Monthly Archives: September 2011

New Facebook Overview, Explanation, & What it Means to Brands

While most people were at lunch last Thursday, we were glued to our computer screens watching f8 Live. We furiously scribbled notes while Mark Zuckerberg announced major changes to personal Profiles, the addition of new Apps and a new interface, and the expansion of the Open Graph. When “Zuck” as we lovingly call him, wrapped up the presentation and left the stage, everyone at the office spent the rest of the day discussing the implications of the changes to brand Pages.

As you read this, there are likely people at Facebook coding furiously to prepare the network for the next round of changes. The platform has now grown to 800 million members, and Facebook is preparing for an IPO. This will be the first of many changes, and as such, this will be the first of many blogs guiding you through.

New Facebook Vocabulary
Ticker
A real-time snapshot of what your friends are doing, whether it’s commenting on a photo, liking a status update, or listening to a song on Spotify. The ticker is constantly updating itself and any “lightweight” updates that Facebook does not believe have a place in the Recent Stories section of the profile, will be found in the Ticker. Updates made through the Open Graph will appear in the ticker. It is not yet clear how Facebook is weighing other types of content to decide what is worthy of appearing as a Story rather than appearing momentarily in the Ticker.

Timeline
The new profile, currently in beta testing mode for those who have opted-in to test it. It is a moving mosaic of the photos, videos, places and status updates that make up not just your Facebook profile, but in a way, your personality. Facebook wants to be a living scrapbook of your life, a collection of the places that you’ve been, the friends that you’ve made, and the pictures that you’ve posted – from birth to present. You can go back through the Timeline and add photos and information about your life BF (Before Facebook) so don’t worry if you were born prior to 2004, the year that Facebook was started.

Once installed, the current default settings for the Timeline are “Public” or “Private”. Some initial criticism has been voiced about how visible the Timeline makes all of your information, and many beta testers have expressed a desire to control who can see the timeline, in the same way that you can control who can see your status updates.

Open Graph
This is where developers build Apps that integrate into Facebook. The Open Graph allows users to share their activity without physically pressing a button, or pausing their activity to update a status. This means that a new Facebook permissions screen will appear when you first activate an app, making you aware of how they will share through your profile. Once the initial decision to opt-in has been made, Apps will no longer have to ask for permission to post content to your Facebook.

New Facebook and Privacy
Facebook is taking a pretty bold step here in assuming that people are open to sharing every aspect of their online lives with the world. While this may be a “generational thing” many in the tech community are starting to raise their eyebrows and clear their throats. The new, more flexible rules around collecting information through Apps is great news for marketers …but the benefits likely do not extend to the average user. By introducing the new sharing feature baked in to media Apps like Spotify and Hulu, Facebook has done an excellent job of introducing their new brand of medicine to users with the proverbial “spoon full of sugar.” Facebook is clearly moving full steam ahead with this new lax take on personal privacy and information, and it likely take some sort of intervention by the Federal Government to stop it.

It is vital to point out here that it’s not just Facebook – Google does it too.

New Facebook and Brands
Although the bulk of the changes to brand Pages have yet to come, there are a handful of significant changes that will impact the way that Pages need to be managed. Users no longer have to “Like” a Page to comment on the Page’s activity. This means that it is no longer necessary to be a fan of a Page in order to Like a photo in a photo contest, or write on the Wall. Monitoring a Page will become increasingly important, as will creating compelling content and building community to keep the Page lively.

When the new profile Ticker initially launched, Brand Pages saw an immediate drop in engagement that at some points appeared to be as high as 70% across the network. Engagement has begun to rebound but is still down about 20% network wide. While the aesthetic and functional changes that were implemented across the board for all Personal Profiles have yet to hit the brand Pages, they are coming. Without a set date from Facebook it is difficult to build out a timeline, but we are constantly monitoring the network for any hint of testing that could indicate long term changes.

Key Takeaways:
Content and Community

Until the average user adapts to the new interface and takes advantage of the available filtering tools, such as Lists, the network is going to appear very noisy. It will be harder for people to see your content. When it’s harder for people to see you, it is more important than ever that you give them a reason to seek you out. Community and Content, the basis of every strategy that we put together, are now more important than ever.

Mixed Media for Maximum Benefits

In the past filling your page with multiple different types of media was important. Now, it’s crucial. Facebook has declared “Media” as one of the four types of Apps that can be created with the Open Graph – the other three being Games, Communication, and Lifestyle. They are partnering with multiple media companies like Spotify, Hulu, and Color, in order to make the network the center of the media world. Photos are going to show up differently than status updates, and users are going to be trained to respond differently to a photo than they would to words.

