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How Facebook’s New Friends List Can Help Your Business

How Facebook’s New Friends List Can Help Your Business image facebook like buttonCompetition breeds innovation. Witness the effect Google+ is having on Facebook. The latest “change” to how Facebook operates is a direct response to the Circles function of Google+. (I know, Facebook won’t admit that but the timing is pretty amazing, doncha think?)

I’m not going to get into the “hows” of this change because Ben Parr from Mashable does an excellent job explaining it here.

One change struck me as a potential boon to business pages. If you sort your Friends into “Close Friends” and “Acquantaniences” you will affect how often you see their updates in your news feed. Close Friends will appear more frequently and your acquaintances will appear less so. That potentially frees up space in the news feed for your business page posts.

This is a huge opportunity! If the studies are to be believed, roughly 90% of your followers NEVER visit your page once they like you. Their primary method of engagement is via your posts that appear in their news feed.

(Momentary sarcastic tangent – isn’t it ironic that in the precisely monitored digital world we’re still not sure exactly how people engage with Facebook business pages? Could this just be a clever ploy to sell more ads? Nah…)

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This won’t happen overnight. As with all Facebook changes – assimilation takes time. Many will ignore this function completely. But, those that use this function are more likely to pay attention to what is transpiring on Facebook.  These active users are more likely to read and respond to your content.

How do you use this knowledge for your benefit? Two suggestions:

1. Audit your content. Are you delivering great, interesting, audience relevant stuff on a regular basis? You can judge that by checking your analytics to see if people are liking, commenting or walking away.

Are you delivering on expectations? People like your business page because you are offering them something they value. Studies show that the #1 reason someone likes your business is they want a deal. But, every business is different. Some have a more emotionally involved community than others.

Someone does not like a dry cleaner’s page because they love the smell of acetone. They are looking for helpful cleaning tips and deals. On the other hand, a music venue has the potential to create an emotional connection because it is a cool place that features music i like. in that case, the fan base could be looking for backstage stuff, upcoming events….and deals.

2. Post More Often! As I wrote here, there are differing theories on how frequently you should post on your Facebook page. It’s safe to say that once a day is the floor. How often you post beyond that depends on what you have to say. To me, if you can deliver relevant, interesting content that meets your fan base’s expectations why not post as often as possible?

While the new Friends change opens up news feed real estate, you are still bound by the half-life of the post. People may like you on Facebook but they are not hanging on your every word. So, that 10AM post may be well down their news feed when the check it after lunch.

As with all Social Media – your mileage may vary. What works for one brand or business may not work for you. that’s why you have to try, listen and evolve your techniques.

There is no magic bullet to Social Media success. But, every day we learn something new that helps us refine our practices. This is just another opportunity.

Thoughts?

Steve Allan, Social Media Specialist, SMThree

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