Heads ups Facebook fans — a flurry of changes are rolling out at a rapid pace. Updates started about a week ago with improvements to Facebook’s Friends List, which now closely resembles options offered by Google+, making it easier to see more from people you really want to hear from and simpler to target specific messages to exactly those you want to reach.
The recent changes introduced include three features (1 update and 2 completely new ones) and FB is not done yet. These releases were sent to whet our appetite, it seems. Rumor has it Facebook is announcing a major redesign of the site is to be unveiled at its F8 Developers Conference next week. Stay tuned for details on that overhaul.
For now, here’s a rundown of the latest changes to Facebook:
When logging into your account, Facebook wants you to see things you’re most interested in, such as what your friends and family are up to. Improvements to Friend Lists and the addition of a new Subscribe button will help you see more of what you care about.
Friend Lists: Lists are not new to Facebook, but users have complained about how time-consuming it is to create and organize friends into lists and keep them updated. The improved Friend Lists function allows you to share a personal story with your closest friends & family—without co-workers, or worse your boss also reading the post.
- Smart lists – These lists can create themselves and stay up-to-date based on profile info your friends have in common with you–such as your work, school, family and city.
- Close Friends & Acquaintances lists – See your best friends’ photos and posts in one place, and see less from people you’re not as close to.
- Better suggestions – You can add the right friends to your lists without a lot of effort.
Friend Lists are optional. If you don’t like lists, you don’t have to use them Improved Friend lists will be available to everyone this week and rolling out on mobile over the next few weeks. Facebook would love to hear your feedback at facebook.com/ListsTeam.
Subscribe button: Now you can hear from people you’re interested in, not just friends. Click the Subscribe button on the Facebook page of your favorite journalists, celebrities, politicians, etc. and you’ll get their public updates in your News Feed. Not everyone will have a Subscribe button on their Facebook page, only those who allow subscribers will have a Subscribe button on their profile. If you don’t see the button, you can’t subscribe.
The new Subscribe button will enable you to do three things:
1. Select exactly what you want to see from people in your News Feed.
2. Allow others to subscribe to your posts.
3. Subscribe to people who are NOT your friends.
Find answers to more questions about the new Subscribe button here.
The Ticker: No more lag time in posts! The new Ticker feed, located in the top right corner of Facebook above the chat pane, shows the same stuff seen on Facebook, but brings your conversations to life by displaying updates instantaneously, as Facebook describes. Now you can click on anything in the Ticker, see the full story and jump into the conversation immediately, all while remaining on your Facebook page.
From a Marketing standpoint …
These upgrades and additions are good news to users, particularly businesses and organizations using Facebook to connect with customers and grow their bottom line. The latest Facebook features offer three main advantages for marketers.
1. Greater focus on personalization, offering greater ability to communicate more directly with customers.
2. Extended opportunity in social search, allowing the chance for your business to show up in web searches now that Facebook posts are becoming more public via Subscribe button.
3. Big step into real-time, providing immediate opportunity to reach out to customers, prompting them to act on promotions now.
As I mentioned earlier, these new features are just the beginning. It’ll be exciting to see what else Facebook has up its sleeve with the anticipated major site redesign to be announced next week. Check back & I’ll fill you in on what’s next.
In the meantime, I’d be interested in hearing what you think about these updates.
Further resources on what’s new to Facebook – check out HubSpot Blog