Status update: Facebook changes rules, againWritten by Kevin Cesarz | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook fan page owners have some work to complete before the end of the month.
Facebook, the beloved social media channel that blends paid media (advertising) and earned media (conversation on content), is an ad network powered by a deluge of data you donate every day.
This powerful contextual ad network gets eyeballs, and if you want to connect your brand influencers and ambassadors with other people, it’s perfect.
But Facebook needs a better ad canvas and has announced that fan page owners will be automatically upgraded to the new timeline-style by March 30. Here’s what anyone with a fan page or business page needs to know:
- New banner canvas image size is 851 pixels by 315 pixels.
- New tabs are 810 pixels wide (520 pixels was the old mark).
- New tabs icons are 112 pixels by 75 pixels.
- Page owners can pin a post to the top of a page for up to seven days.
- Page administrators can hide or delete posts via the activity log.
The great thing about Facebook is the large number of unsolicited recommendations and general comments on brands and business. But because there are plenty of savvy online users who don’t know the difference between paid and natural search placement, Facebook is now soliciting “stories” to push into your view.
“Sponsored stories” will be built around user interactions with your brand. Sponsored stories are the same type of content that already appears in the main news feed, only now brands can guarantee these posts are visible, with promotion to a position on the right side of the page. Sponsored stories follow the same pricing as Facebook ads.
Facebook, which had revenues of $3.7 billion in 2011, added sponsored stories to the main news feed in 2011. The company said that these ads would be clearly marked “sponsored” so as not to confuse them with other stories.
Facebook then changed its mind and decided to call the ads “featured.” How convenient.
Facebook also previewed a “reach Generator,” through its premium accounts. Brands can now select their highest potential posts, and then boost them through new ad placements (paid coupon news feed stories, sidebar ads, mobile news feed ads, Web news feed and logout page ads).
Do friends really influence?
So for all this effort, how much does Facebook really impact your purchasing decisions? Facebook advertisers tell people that what their friends have liked is hugely powerful. But what your friends like might not have a massive impact on your purchasing decisions.
Most friendship circles on Facebook are dense with old school friends, family members and work colleagues. You’re not friends with this group because they have awesome fashion sense and solid taste in music. They’re your friends because of who they are, not what they buy. Would you take fashion advice from people you went to school with? Probably not.
People are more influenced by experts than they are by their friends. A more accurate order of influence is experts, friends and then brands.
Good curators and savvy searchers will still be mining Facebook for great expert content, advice and detail. Your best discoveries online will be well-written and authoritative expert content shared by friends.
Kevin Cesarz is director of social media and Web project manager at Thread Marketing Group. He also helps create storytelling content for MrElshMedia. Find more ideas about social media at klcesarz.wordpress.com.