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Posted by Sean Corcoran on September 22, 2011
If there’s one thing Facebook is not afraid of, it’s change. Today at its annual F8 conference Facebook announced some dramatic changes to its platform. But this time it’s different. Why? Because the big social networks (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, and now Google) have traditionally battled over the social graph – your relationships in the digital world and how to help build and connect them, but now Facebook is laying claim to your life. Through its new Timeline feature that recaps in one fell swoop everything you’ve ever posted and lets you feature the highlights, along with its new apps that let you discover and share real-time experiences like watching movies and listening to music, Facebook is changing the social networking game. Of course you could argue that it was already acting as the online identity for many people, but this takes it to a whole new level.
This could also open up some big doors to marketers such as:
Of course these new opportunities won’t appear overnight and there will be plenty of challenges. Most marketers are already immature in their use of Facebook – being there for the sake of being there and adding little value for their fans. And you don’t have to have seen “The Social Network” movie to know Facebook hasn’t exactly been committed to marketers (though they are getting better at this). There’s also privacy, which Facebook has learned about the hard way. So getting data will continue to be a challenge. In addition, features like Timeline will take commitment from users, so it will take time for it to build up.
What does this mean to the interactive marketer? It means that Facebook’s importance in the marketing mix will grow significantly and as the primary owner of the platform for your brand, you’ll have to figure out how to leverage it. For now, focus on today’s Facebook, which is plenty complicated enough. Start by learning the nuances of the platform such as how its Edgerank algorithm affects who sees your posts (and maybe more importantly who doesn’t see your post) as well as how Facebook ads can increase the reach and sharing of your content. Then you can begin to do new things in an iterative fashion. Look out for new Facebook research that we’ll be publishing in October for more input and advice.
Of course we’re interested in what you think these new Facebook changes mean, too.