We all know how popular Facebook continues to be, among all age groups and income levels. Pew Internet reported in January of this year that for the first time, more than half of all online adults 65 and older (56%) use Facebook. This represents 31% of all seniors.
In order to be successful on Facebook, you know that you need to be posting helpful and informative content, eye-catching and compelling visuals & photos as well as funny and entertaining videos. This is just Facebook 101.
In recent weeks there have been several announcements about features to the social network that you may not know about – features that could directly affect your marketing efforts.
So here are my 5 most recent things – some good, some bad, some both – that I bet you didn’t know about Facebook:
1) iPhone users have more control over their News Feed now.
On my birthday, July 9th, Facebook gave me a little birthday present – they announced that users are now going to be able to have more direct control over what they see in their News Feed.
This will have a HUGE impact on nonprofits and brands that use Facebook for marketing purposes. It may be a good thing, because previous iterations of the News Feed relied on Facebook’s mysterious algorithm EdgeRank to determine what showed up when you logged on.
Currently this update is only available to iPhone users. To activate it, go to the Facebook app on your phone, tab the “More” icon – in the lower-right corner of the News Feed. Then scroll to “News Feed Preferences” and select “Prioritize Who to See First.” Let me know what you think of this update in the comments!
2) Facebook controls the news. Literally.
Did you know that almost half of all Internet users in the U.S. use Facebook to find news about government and political issues?
In a study published last week, Pew Internet found that 63% of Facebook users say they use their accounts “to find and read articles.” Right now, EdgeRank (Facebook’s News Feed algorithm)determines the news content that you are most likely to read – and the more you click these same types of articles, or engage with these same sources, the more content you will see from those same Pages. Some people may like this, but it reduces the diversity and variety of news that you see in your News Feed, which in my opinion is a bit disconcerting.
Facebook also features a “Trending News” sidebar on the right of your screen where they post the most-shared news on the site at that moment. However, the Trending News sources tend to be stories by publishers using Facebook Instant (publishing directly inside Facebook). Publishers from all different walks of life and agendas are having issues with this filtering.
3) Native videos are the most popular content on Facebook.
You may have been told that photos or even links get the most reach and engagement – but the content that works best on Facebook is native videos. Native video just means a video directly uploaded to Facebook, rather than a link shared from YouTube, Vimeo, or another source.
Once you start uploading native videos, make sure your Page is using the Facebook Video tab. Within the Video tab, highlight a featured video that will be pinned to the top in an extra-large format! As an added bonus, this featured video can have text that includes hyperlinks and a dedicated comment stream. Mari Smith uses this kind of video feature for live webinars and Q&A sessions.
Facebook says that there has been an almost 400% increase in video published by Pages over the past year! So get with the program!
4) Just watching a video counts as an interaction.
Normally on Facebook, in order to count as “engagement”, a post must be liked, commented on, clicked on (if it’s a link) or shared. However, Facebook now recognizes that people may be watching videos passively but not actively liking or sharing them. In a recent blog post, they wrote:
For example, you may have found a video from a nonprofit you follow on Facebook to be really informative and you’re glad you saw it but it’s not something you felt inclined to like, comment on or share more broadly.
Interactions that they count and measure now include turning on the sound of the video and/or enlarging the video to full screen. Both of those actions, while somewhat passive, will indicate to Facebook that you are interested in that type of content, and they will use it to help determine future videos to display on your News Feed.
5) Soon you will be able to scroll and watch videos at the same time.
Feel like watching a video, but still want to scroll your News Feed at the same time? Facebook will soon be offering a feature that will let you pop out the video you are watching, so you can continue scrolling.
This is important for marketers because we will need to make our videos even MORE attention grabbing and enticing to Facebook users, to keep their attention!
In conclusion, Facebook looks like it is here to stay. While it is definitely not my favorite social network, it is vitally important to use it strategically to see results. Paying attention to the changes and the new features will help you stay ahead of your competition and make the best use of your time spent on the platform. Good luck!
How are you using Facebook for marketing? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
The preceding is a cross post by Julia Campbell, founder of J Campbell Social Marketing, a boutique digital marketing agency based in Beverly, MA. Julia received her degree in Journalism & Communications from Boston University and earned a Master in Public Administration from Old Dominion University as well as a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Tidewater Community College. A Beverly native, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, a mother and a social media marketing specialist, Julia helps nonprofits connect with supporters by effectively harnessing the power and potential of online marketing and social media tools. Julia’s clients include small community-based nonprofits and large universities. She also offers one-on-one coaching sessions, group seminars and college courses. Her blog was named one of the Top 150 Nonprofit Blogs in the world and she is included in the Top 40 Digital Strategists in Marketing for 2014. Julia has been featured on Maximize Social Business, About.com, MarketWatch, Alltop, Salon, Social Media Today, Forbes and Business 2 Community.