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5 Reasons Facebook Is Changing Completely And How To Make The Most Of It

There were two very interesting events happening today. First, Mari Smith posted an update, where she mentioned this:

The [Facebook] News Feed is *clearly* favoring posts and activity from friends and subscriptions (vs. fan pages) — it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get fan page content seen in the News Feed.

A few hours later, Pat Flynn posted something very similar, realising how little engagement he gets:

 I feel like I can do way better, although I am engaging a lot. Most of my posts, although I have 16k+ fans, get shown to less than 50%…sometimes 30%.

And yet, how powerful Facebook is to get the return you expect shows the fact that 3 out of 4 minutes spent on Social Networking happen on the platform. The thing is, it might just not be the fan page, that will get you these results.

Here are 5 reasons why I think the old dynamics of Facebook most likely no longer work as well:

1.) Posts from subscriptions clearly favored over Fan Pages

“People like to engage with faces, not logos.” That’s a marketing sentence as old as I am probably. And it is more true than anything when it comes to Facebook. Not only Mari Smith or Pat Flynn have observed much less engagement on their Facebook updates.

The fact that Facebook clearly favors posts from friends and subscriptions versus Fan Pages is a big wakeup call I believe. Personally, since I have started to work on getting subscribers, engagement on my posts has gone up significantly.

And not only on Facebook. I could see that traffic to my personal blog and for any other blogposts I have published as links on Facebook has gone up too.

A great example here is Pete Cashmore versus the Mashable fan page. With 230,000 subscribers, he has ⅓ of Mashable’s 750,000 fans. Yet, each of his posts gets double the engagement compared to Mashable’s posts:

If anything, I believe that starting to build up your subscribers and posting relevant and interesting updates will be my key focus in 2012.

 

2.) Facebook Timeline – start telling your story

Surprisingly, not all too many people have turned on the new Facebook timeline yet. You can just head to this page and get it in a few seconds, I think it is well worth it.

What’s most interesting is the idea and vision Facebook has with this feature. It’s best expressed in the tagline Facebook gave this feature:

“Tell your life story with a new kind of profile.”

Yes, it’s all about stories. Stories are what trigger engagement. Stories are what make people clicks like, comment and share. And Facebook is betting big on it.

There are a few simple tips I would look out for when switching on timeline, so it is optimized for more new subscribers and easy browsing:

  • Pick an interesting cover picture, that is friendly and represents you well.
  • There are 4 boxes you can decide to be shown: I would go for Friends, Photos, Map, Subscribers
  • You can change these with the dropdown menu on the left and pick any other things you want to show. I believe these 4 have the best impact as they allow others to get a quick overview over what you are up to.
  • Check your “info” section on the left, it might need some updating. This is another chance to make others feel comfortable reading about you, as they know who you are.

 

3.) Facebook subscribe button

The Facebook subscribe button works very similar to the Twitter follow button and is extremely powerful I believe. Whilst it is so new, I haven’t seen it around a lot and we are also yet to implement it for the Buffer blog here.

Here is how it looks like for the Buffer guys.

For Joel:

 

and me (Leo):

 

The results I have seen from putting it on my own personal blog have been fabulous. It can give you a huge boost in new subscribers and even just a few dozen, already made a huge difference.

Have you tried placing the Facebook subscribe Button on your blog yet? You can get your own easily from here.

Top tip: After testing the subscribe button on my own blog, I found that if you have “show pictures” turned on, new subscribers would increase a lot faster.

 

4.) Facebook commenting system

Here is an interesting one I am yet to test out for myself. The Facebook commenting system has been out for about 1 year now, yet Disqus and Livefyre are the ruling commenting systems still.

In theory the FB’s commenting system could solve a lot of problems. Starting with spam, trolling and simply knowing who you are talking. It is also a big win for traffic to your blogposts. The “also post to Facebook” box is ticked by default and can help you get a lot more engagement very easily.

Whilst this seems very promising, there aren’t too many blogs around that have it installed. Personally I think this might change and I am tempted to test it out myself for our blog.

It may just be that the power of the profile and subscribe button needs some more time to be established, before the FB commenting system makes more sense.

 

5.) That little box on the top right

Yes, I wasn’t quite sure how to call it. The box on the top right, where I used to see friend suggestion has been replaced with subscribe suggestions. At first this seems quite harmless, yet I believe it is incredibly powerful.

You now have the chance to be a suggestion for other users to subscribe to. That’s huge. It is no longer friend suggestions, which were limited to people that were connected with you. It can be anyone. This new openness from Facebook is something a lot will still have to get used to. And I believe over time this will gradually make more and more sense.

The interesting part is, it only takes a few hundred subscribers to make the list, that can potentially expose you to thousands of new people to follow your status updates

It is free advertising for you and your brand and your thoughts. It’s something that trumps a fan page on top of everything else again.

 

Are you ready to focus on subscribers instead of fans?

Yes, you are right, for a lot of people that is hard pill to swallow. Many have built their fan base to thousands of people and now they shouldn’t focus on them anymore?

But hey, this is great! It is a new opportunity for all of us. Most will start at zero, which is tough at the to begin with, but since it is all at the very start, it can become one of your most powerful establishments on the web.

The bigger picture of this for me, is that it is all about people and personal interaction again. Logos, brands and company names are put in the second place.

Are you ready to get Facebook subscribers and dumb trying to get more fans? Or will this pass and fans will stay relevant?

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