Wed, September 28 2011

Facebook’s big changes and what they mean to you

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

Filed under:   Social Media •

I’m sure by now you’ve heard all the hoopla—Facebook is changing its pages and your personal life will now appear as a timeline, with a more organized and in-depth view of snapshots of your existence over the years.  It’s a bit like a digital scrapbook.  The simple world of “likes” will be replaced by a more complex series of reactions to interest areas.  Any verb (not just “like”) can be used as an action, thanks to a new feature called Gestures.  (A good summary is here.)  And those apps?  You won’t have to approve them all the time, so careful what you’re sharing!  You can also consume media right within Facebook - and have your friends see what you’re watching.

I’ve spent a little time this week fiddling around with my timeline and reading what various social media experts are saying about what this means to organizations, not just individuals.  I think these insights are worth sharing if you’re a nonprofit that has spent quite a bit of time building a community on Facebook.

1. If you have a Cause on Facebook, good news: Causes is very much on top of the changes, and they may be good news for supporters who want to show support for your organization more visibly.  Read more here.  If your organization is on Facebook but is not using Causes, read this.  (Full disclosure: My organization is partnered with Causes.)

2. What always held true holds MORE true now: Facebook is about conversation and relationships.  If you want to succeed in using it as a tool to build engagement, you have to treat it as such.  Recommended reading: this post by Beth Kanter.

3. Focus on real ROI.  Build relationships with an eye toward actually getting people to do something of value for your cause.  Read Beth Kanter’s thoughts on moving people along the ladder of engagement from the same post I cited here.  I completely agree with this.  If you’re spending your scarce and valuable time on social media, make sure it matters in an important way for your organization.  Set goals and meet them.

4. Great content will matter EVEN MORE. Read John Haydon’s thoughts here.

By the way, John is absolutely right when he says: “The good news is that 99% of communication and marketing professionals are too lazy and uninterested in having real discussions with their fans. So if you have a sincere commitment to do this, the competition will be few.”

The headline is that following the good advice that’s been out there for a long time is no longer optional but essential.  Namely, with Facebook you now must really, truly focus on relationship-building, clear movement toward action and superlative content. 

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