But remember, most people don’t like change (at first). They have to warm up to it.
Many of Facebook’s changes are good. They didn’t take away any features you used to have. Instead, they’ve given you more options, helped organize your friends, allowed you to see what friends are posting in real time and have helped eliminate some of the spam you receive.
Personally, I like most of the changes. However, since so many people are still trying to figure it out, I thought I’d write a blog about all of these modifications. Let me know what you think.
This is probably the most visible change and it’s a lot like Twitter. The ticker shares posts as they happen.
In the past, there was a time gap between conversations. You might post on your wall, and hours/days could go by before someone sees them. Now, you’re able to respond to a friend’s post right away without ever hitting the refresh button.
As a post comes through, you can hover over an item to preview it in larger detail and decide if you want to engage the person in conversation.
For marketers, you’re more likely to get a response and make a closer connection when you connect to a friend while they’re still online instead of hours after they posted a message (and they’ve already moved on).
People should embrace the ticker. In the past, your news feed was a lot like playing phone tag. Someone posted a message to Facebook, you might respond an hour later after the person was offline and they may or may not reply to it (or even see it) if hours/days have gone by since they’ve logged in.
Most people don’t like the ticker because it’s constantly updating on their screen and users find it distracting. If it really bothers you that much, there are Google Chrome extensions you can use to hide it, but I don’t recommend it. My advice is to embrace it. You’ll get used to it.
The Subscribe Button
Facebook caps the number of friends you can have to 5,000. But let’s be real, if you have 5,000 friends, you’re really not close friends with all of them. We all know that people are using Facebook for marketing. And some people are just trying to see how many friends they can add to boast about their high numbers.
The subscribe button allows you to do two things:
- Fine-tune your News Feed – You can now choose how much you want to see from friends and others. The default setting is “Most Updates”. However, you must click on every friend to choose “All Updates”. (This is the one feature I don’t like…I think the default should be All Updates unless I choose otherwise)
- Hear from interesting people who aren’t your friends – The new subscribe button allows people to subscribe to your news feed (and you’re no longer forced to friend them). You’re notified when someone subscribes to your “Public” posts, but you don’t need to friend or approve subscribers. The subscribers receive your “Public” posts automatically, unless you’ve chosen to not all people to subscribe to your posts. The subscribe button allows you to better market yourself and build interaction. Note: Only people who allow subscribers will have a subscribe button on their profile. On your profile page, click on “Allow Subscribers” to enable this function.
The “New” News Feed
The option to view “Top Stories” or “Recent News” has not gone away. Now, you simply see the “Top Stories” first in your news feed and you have to scroll down to see the “Recent News”.
Now it’s more important than ever to post interesting and relevant content in order for people to comment or like it so that appears in Top Stories. Otherwise, it may be missed. You can always hover over the top left corner of a post to mark it as a top story. Top stories are identifiable by a blue triangle over the top left corner of each new post.
Keep in mind, photos matter a lot! They stand out more and are considered more important content.
In addition, you now have more options for a person than just hide or block. Hover over a person’s post to decide whether to Unmark as top story, Hide story, Report story as spam, Unsubscribe or Subscribe (to all updates, most updates or only most important updates).
Facebook took your friends and organized them for you into Smart Lists. Your friends are all still there and so are any lists that you’ve created to organize your friends in the past.
Smart Lists can help you eliminate non-targeted marketing and only send content out to people who will care about seeing it.
For all you marketers, people can’t see what lists you have them in so make sure you organize all your friends so you’re not spamming them to death. Consider organizing them by current clients, past clients, friends, family, co-workers, school friends, etc.
New Privacy Settings
Facebook has made this much easier. You can control: Information people share about you, information that you share to people, and whether people can connect to you.
You can also control:
- How you connect (for example, who can send you personal messages…eliminate spam from people you don’t know)
- What happens when friends tag you or your content
- What gets shared with apps, games and websites
- The audience for posts you shared with more than friends
- The people and apps you’ve blocked
You will soon have the ability to create a timeline on your profile. It’s a great opportunity (marketing or otherwise) for people to get to know you through photos, milestones and experiences in your past.
You’ll have a “timeline cover” picture (which is the larger billboard-style picture) and a “profile picture” (which is the smaller inset picture). Note: The ideal size for the timeline cover picture is 849×312 pixels.
I recommend you take time to add images and comments of your life events such as your college graduation, wedding and children, when you got your real estate license, sold your first home, established real estate team, joined BHGRE Metro Brokers, when you sold your first 100 homes, etc.
The timeline has not been officially rolled out yet. It’s supposed to roll out today and slowly over the next two weeks. However, you can go to http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/22/how-to-enable-facebook-timeline/ to activate yours now.
Tip for Realtors: Send a picture of your clients in front of their new home to post to their Facebook timeline.
Future Facebook Changes?
It would be really interesting if Facebook added timelines to business pages. There’s no word yet if this will be rolled out, but I anticipate it will be in the near future. People like to see the story behind a business/brand.
There’s also been a nasty rumor about people having to pay for Facebook. The company’s response – NEVER! In fact, on their sign up page, they added “It’s free and always will be”.
What do you think of all of Facebook’s changes? Leave a comment below.
Note: I'd like to say a special thanks to my friend Melanie Stofka for letting me borrow the image.