How Facebook’s Close Friends Feature Can Affect Your Brand’s Wall Posts

Close Friends Feature on Facebook

Close Friends On Facebook

 

Have you stumbled across the Close Friends feature on Facebook? It appears as an alert as you log in to your Facebook profiles. A very welcome feature indeed considering large networks of friends one gathers over time. With friends of friends, work acquaintances, random people, far off relations, absolutely unknown people and all of their status updates filling up your wall, Facebook as a true friends’ network was not serving at its optimal best. A chance to see only posts from significant few who matter the most is a welcome change.

Jump to Close Friends on Facebook

Jump to Close Friends on Facebook

So here’s what the Close Friends Feature does. It suggests and allows you to star the select few friends whose updates you want to know about the most. What’s even better, these friends will not know you tagged them, so this is a little secret between you and Facebook’s backend program.

Close Friends Suggestions

Close Friends Suggestions

You can change and alter this list whenever you want. Everytime you open the Facebook page you can select the Close Friends option and see only news feeds from them.  Essentially Facebook has taken its `lists’ feature and taken it a step further making it simple and quick for users to follow who they want to the most and minimizing the clutter.

What does this mean to posts made on Brand Pages ? Currently the wall posts made by brands on their brand pages go into the news feeds of the fans that have `Liked’ them just as the status updates of those in the friends networks of their fans appear. Once the Facebook user opts for the Close Friends option however, they will see only the posts made by these close friends! In other words the status updates or wall posts made by brands are likely to never get seen at all by Facebook members because they can only select `Friends’ or `People’ and not pages or groups that they follow!

So time for Facebook to introduce a ‘Pages I Follow’ listing, that will enable users to also track the brand posts they would like to see. This will not only be user friendly, but will really help to give better visibility of brand posts to serious fans.

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Online Consumer Behaviour – Content Planning for Different Digital Touch Points

Consumers behave differently at different digital touch points. The reason why they visit a brand website, and why they follow a brand on twitter can be very different. Planning content by clearly understanding the visitor’s mindset at different digital touch points can help to establish a meaningful connect with them and fostering a long term relationship. Here’s a quick guide to the Internet user’s digital media psyche:

Online Consumer Behaviour

Users on different digital touch points consume content in each for different reasons

The Website Visitor
Is proactively seeking info in your brand domain

  • This visitor has landed on the website primarily when searching for content or seeing a relevant recommendation or post that links to your website, or has come to the website knowing the url (may be a repeat visitor).
  • Is seeking immediate answers if the visitor has come from a search engine, or is curious to know more about you if the visit is not via a search engine. Repeat visitors come for a specific purpose of information seeking or engagement (such as dabbling with an online app or engaging in a forum).
  • Can engage further in the website if her query is addressed and there is relevant and/or engaging content.
Facebook Logo

Users on Facebook Chance Upon Updates

The Facebook Visitor
It Is The Brand That Is proactively reaching out to this user

  • The consumers here are hanging out to check latest updates from friends, family and acquaintances.
  • Chances upon brand updates, comments and likes if relevant, shares when compelling. Sharing happens when the content is Fun/ Informative / Relevant to immediate circle
  • Clicks to know more, visits the URL when relevancy or engagement is meaningful and there is a ‘need’ for such further engagement
Blog Sites

Blog Readers Want Expert Opinion

The Blog Reader
Is proactively seeking an informed opinion of another consumer or expert

  • Reads up a post when she is searching for information, and/or has subscribed to a favorite blogger’s feeds
  • Prefers a second opinion and usually would scan 2-3 blogs before deciding whose opinion is best suited.
  • Would usually scan blog comments before deciding / making the final choice.
  • Is usually someone to whom word-of-mouth or recommendations counts the most.
Forums

Forum Users Seek Peer Opinion

The Forum Subscriber
This user wants mass opinion, what peers have to say.

  • Usually visits a forum via search, may frequent thereafter
  • Possibly wants to ask a question, get opinions.
  • Reads discussions by others
  • May get answers or make an opinion/choice even without posting a query
Twitter

Twitter Users Follow For Updates

The Twitter Follower
Is proactively following to be updated in the subject

  • Twitter has many inactive, and equal number of hyper active tweeple and the occassional users.
  • There are some who are on twitter with a specific agenda: Save time by following people whose tweets give quick relevant updated information
  • Tweeple usually follow more than one area of interest
  • Reaching them is not always easy due to the rapid updates in tweets

However, visibility on twitter can be enhanced by following trending topics, being crisp and juicy, getting the right people to follow you with relevant hashtags, and targeting the right follows.

