New, Improved Facebook - Better for Business?

Posted in Social Media Marketing by Sophie Wells

There are now over 1 billion active members on Facebook. That’s one seventh of the earth’s population, more than all of the people in Europe. If you are a business and you want to increase your marketing activity and you’re not on Facebook – then why the hell not?! And, if you are on Facebook already, don’t rest on your laurels, things are always changing... here's my run down of the latest updates that will affect your business.

The Graph Search Cometh

You may have heard of the recently launched Graph Search. We've been lucky enough to have a sneak peak as Tash is part of the beta testing group, much to the annoyance of Jon who isn't.

The idea of Graph Search is to provide users with a better search facility than Google provides. As a Facebook user, the results of any search you make will be based around what Facebook calculates to be most useful to you, based on where your friends have been, what they like and how close they are to you geographically. Apart from finding people you may know or browsing other people’s photos, it’s a great opportunity to advertise your business. If I want to find a restaurant in Bristol, the search will work like a search engine and bring up suggestions of places in the area but in addition, it shows me where my friends have been and what they thought of it. As a business, you need to be at the top of that search.

Graph Search - Bristol restaurants

Here's how.

    1. Optimise your Facebook Page. It is essential you tell Facebook what your business is about. Complete all the fields with as much information as sounds informative but not spammy. Make sure there is an address and phone number. Fill your business description with details of what you sell and what search term you want to be found for. This will all count when Facebook is deciding who to show in the search results.
    2. Make sure you have ‘Likes’. Real likes from real people (not ones you bought from a list who don’t really exist). If you have had a Facebook Page for a while but one that only your mum and best friend like, work on your marketing strategy. The more people liking your Page and interacting with it, the more likely you are to show up in the search results.
    3. Can people ‘Check-in’ on your page? This may sound like it’s not applicable unless you are a restaurant but other places can be visited too. Solicitors, shoe shops, swimming classes. Location is important; mention your location in your Page copy as well as your description so people searching know where you are. (Note: the Check-in facility is only available if you listed yourself and a local business. If you have described yourself as a company or organisation, this isn’t an option so don’t worry).
    4. Encourage people to rate you. The ratings come from Facebook not an external source so when people Check-in they may be offered the chance to rate the location when they leave. The more Check-ins you have, the more ratings you will have and the more likely you are to convince Facebook that your business is worth ranking.
    5. Make sure you have set up the right kind of page. You want to see something like this:
optimised Facebook page

SANITY CHECK! You want fans and people to ‘Like’ you, not add you as a friend. If your company is set up as a person not a page, you run the risk of having your business profile deleted and you are also missing out on a whole host of features that a proper Facebook brand page provides.

News feed layout

Have you noticed anything different in your News Feed? Does it look bigger, brighter, more interesting? The News Feed revamp is being rolled out so if you haven’t got it yet, you will soon. The main change is that images have become larger and feeds have moved from three columns to two giving more space for more prominent images. Photo descriptions are now shown within the image, drawing attention to the image rather than the text. They’ve made this change because almost 50% of News Feed content is in photos and visual content. Pictures are now more important than ever.
Facebook news feed snapshot
This gives a great opportunity for businesses to be more creative. Users are encouraged to use images as big as 600x600 pixels which mean the images dominate the Page. And that’s not just photos; remember you can use infographics, logos and videos too. Be aware that anything smaller than 200x200 pixels might not be shown so check the image size guidelines. In addition, Check-ins and Likes are more apparent encouraging more social interaction with users able to mark “top posts” to highlight them. So the more visual your post, the more likely it is to be seen and shared. Facebook Ads are also becoming more prominent (and in the summer may even become videos). This is great news for advertisers as their ads will be much more eye-catching. But will users suffer? Too much “in your face advertising” ruining the user experience? We’ll see!

Calls to action

We always advise our clients to think about how visitors to their website can proceed to the next step. How do they get in touch, request a call back, sign up for a newsletter? These are all calls to action and it’s important a visitor can see these easily. Well here’s some good news; Facebook now allows text on the cover photo so including calls to action is now an option. Use text to direct the visitor to a certain page on your website, to advertise a special offer or to promote an event. As long as you include no more than 20% text, you can add what you like, even discounts codes and URLs. A fantastic opportunity and generate more leads from Facebook!

These changes and updates may be frustrating when you have only just got your head around how your Page works but the internet is an ever evolving platform and Facebook is no different. It will always change, hopefully for the better and you need to stay on top of those changes if you want to maximise the business benefit.

Spotted something I've missed? Let me know in the Comments box below!

Sophie Wells
Sophie Wells

Any jobs Sophie hasn't done at Noisy Little Monkey aren't worth mentioning. Sophie blogs about marketing and stuff.

Meet Sophie Wells

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