Keeping Up with Facebook: 2 New Tools to Know About
Facebook is always adapting the way that it presents user content, and one of the ways it does so is to constantly develop the way that Facebook Pages can be used for business. Though the changes tend to directly benefit Facebook itself, new features can also benefit the companies that are using Pages to promote their brands or products. Facebook seems to roll out something new at least once a month, and the furor has been about promoted posts and Page notifications.
The goal is always to interest the audience so that it will find value in what you have to say and keep wanting more. Facebook is continually fine-tuning its system so that end users have more control over what they see in their News Feeds. This means that any content that doesn't interest the user, and isn't paid for, won't be seen. The only way around it is to create great, unique content that is both relevant and attention grabbing. Here's how two new user tools -- Promoted Posts and Page Notifications -- work.
On Facebook, you have the option to “Subscribe” to users who may not be appropriate to directly add as a friend; perhaps a celebrity's personal page, or an acquaintance. Until recently, you could also Subscribe to your favorite Pages so that they would show up on your home page.
Facebook has removed this feature and replaced it with the option to “get notifications” from favorite Pages instead. A notification is exactly what it sounds like; Facebook will “notify” you when certain actions occur. The site does this in the form of a small red bubble in the upper left hand of your Facebook page. A notification may be related to a friend inviting you to a game, or in the case of a Facebook page, it will be related to an announcement or post that the page has recently published.
The option to "Show In News Feed" still exists, but this is a cleaner way to handle the urgency of the updates your audience may want to receive. Just because the user selects "Show In News Feed" does not mean that all of your Page posts will be seen. If you are creating fresh, quality content that users want to engage with and respond to, then they will want to receive notifications when you post an innovative idea or fun fact.
Businesses can encourage fans to get notifications. Direct them to your page, where they can mouse over the "Like" button. If the user already likes the page, they will see "Liked." If she drags the mouse over, on the hover she will be able to click "Get Notifications." Once you post, they will receive a notification about your content.
Promoted Posts are great ways for you to reach a larger audience as well as grab the attention of those fans you already have. Unfortunately, just because someone likes your page doesn’t mean they’ll see 100 percent of your content.
For a certain amount of money, designated by you, your important posts can show up higher in the News Feeds of your fans. If you have an important announcement, a contest, or just an awesome blog post you want to be sure gets read, you can use Promoted Posts to place your Page at the top of the News Feed on the home page for a set amount of time. Facebook allows you to start wherever you would like to in terms of price. (http://www.facebook.com/help/promote) The dollar factor will ultimately depend on the audience you are trying to reach, and how far away you are trying to promote geographically. From $5 or $50, you decide how important that post is and how long you want your audience to see it.
We don't need to tell you that Facebook is an essential tool for connecting with your target audience. Beyond the almost 700,000 Facebook users in Maine, there were nearly 155 million Facebook users in the USA as of 2011. (http://internetworldstats.com/unitedstates.htm) The chances for you to engage your previous customers and interest new ones are pretty high. Your customer and her Facebook friends could influence much of your target audience. If you can produce great content that your audience will consume, enjoy, and share, then you should have no problem getting your fans to want notification when you post more.
We recently posted a helpful blog with some detailed, essential tips on content generation and how you can have a bigger influence on Facebook. You can read more about that here.