Brand Actions and Behaviors

Now that users can engage with content on a page without first Liking the page, the content will need to be more focused on driving action. The platform is now optimized for sharing and storytelling, not broadcasting. The New Facebook is about giving people something that they’re truly interested in to engage with. It’s about providing people with something to read, something to interact with, and something to belong to.

All About Advertising

You don’t create a website and expect people to find it serendipitously – you advertise it. And now Facebook wants you to apply that same mode of thinking to your Page. If you want to be seen, they want you to advertise on their platform. In fact, it appears from our analysis that Facebook is now including Facebook Ads in their EdgeRank formula, which is used to decide how often your content shows up on the network. That means that by purchasing Facebook Ads, your content will have a better chance of appearing in the Recent Stories stream, increasing brand awareness and visibility.

***

Keep in mind, it’s going to take some testing to fully understand the impact to Brands and how to adapt to the New Facebook. We are currently testing out some new strategies to take advantage of the new interface – and we may even share some secret sauce with you in future blogs!

Now I’m going to go listen to Hanson on Spotify so that all of my Facebook friends know how awesome I am.

___________________________________________________________
When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys guessing what music Facebook employees will come out to during f8. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

Avoiding LinkedIn is Just Not Worth It

409,000 people filed unemployment claims this past week, a number that is down from last week, but still daunting (and does not include those that are unemployed and are no longer eligible to file). If you are in the process of looking for a job, are you doing everything to separate yourself from the pack?

Imagine your dream job’s HR manager sorting through the top resumes hoping to boil down to a solid 10 candidates for interviewing. If he or she is like many current HR managers, they probably decide to supplement their research by viewing LinkedIn profiles as a tool to learn more about the applicants…

Impressive profile and recommendations? They’re a yes.

What, no LinkedIn account!? Well…lets make them a maybe.

The scenario is not extreme. According to a recent survey, 86.6% of hiring managers use LinkedIn to narrow down applicants or to further research candidates before making a job offer. At this point, it is beyond a growing phenomenon; it is now a fully grown phenomenon, and transforming your profile into an “online resume” that sells your skills and accomplishments to a prospective employer is extremely necessary.

LinkedIn took almost a year and a half to reach one million members when it first launched 8 years ago; but their last million took only 12 days, and the reason is because it works. One case study refers to using LinkedIn as “putting your job search on steroids.” In truth, the professional job market is almost at a point where it’s considered taboo for an applicant not to have a LinkedIn profile. Employers are typically unwilling to hire someone that is “behind the times” or that is not taking your job-hunt seriously. So how do you make sure it’s done the right way? There are dozens of articles (this is one of my favorites) and even a “Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies” book dedicated to the subject.

A LinkedIn profile is almost considered the “pre-interview” to see if you even get offered an interview because employers are finally catching on to what consumers have been doing online for years. Before large purchases or deciding on the nicest restaurant, we judge their website, search Google, and browse reviews on UrbanSpoon and Yelp. It works both ways now because companies want to ensure their time and money isn’t wasted on interviewing and hiring the wrong candidate. Everything on an applicants profile is open to interpretation by a hiring manager. If there are inconsistencies in past experience, or typos and grammatical errors, no strong recommendations from connections, or if the profile photo is unprofessional, the applicant may be disregarded.

But before you start hating on how social media has made it easier for hiring managers to ignore qualified applicants just because of a simple online profile, consider taking a little bit of extra time to create an account or make your existing profile stand out for these reasons:

  1. LinkedIn is a great way to clarify and supplement a resume and cover letter with any extra supporting information not covered in those documents. For example, your college volunteer work may have not been relevant when submitting your resume, but some hiring managers would consider that a desirable characteristic of prospective employees.
  2. Many professionals have careers involving creative or technological aspects, and samples that can’t be included on a regular resume or application can be linked to or described in your profile.
  3. Those dreaded “letters of recommendation.” LinkedIn makes it so simple to request recommendations from your connections, and you better bet that prospective employers are looking at these.

And the best part is that LinkedIn is a two-way street. Applicants can research the company and its employees on LinkedIn just as much as the company can research the applicant. Find the right contact person, what background they have, their tenure, etc. Add them as a connection and send them a message. All of this can be potentially accomplished with a few minutes of research.

Long gone are the days when a job search required only a friendly referral or the Sunday Classifieds section and a highlighter. Finding the right career now takes networking, hours of searching online, and a little bit of extra time spent ensuring your resume and online profiles represent your best attributes. There are now dozens of resources to help your online job hunt, and learning how to utilize them properly can put you way ahead of the game.

409,000. Do what you can to avoid being one of them.

—–

Sharon Bell holds a degree in Journalism and spent several years in corporate communications. She is now a graduate student and content manager for Make Me Social who spends her free time playing roller derby.