Linkedin

Linkedin Users Seek Career Advancement

The LinkedIn User
This consumer is seeking ONLY career or business advancement

  • The LinkedIn user is very specifically looking at making a career advancement, getting deals, networking, improving visibility
  • Will join groups that will give relevant networking opportunities or content that will better their career in some way.
Youtube Logo

Youtube Visitors Seek Visual Info/Demos

The Youtube Visitor
Wants entertainment, visual explanations, demos, how to’s

  • Users watching videos online are likely to have opted for video content when searching for related information
  • Or has been forwarded the link
  • Or is specifically seeking video content directly on Youtube for visual relay of similar information that has been read, unless it is entertainment related.
Search Engines

Audience Is Searching For Domain-related Info

The Search User
Proactively seeking your domain information

  • Is specifically seeking information
  • Tries out 2-3 links or more on first search results
  • Finds different combinations of keywords to refine searches till she gets a satisfactory answer
  • Is likely to spend more time searching for the right information, than done on looking up that information!
  • Is also likely to explore related information and content
Mobile Search

Mobile Search Users Are In A Hurry

Search Users On Mobile
Is in a hurry!

The context of searching on the mobile phone is usually on the go, urgent and also a matter of convenience.

Mobile & Tablet Users
On the move, wants quick info, utility tools & engaging apps

  • More savvy users, and the ones with smart phones use the mobile phone for everything: FB, Twitter, Search, Email, etc.
  • Such users also install and play around with applications that are useful, fun or relevant.
  • The tablet owners, smaller in number, but a significant group and an influential audience does all of the above on tablets.

If you plan to use multiple channels on the web to disseminate your brand information, then customizing or fine tuning your content by understanding the customer mindset in each of these channels can help in the forming of long term engagement and loyalty, as well as recall. And remember less is more!

How The New Facebook Timeline Can Affect Your Brand Page

Another Facebook update and this one can send brands into a tizzy. You have a whole lot of re-learning to do. The guidelines get updated as we speak. Some content was last updated on February 29 2012, and some other on March 6 2012.

We have tried to simplify it here. Read on.

The Welcome Page No More

When a new interested and potential fan lands on a brand page it is currently a Welcome page with a ‘Like Us’ call for action. Once the user hits `Likes’, he is auto-directed to the next landing page, or the wall as per a brand’s preference.


The new Facebook Timeline brand page does not have a Welcome landing page option. This might become a single largest deterrent to how many new fans you are able to generate. Of course only time and new creative means will actually determine the nature and extent of impact. BC Web Wise has just shifted our own Brand Page to Facebook Timelines.

The New Brand Page

By default, whether or not a visitor has liked your page, they can view your brand’s wall content when they land on it. So not just the header but all the content they can view below it becomes important now.

"facebooktimelinebrandpage"

bcwebwise brand page on facebook timeline

The Welcome Tab

The welcome page is a small tab below the main header and can be missed. Further when opened, it no longer opens in the same Facebook layout grid that it used to. So you will now have to reposition how you have the ‘Like Us’ call for action positioned there. But disappointingly for the visitor once they have liked your welcome page there is no transition that happens, so they will wonder why they reached there. You may want to consider doing away with the Welcome page now, or using it more innovatively with much more content that! Check the way Coca Cola has used it

Coke Welcome Page on Facebook

Customized Welcome Tab renamed as Home by Coca Cola

Cover Photo – Key Branding Area

The Welcome page is now replaced with a static header on your brand page. You can put a Cover Photo here. This is the area that can be used as creatively as one can. The key objective should be how you can use it to get visitors to like you and follow you without saying as much, because Facebook Guidelines have strictly specified you cannot have such messaging on the cover photo.

Contests & Applications

So now that we do not have a Welcome page, you may want to use the new header area to do this promotion. The Facebook guidelines (as updated on 6, March, 2012) do not specifically comment on whether you can do this or not. So we can safely assume that a static message talking about an application or contest can be done so long as all the other Facebook guidelines are adhered to.

However, the area that needs to now be most creatively used is where the tabs appear. The 135 x 95 pixel jpg file will now become very critical. It is here that you can generate a fan following as the user has to ‘Allow’ your application to access their profile to use the application.

bcwebwise brand page tabs

bcwebwise brand page tabs

The Status Updates

The earlier vertical update of latest status messages had its own advantages of being simple to view and follow. The new page layout, now allows for better graphic display, it does look much better visually therefore it encourages multi-media in the form of videos or photographs. So get ready to use your image and video bank.

More Features

There are more features that are still to be tested thoroughly. There is an option to ‘Highlight’ certain status updates or wall posts, so they are larger in size than the others.  There is an option to ‘Pin’ certain posts so they will stay on top of the page.

There is also an interesting feature from a user perspective. When they visit your brand page, they can see the significant activities or post around your brand made by someone from their friends list. This is good for brands with existing followings that are large. But those that have fans that are fewer in number the number of such interactions may be very less or non-existent.

To Sum It Up

The key thing we do not like about the new Facebook Timelines for brands is that it does not allow you to prompt fans to like you, and second that it does not have a rich-media option for the cover photo.  But as change is a constant Facebook should be addressing some of these concerns that will benefit its users and advertisers.

The brand pages on Facebook are going to change on March 31, and that is very little time to try and test everything on a new page particularly with guidelines that are getting updated as you read. So get set go!