It’s been about one week since the mandatory transition for all Facebook pages for brands to the new Timeline format, and for many marketers, this change can throw a monkey wrench into a steady and reliable online presence. Once you get beyond the initial shock of the new style, however, marketers and brands will discover a plethora of new tools and features that will allow them to better utilize their Facebook presence as a true engagement hub, and convert more customers along the way.
First – the Insights platform has been expanded with new analytical data that can help Facebook brands understand the impact of their posts and content to their social network. Friends of Fans are exactly what it sounds like – an approximate total of the number of friends that your fans have. As your page gets new fans, this will grow, allowing you a potential new audience to be introduced to when fans engage your content. Virality is a closely related metric that measures people who shared or passed on your content; knowing what clicks with your fan base is essential to determining what is of value, and what future content should consist of.
The moderation blocklist is a great feature for pages that often find themselves targeted by spammers, competitors, or bad PR. Page owners can set up specific terms that won’t be published by visitors to the page, and set a profanity filter as well. This is a smart tool to help keep upset posters from feeling censored or discriminated if a post they make is deleted by a moderator.
My favorite new feature is the activity log. As the name suggests, this feature lists updates that the page makes (including comments and questions) in chronological order. For brands that often find themselves promoting the same products and features regularly, they can review the exact copy they’ve used for each update, and see how the fan base reacted.
It’s a great start to encouraging more genuine engagement for Facebook brands, and seems to specifically target pages that are just there because they feel that they need to be. As it stands now, there are better management tools for a full scale social presence, and Facebook needs to implement the following to compete:
- Allow for team management and tracking - Many brands and companies have a staff or assistance updating and maintaining their Facebook page. A “manager mode” allowing stats for what staff is posting specific content, as well as segmenting engagement per staff member would help bigger brands use Facebook as an enterprise solution
- Make the Twitter Integration less spammy – Currently, the integration tool allows for one-way posts from Facebook à Twitter. Brands with a big social strategy are already using tools that allow for posting to both. This feature should be as robust as others like Spotify and Foursquare that take advantage of timeline.
- Allow deeper demographic targeting – I don’t expect Facebook to ever include the targeting tools that are available to advertisers, but anything beyond Country and Language would be useful. Ideally, age would be the best first start.