What Facebook's 'News Feed' Changes Mean To Radio
March 12, 2013
The redesign of Facebook's News Feed that started rolling out last week addresses how social communication has become more visual. It also speaks to the "rent/own" theory we talk about a lot here at Jacobs Media.
If you spent any time with Zuckerberg's IPO filing last year, you know that hacking is how he and his team operate – they hack their way to perfection.
Translation: This is not the last time they will change things. They will always be tweaking the Facebook platform and as "renters," we have to deal with the rule changes, and find ways to make them work for our brands.
So it's important that when these changes occur, our social strategies and behavior don't have to endure major changes, because essentially we are already using the platforms we "rent" as an indirect path to strengthen what it is we "own" – our databases, websites, and AM/FM sticks.
As Zuckerberg rolled out the changes to the News Feed last week, he referred to it as a "personalized newspaper," offering what he called "a more visual and customizable News Feed."
His three elements of focus are:
- Showcasing rich visual stories
- Giving users a choice of feeds
- Presenting a consistent Facebook experience on mobile, tablets, and the web.
When you see the updated News Feed, the first change you'll notice is that it is more visually appealing – the photos are larger.
The Facebook team made this move because "photos have gone from 20 percent of News Feed content to 50 percent." It makes sense. With the rise of sites like Pinterest and apps like Instagram (and even Snapchat), social is now visual. Facebook – the big dog – had to adapt to that reality.
The other big change is that the News Feed is customizable.
While your audience will still be able to use News Feed the same they use it today - seeing everything that is happening with their personal connections and the brands they interact with - as you see in the feature below, they will now be able to customize their feed – perhaps just showing their personal connections (and no brands) – underscoring the reason why they signed up for Facebook in the first place.
The ability to customize the News Feed is super easy with the access to do so to the immediate right of it. It's intuitive, and not clunky like how it has been.
Facebook did little to address how these various sub-feeds (All Friends, Music, Following, etc.) will impact brand "Like" pages, but the main thing you can take away is that Zuckerberg is hacking the News Feed to be more of a "vibrant and visual" format.
One of the new features I've seen so far is called "New Connection Stories."
Facebook now shows me the cover photos of friends and brands in my News Feed. (In the past it has been a small thumbnail of the profile picture.)
Facebook says, "This change is designed to provide more context about the Page. All the more reason to make sure your cover photo is eye-catching and visually representative of your Page."
Cover Photos for radio stations often look like repurposed direct mail pieces. You see fancy pictures of artists displayed – or promoting a station benchmark like the "No Repeat 9 to 5."
But here is an example of what the Cover Photo is meant to do: tell a story about your brand. It comes from Greater Media's WBT/Charlotte:
This is what fans want to see - your station's story – the behind the scenes look at your brand, the talent, the core of who you are, and why they value what you do.
Now more than ever, brands need to shine visually.
You're no longer just competing with the "Edge Rank" algorithm, the rules set in place that determine who sees your posts in the first place. You're now about to compete with fans getting in the habit of customizing their News Feeds.
Will your brand make the cut?
The digital and social arenas are a very fluid space - technology and consumer habits will keep it ever changing. But as long as your brand practices the basic fundamentals, such as focusing on impact, being visually memorable, and the fact that every person counts, you'll be just fine.
Feel free to connect with me on Facebook.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
Please enjoy MERGE archives here.