In case you didn’t notice, Facebook is constantly tinkering with its functionality, features and tools. In many ways, it’s a good thing. They’re always working to improve the platform–to improve the “user experience.”
On the flip side, it makes it tough to keep up with all the changes when the social media giant is introducing an update, change or tweak every week.
Along the way, I know I’ve missed a number of key updates, only to realize them a few weeks (or in some cases a month or so) later.
I’ve learned to become a voracious reader of three blogs: The official Facebook blog, Inside Facebook and All Facebook (the unofficial Facebook blog). Keeping up with these blogs has allowed me to stay up-to-date on the latest goings-on inside Facebook-ville.
Recently, Facebook has rolled out some changes that might impact you and your work a bit more than you think. Take a peek–and pass it along to those who you think might be impacted:
* Facebook Questions. This feature isn’t live for everyone yet, but when it does go live it has the potential to change the way people source information on the massive platform. By giving users the opportunity to crowd-source answers to basic questions, this tool could actually revolutionize the way people interact on Facebook. For brands, the opportunity is pretty big, too. Think about common questions that pop up around your brand (not just product/service-specific, but questions relating to topics around your brand). You’ll have an opportunity to listen to those questions–and see how other fans, customers and users are responding (remember, Questions will be on Community Pages, too). And, you should have the chance to weigh in with information that may influence purchase decisions.
* Multiple users can now access advertising accounts. For bigger brands, I’m guessing this has been a big issue. You have an advertising account, but only the creator can access the account, create ads and monitor results. With this recent change, you can give multiple admins access to the advertising info–huge for teams who need back-ups and agency partners to get to that information.
* Threaded comments for multiple posts of the same link. Facebook recently added an interesting piece of functionality. Any time a number of your friends post the same link, it will aggregate the posts and show comments and likes in threaded form. What does this mean for brands? It should give users and brands a better sense for topics that are “trending” and which posts more fans are talking about.
* Facebook ads now show friend reviews. You know all about “endorsed” ads–or those ads that are “liked” by your friends. But, Facebook recently took that concept one step further and added friend “reviews” to the mix. With a five-star rating framework now in place, not only can you see if friends like a brand page, but you can also see specifically how they feel about the brand, product or service. Especially helpful with retail products and service-based organizations (think health care providers).
* No more boxes. Two potentially huge changes for brand pages will take effect the week of Aug. 23, according to Facebook. The first, the removal of “boxes” for brand pages. Typically, this means those boxes brands have inserted on the left-hand-side of Wall pages. These sometimes include policies or rules. If your page does have a box on the left-hand-side, consider moving that content to the Info tab or a custom tab. Secondly, Facebook is also changing the width of its custom tabs to 520 pixels. What does this mean? If you’ve created a custom tab, you need to change the width to 520 pixels–period. With all the FBML custom tabs brands are employing, this change affects more pages than you might think.
Note: Photo is courtesy of Franco Bouly via FlickR Creative Commons.