Facebook Getting Better for Business?

3rd Dec, 2010

Since the summer Facebook has gone into overdrive adding new features and services as a means to keep users further engaged with its platform. These features have included Places, Credits, Skype integration, Email, Groups, more attractive layout for existing features such as photos, and even made users more in control of their privacy settings. This raft of features change how we interact with the social network, making users more dependable on it to communicate with others. Although some have yet to launch here, it’s the pace of these changes that have been breath taking. This is in some way due to the prospect of increased competition from Google in the not to distant future. After all, if one social network provides everything we need why would we change?

While the last six months have focused on the customer, to lock them into using the service, Facebook now seem to be turning their attention to businesses. Its the people that Facebook need to secure first, then the money will follow. From developers, to small businesses Facebook is now looking to keep you using its platform.

Getting Better All The Time

One of the biggest complaints of the Facebook network in the past has been the lack of communication from Facebook to those who use its platform for marketing. Up until recently Facebook would introduce a change without any notification – become a fan, became ‘like’ overnight, landing tabs disappeared and only re-appeared due to an uproar from users. Facebook now openly acknowledge how bad they were. But they are getting better.

Recently I looked at how Impressions and Feedback are now available on every post, and how business could use them to improve effectiveness of the marketing. A small change but one that could lead to more ways of measuring how posts are viewed. Operation Developer Love is their PR campaign to communicate more effectively with developers, especially in dealing with bugs on the platform. They have launched a raft of pages on business areas offering resources in marketing, influencing, pages and ad’s amongst others.

Facebook Promotions

One of the biggest issues on the Facebook platform have been the guidelines to running promotions and sweepstakes (or competitions). Previously they required approval from Facebook with at least seven days notice. Earlier this week Facebook did away with the need for approval, and the need for a minimum advertising spend in order to support the promotion. This allows businesses to set up campaigns that could cost as little as the prizes given away to run. There’s still many other guidelines that must be adhered too, but at least one hurdle has been removed. In reality this was an impossible rule for Facebook to administer, they only have a certain amount of staff and how many millions of pages out there?

Import An E-Mail List

This is another small but effective change from Facebook. From today you can import a list of email contacts to notify them about your page. So maybe you have an email list of customers who may or may not know about your page. Import them using this feature and Facebook will notify those who aren’t fans about your page. The feature is available in edit settings – marketing – tell your fans.

New Advertising Options

A post over on highlights some new advertising formats that are currently being tested. These new ads are like newsfeed items that surface organically, but get featured in the sponsored adverts section.

Inside Facebook also report a similar type of new advert that features a link, profile picture, name of a friend and any comments they might have included. These ad’s would only appear in the networks of those who have liked the content. Facebook users see likes of friends as recommendations or endorsements. These ads pack an incredible social punch to the viewer, by taking that endorsement right to them and placing it in a location where they will see it. Compelling to say the least. They best resemble a placed newsfeed story, since there is no advertising copy to speak of the text is taken from a newsfeed item posted by the friend. No doubt these are in test mode to identify any issues such as privacy when or the prospect of an advert being hijacked to promote anti-brand messages.

While Facebook is a difficult platform at the best of times, changes for the better are certainly welcome. Any difficulties encountered with using Facebook are offset by its number of users, its potential viral aspect and the marketing opportunities facebook presents. It’s all a step in the right direction and makes things easier for us using the platform on a daily basis for business. Give it another six months and lets see how many more changes for the better Facebook make.