the way that a “Like” does or doesn’t show up on the news feed means brands can’t just simply count how many people “like” them, which shouldn’t really make a difference because the goal is to build better relationships.

But even with that better relationship, it may not be enough. AllFacebook spoke with Skinny’s Colin Murphy, the marketing firm’s director of social media, who says:

With recent stories, it seems like Facebook’s algorithm will favor a “friendship” over a “brand relationship,” meaning brand content won’t show up at the top of a user’s feed. Second, with the updated newsfeed, photos on brand pages won’t look as sleek and big as they do for personal accounts.

Third, and possibly most important, when a user likes content (again, content, not pages) within the Facebook platform, that content will no longer post to the user’s wall, meaning greatly decreased impressions for brands.

Our colleagues at Inside Facebook point out that, with the even greater focus on sharing, there are opportunities for reaching consumers in ways that weren’t there before. But still, there is much to learn. How will people now interact with Facebook, with brands, and each other? Will bringing more stuff into the fold mean less attention for certain brands and/or campaign pages? How can these new partnerships and features be used as an enhancement to a campaign that may not have been available previously? Figuring that out will be the key to future Facebook success.