Facebook announced a brand new look and feel for the site's News Feed yesterday; one that de-clutters the available space, works to give users easy access to the stories they find most interesting, and puts even greater emphasis on visuals such as images and videos. Plenty of other blogs (not to mention Facebook's own) have explained all of the nitty gritty about the new design, so I'll not regurgitate that here. Instead, I'm going to highlight what the new News Feed means for brands and marketers, and 5 ways that they must prepare their strategy as it rolls out over the coming weeks.
Be Even More Visual
Any marketer will tell you that posts that include videos and photos receive more engagement from fans on Facebook, and with the new design this message is even more important. To take advantage of the new News Feed design, Facebook encourages brands to optimize for high-resolution feed stories on both web and mobile by providing 600 X 600 pixel images (minimum 200 X 200 pixels).
Maintain (Or Increase) Posting Consistency
The new Facebook News Feed allows users to filter the stories they see by category, from Most Recent, to Friends-Only, to Photos, Games, and Following (the latter which is similar to the current Pages feed) - that's all the brand pages and public figures, including yours. When a user chooses the Following option, the stories will display on their News Feed in chronological order. With all that competition (not to mention that your posts can be completely filtered out), it is imperative that you continue to post engaging and shareable content on your page on a regular basis, both to encourage fan interaction and to make sure that your content is near the top of a user's Following feed when they look at it.
Analyse Your Cover and Profile Photos
As the above image shows, when a Facebook likes your page in the updated News Feed, the story that gets published to the News Feeds of their friends features a portion of your page's cover image and your profile photo too. Their friends also have the opportunity to like your page direct from the news feed, so make sure that your cover photo and profile image is as representative and compelling a reflection of your brand as possible, to encourage more people to check you out.
Claim Your Facebook Places Page
This pointer applies most to businesses with physical locations. If you haven't already claimed your Facebook Places page, now it is even more important to do so than ever. When a user checks in at your location, the story that hits their friends' News Feed features a map with your profile photo and business name pinned to it. To boot, there are options to Like, Comment, and Share the status. Find out how to claim your Facebook Places page here.
Share and Promote Your Best Content
It appears that Facebook is putting more emphasis on giving a spotlight to top-shared articles around the web. If you're not doing so already, now is a better time than ever to use the social network as a way to promote your own content - blog posts, infographics, etc. - to try to bestow as much virality upon it as possible.
It remains to be seen whether brands on Facebook will see a real benefit from the updated News Feed, or if greater filtering options for users means that content from Pages is pushed further to the sidelines. Either way, the best thing you can do right now is arm yourself with the knowledge you need to adapt, and start putting some of the information above into practice.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew Macarthy is the author of the #1 Amazon Kindle Bestseller, 500 Social Media Marketing Tips.