A lot has changed in the world of Facebook since it redesigned Pages and Profiles with the introduction of Timeline at the start of last year.
But none of those changes have been more significant than the one that was announced this past week.
Facebook News Feed—one of the “three pillars of Facebook ecosystem” (next to Timeline and Graph Search)—is getting a major redesign and users have a lot to be excited about.
But what will this change mean for small businesses that rely on the site to connect and build relationships with customers, clients, and prospects?
Plus, find out which other social network tried to spoil the party with a redesign announcement of its own.
Read about these top stories and more in this week’s marketing news roundup.
At a press event held at Facebook HQ on Thursday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a much anticipated redesign to the site’s news feed. The redesign is a big one and could have a major impact on the way users and brands engage on the social network.
One of the most notable new features is the ability for users to filter content into different feeds. In addition to displaying all of the updates from friends and brands they’re connected to on Facebook, now users will be able to choose different feeds including:
- All Friends: Shows only posts from your friends
- Following: Shows posts only from Facebook Pages or people you “follow”
- Photos: The photo only feed will display photos that have been upload and shared on Facebook along with photos from Instagram and other photo sharing apps.
- Music: Shows what friends are listening to, new albums being released, and recommendations of artists you might like.
- Photos: Just photos, including those uploaded straight to Facebook, but also photos shared from Instagram or other photo apps.
In addition to the new multi-feed layout, news feed is also about to get much more visual. Photos that are shared on Facebook will be much larger in the news feed and shared links will display with more preview content than ever before. Videos will take up much more real estate in the news feed as well.
According to Zuckerberg, the redesign is “mobile-inspired” and should result in a more consistent user experience on laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
Want to learn more? We’ve compiled a list of popular articles from the week:
- Advertisers and marketers should love Facebook’s new feed — but they better refocus on being awesome (via VentureBeat)
- For Businesses, Facebook’s Redesign Means Bigger Ads, A Pages Feed, But A Friends-Only Section Too (via TechCrunch)
- 4 Ways Publishers Can Optimize for Facebook’s New News Feed (via Mashable)
- How can your business get noticed in the new Facebook news feed? (via @AzureCollier)
Bottom Line: The overhaul of Facebook News Feed was something that needed to happen—both for Facebook users and for business and organizations using the site to connect with their audience.
The news feed experience has been less than optimal up to this point. With more and more content being shared on the site, users have seen their news feeds become more and more cluttered in recent years. Even with EdgeRank, which is designed to manage the flow of information in the news feed, businesses are facing a lot of competition for their audience’s attention.
With the option to choose different feeds, users who are interested in following and interacting with their favorite local businesses and organizations should find it much easier to do so.
But possibly the most important aspect of Facebook’s most recent redesign is the continued focus on visual content. Currently, photos and videos make up 50% of the content in user news feeds. According to Facebook and a number of others studies, this is the type of content that generates the most engagement from users on the site. (Facebook says photos and videos can generate up to 120% more engagement than text-only posts.)
This is a reality that Facebook is well aware of. That’s why it’s putting this content front and center—gives an advantage to Facebook Pages who create and share more photos and videos, and an immediate disadvantage those businesses and organizations that do not.
Here are a few resources to help you get started:
- 17 Ways Small Businesses Can Use Pictures on Facebook
- Rich Media’s Guide to Getting the Most Engagement on Facebook
- How to Create and Find Engaging Content That Has Nothing to Do with What You Sell
- 25 Ways B2Bs Can Use Facebook for Brand Awareness
This week, a new study from CopyPress provided some interesting insights into the state of content marketing and the types of content are delivering the best results for businesses and organizations.
According to the study, featured articles are generating the highest ROI for marketers.
Here’s a look at the types of content with the highest ROI:
- Featured articles (62.2%)
- Video (51.9%)
- White Papers (45.6%)
- Photos (37.8%)
Overall the number of marketers considering “content marketing” a top priority in 2013 is up 34.8% from 2012.
Bottom Line: If you own a small business or handle the marketing for a nonprofit organization, it’s unlikely that “content marketing” means much to you. But content marketing is something you’ve likely already been doing for quite some time.
Content is all the assets you create when marketing your business—whether it’s snapping a picture and sharing it on Facebook, shooting a video and posting it to YouTube, or writing a blog post and sending it out in your new email newsletter.
It’s the stuff that allows you to do more than just sell to your target audience. It lets you show off your expertise, encourage customers and prospects to engage and share their feedback, and overall makes marketing a lot more enjoyable for you and your audience.
Not to be outdone by Facebook’s big announcement, Google announced this week that Google+ will be undergoing some changes of its own.
According to Google+ Product Manager Sara McKinley, there are three major updates that Google+ users need to be aware of:
A new tab for your local reviews: In addition to your photos, +1′s, and YouTube videos, there’s now a place for all your local reviews. Highlight your favorite restaurants, or hide the tab completely via settings—it’s completely up to you.
An easier way to edit your info: The “About” tab now consists of separate cards (like story, places, and links)—each with its own prominent edit link. As always: you can share specific fields with specific circles, or keep the information private.
Bigger cover photos, with a better aspect ratio: Cover photos are much larger than before (up to 2,120 pixels by 1,192 px), and they display in 16×9 when fully expanded. This way, more images can be used as cover photos, and there’s more room for your selection to shine.
Bottom Line: It looks like the most noteworthy change from this most recent update from Google+—if you own a small business—is the addition of a local reviews tab.
Local reviews are already one of the biggest benefits for small businesses on Google+. That’s because when someone searches for your business using Google+, these are the Pages that are given the most exposure. A Local Google+ page is different from a Google+ Business Page because it allows customers to easily connect with that business’s physical location. These are the pages where reviews are going to come up.
This week, LinkedIn introduced a new microsite designed to help brands get started with Company Pages.
The site is designed to be a resource for businesses—large and small—and provides step-by-step guidance for setting up your page, attracting followers, and building relationships for your business.
It also includes a Resources tab with tutorials and how-to guides.
Bottom Line: If you’re new to LinkedIn or have been thinking about setting up a Company Page for your business, this is a great place to start.
Company Pages will enable you to better tell your story on the social network and offers valuable features to showcase your products and services, find new customers and employees, and even get recommendations from people who already know your business.
Here’s a few resources we’ve put together for LinkedIn:
- How LinkedIn Can Help You Find Your Next Great Employee
- LinkedIn Gives Business Pages a Facelift [Speakeasy #19]
- So You’re on LinkedIn … Now What?
What do you think of the new Facebook news feed? We’d love to hear your feedback. Let us know below!