Changes to Facebook make it less useful for brands

In chapter 22 of Engage, Brian Solis talks about how important it is that Facebook is your social homepage. The incredibly wide audience that is on Facebook (as of October 4, one billion people use Facebook), it has become the place to connect to the widest possible audience. So it follows that businesses ought to use their brand pages as the number one destination of interacting with fans online.

Not anymore.

With the major changes to Facebook’s timeline and newsfeed, brands are finding it harder than ever to engage with their fans. Features previously touted as the unique drivers of engagement on Facebook are suffering from the new interfaces being rolled out. That is not to say that the opportunity no longer exists. Rather, it is simply becoming harder to get in their faces. Facebook is doing this in part to generate more money; pay-to-promote.

Facebook is making these changes ostensibly for altruistic reasons:

“We’re continuing to optimize News Feed to show the posts that people are most likely to engage with, ensuring they see the most interesting stories. This aligns with our vision that all content should be as engaging as the posts you see from friends and family.”

Cynically, you can also argue that this allows Facebook to monetize potentially every post, from both businesses and casual users, something that their business model has lacked.

But what this really means is that now, more than ever, content is king. As fans are increasingly distracted by the ever widening circle of voices clamoring for attention, just shouting at your customers doesn’t build brand. Actively engaging and listening, in fact, doesn’t build brand either. Building your brand builds your brand.

So far, I have found Solis’ book informative, but lacking critically in this area. There’s lots of energy spent explaining why having a respectful conversation with customers (both current and potential) is important. Chapter 21 does an excellent, excellent job laying out exactly what a brand needs to anticipate for every step of a social program. But while he explains the strengths of different platforms and types of content, he does little to codify what is effective.

This information is available, though sparse. But knowing the kinds of content that get reactions, and what sort of content to put out there is as important (more important?) than just having a snazzy website.

What sorts of content do you find engaging? What have you posted that has gotten the biggest response?

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