On March 7, 2013, Facebook announced a new version of Facebook that will be rolled out over the coming weeks on web and mobile devices. The re-design will emphasize photos and links, and will allow users to pick and choose from multiple news feed options.
To find out how these changes could affect your club’s Facebook page, we spoke with Sarah Barrett, our social media expert.
CS: How will this change affect a club’s social media pages?
SB: Right now, a person’s Facebook news feed takes up about 40 percent of his or her home page, and the rest is often referred to as “clutter.” With the new design, the news feed will take up a much larger portion of the home page. So now, much of what companies share will appear larger and more engaging in their followers’ news feeds. To take advantage of this new design, high-quality, interesting and compelling photos are more important than ever before. Photos have long been the most engaging post a company can make — now, more than ever, your photos are important.
CS: What can clubs do to leverage this change for their benefit?
SB: In the past, if you post a link, it typically doesn’t receive much engagement from your followers. In the new design, however, the link image will appear bigger, along with the title and intro blurb. Clubs should be posting links periodically (not every day!) that drive followers to their blog or website.
Remember, Facebook attracts new leads for clubs, but a club’s blog, website or e-newsletter can turn leads into customers. Links can stand out with the new news feed design. So, focus on your link photo being interesting, and focus on your link title and intro being compelling. It must be short, but intrigue the reader enough with a “hook” so that he or she clicks through.
One more important note — with the news feed appearing bigger, ads and sponsored stories should also appear bigger, meaning they should perform even better. We should get a better feel for this in the next few months.
CS: Should clubs change what they’re posting?
SB: The answer to this question is the same as it was before the new design. If your “Talking About This” metric is below 6 percent of your total page likes, you need to change what you’re posting. Your goal should be for it to be 10 percent. This is the measure of how active and engaging your page is. The purpose of Facebook is to attract leads for your business, so you can turn them into customers. If your page isn’t engaging, you are not using Facebook to its full potential for your business.
CS: Overall, do you think the changes will be positive or negative?
SB: I think they will be good. The new design improves how content appears in the news feed, making photos more important than ever. With the huge popularity of visual sites like YouTube and Instagram, marketers know how compelling photos are to people. If you can master the strategies for marketing a great photo for your advantage, the re-design is going to be great for your club and business.
For more tips on how to make social media bring real value to your business, follow Sarah Barrett at www.facebook.com/SocialMediaSarah.