Wow, my head is spinning trying to keep up with all of the recent changes to Facebook (and there are a lot more to come). How do the changes affect ECPs and business people trying to use Facebook as a tool to stay engaged with patients/customers? This is a summary of the recent changes. The changes may not affect your practice Facebook Page as much as you think. Remember, to an ECP, Facebook is a tool to implement “relationship marketing”. That means using Facebook (and other online tools) to stay engaged with patients/customers while they are “outside of the buying cycle”. The recent changes in Facebook allow us to do a better job of that. However, most of the changes relate to the user (people’s profiles), not to businesses (company pages). But to properly use Facebook as a business engagement tool, we need to understand these changes. Here is a brief summary of the recent changes.
New feature – Subscribe and Subscriber
If you “like” a company page or “friend” someone, their posts show up in your News Feed. In the previous version of Facebook, it wasn’t easy to choose exactly what you saw in your News Feed. Maybe you didn’t want to see a post every time your sister gets her nails done. Maybe you’d like to see more stories from your best friends and fewer from your old classmates. The new Subscribe feature can help you manage that (to a degree). Bottom line – the Subscriber Button allows you to make your personal profile more public (if you activate it). You can allow subscribers to see your public updates without “friending” them. You can also control what and who sees your post every time you make a post. Also, by Subscribing to people, you can control what (how much content) you see from the people you subscribe to. This new feature also allows you to follow people if they are over the 5,000 friend limit that Facebook puts on personal profiles.
To get specific instructions on how to use the new subscribe button, go to the Facebook tutorial.
New Feature –Smart Lists (also called Friend Lists)
After a person has been using Facebook for a while, they will start getting quite a collection of friends (i.e. family, close friends, old school mates, etc.). Sometimes it would be advantageous to keep these folks in groups or lists. May be you only want to see what your close friends are posting, and perhaps you want to send a post only to a select group or list. That is the purpose of lists. Facebook has now made it easy to categorize what posts you see and who gets certain posts. It is called smart lists because Facebook populates the list for you based on certain criteria (i.e. your “friends nearby list” is determined by you in a utility setting). However, you have a lot of customization options such as; you can create your own lists, manage notifications, etc.
To get specific instructions on how to use the new friend/smart list, go to the Facebook tutorial.
New Feature – News Feed Ticker (also called Mini-Newsfeed)
This new feature has caused the most negative feedback. The News Feed Ticker is a real-time compilation of everything/everyone you are “connected” with. In the upper right hand part of your Facebook screen, in “ticker format”, it shows all the comments, posts, likes, friendships and events of all of your friends, pages and subscriptions. The ticker shows you the same stuff you were already seeing on Facebook, but it brings your conversations to life by displaying updates real-time (as opposed to the new “top stores” feature in the larger news feed). Now when a friend comments, asks a question or shares something such as a check in, you’ll be able to join the conversation right away without leaving where you were on Facebook. Click on anything in the ticker and a pop-up window will show you the full story, live. Again, Facebook has allowed you a fair amount of customization to this feature; such as what you want to see in the ticker news feed. However, you cannot delete it from your screen (but it is rumored there are unofficial ways to hide it)
To get specific instructions on how to use the new News Feed Ticker, go to the Facebook tutorial.
Revised – The regular News Feed
The format for the News Feed has changed. In the old version, you would toggle (via a drop down menu) between the Top News and Most Recent posts. Now there are Top Stories, Recent Stories and From Earlier. The Top Stories are things Facebook thinks you might be interested in based on your interaction in the past and other criteria that is in their algorithm. The Recent Stories are in chronological order and the From Earlier is the rest of the posts, such as status updates, photos, videos, and check-ins. If you haven’t visited Facebook for a while, the first thing you’ll see are top photos and statuses posted while you’ve been away. If you want to see things that are current posts (similar to the old news feed format), see the new mini-news ticker. Facebook has again allowed you to customize what you see (to a degree). If you click on the faded blue triangle in the upper left hand part of each post, you can remove it and tell Facebook this is not a top story, in your opinion. You can also manage posts from that source by clicking on a disappearing drop down box in the upper right hand corner of each post.
Facebook has also changed the photos posted in this revised news feed area. They will be larger and if you mouse over the photos, you’ll see a user created comment about that specific photo.
Get specific instructions on how to use the new news feed format at the Facebook tutorial.
These are a few of the changes. There are a lot of “nuances” to each of these new and revised features. To learn details of how to use each feature, click on the tutorial provided in each section. Also, check back on our blog, www.TomorrowsOptical.info. We will soon be posting videos that explain each new feature in detail.
Fasten your social media seat-belt. There are a lot more significant changes to come. Don’t let these changes deter you from using Facebook as a primary tool to stay connected and engaged with your patients/customers while they are “outside of the buying cycle”. Learn how to use the new features, but stay focused on providing a Facebook Page for your practice/business that offers education, information, entertainment and engaging content.
Bob Main is an optical industry veteran, with over 25 years of retail optical experience and the last six years specifically engaged in internet marketing and social media. As an Internet Business Coach/Consultant, Bob’s blog (www.TomorrowsOptical.info) offers ECPs and optical retailers the information they need to learn how to grow their practice/business using the power of the internet. Bob can be reached at bob@BobMainConsulting.com