Facebook made some very big changes in the fourth quarter of 2011 that impacted how businesses can use Facebook and how they interact with fans. As a quick review, here’s what Facebook did:
- Got rid of the ability to send a note out from your Business Page to all fans. The best feature!
- Removed tabs and the ability to do FBML markup pages. You now have to do iframes.
- Killed off the notes and discussion sections.
- Removed the ability to auto feed your blog to your Facebook Page.
- Removed the ability to see who your Business page fans are once they have joined.
- Allowed anyone to comment on a Business page, not just fans.
- Destroyed the value of a like. No one needs to like your page any more to see or interact with you.
- Changed the News Feed for users. People must subscribe to your data to see it in their News Feed.
- Changed the personal News Feed so a Business’ News Feed updates are typically lost in the noise.
Actually, these are some very serious changes and have really strangled a businesses ability to connect with users on Facebook and for that matter have caused fan growth for pages under 100 fans to come to a near halt. So, you would think that I would recommend to our business clients to get out of Facebook, but I’m not.
Strategies change and what Facebook has done to kill off brand and business interaction on their platform will certainly change as the blow-back impacts their business. For now, I personally feel that these changes drove businesses into Facebook pay per click initially. As advertising is where Google makes huge returns, Facebook has struggled with trying to get their fair share of advertising revenue from their platform and thus has made changes to force businesses to pay to play.
I still feel that businesses should be on Facebook and keep a presence there, but maybe not in the same fashion as we recommended in early 2011. I recommend at least doing updates once or twice a day and taking a wait and see approach to what Facebook will additionally change in 2012. These changes may open doors again for businesses and brands. Positioning yourself to be back in the Facebook game quickly is a very good strategy.