Pulse of the Profession

Friday Five: Changes to Facebook May Alter the Way You Do Business

Facebook rolled out their redesign this week, packed with new user friendly features. According to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “what [Facebook is] trying to do is give everyone in the world the best personalized newspaper.” Numerous media outlets have reported on the changes, including the new features designed to offer users more control of their News Feed and how these changes will affect brand pages. It seems also that with these new changes, users may be able to get around the issues they experienced when Facebook developed their new algorithm. While Facebook openly discusses the added bonuses and upgraded features, there has been little said about an increase in revenue for the company (which we know is inevitable.)

In this week’s PRSA “Friday Five” post — an analysis of the week’s biggest public relations and business news and commentary — we explore Facebook’s redesign and whether or not these new features will make users’ Facebook experience easier or just complicate things further.

3 Imminent Facebook Changes That Could Affect Brands (Ragan’s PR Daily)

Facebook is giving its news feed a new look and with a number of changes rolling out this week. Brands will want to stay informed on how these changes may affect the way they do business. PR Daily’s Michael Sebastian lists three major changes that brands should be especially aware of as they forge ahead with corporate engagement. Here is a brief overview of those changes:

  • Facebook is looking to create multiple feeds, dedicated to pages you follow, images, and some which will be entirely dedicated to brands.
  • The belief has always been that images draw more attention and ultimately more likes. Facebook may be giving brands the opportunity to post larger images for that reason.
  • Get ready to demonstrate your video-editing skills because Facebook may be rolling an entirely new video platform for users and depending on it’s received, the company may then open the platform to brands.

In Facebook’s Redesigned News Feed, A Band-Aid For EdgeRank (Fast Company)

Facebook is making more changes to its platform as it tries to create a “personalized newspaper” for users with the addition of multiple feeds. When Facebook created a new algorithm, users complained that it eliminated status updates from friends and pages that users follow from showing up on their News Feed. Now with new features being added, users will have the ability to choose what updates they see in their News Feed. While problems with the algorithm are not top of the list to be dealt with, enhancements that come along with the new changes are supposed to address users’ complaints at least somewhat.

Facebook News Feed Redesign Gives Marketers What They’ve Pined For: Bigger Ads (Ad Age)

Marketing professionals have something to be excited about as Facebook rolls out its new changes – larger ads. Unfortunately, these recent changes also have the potential of fragmenting audiences with the introduction of multiple feeds, which means that it may be more challenging to reach users organically. Ad Age’s Cotton Delo walks us through the potential pros and cons of Facebook’s redesign and new features being offered.

Facebook Gets Simpler, More Complicated  (Mashable)

Facebook is going for cleaner and simpler look but do clean and simple mean less complicated for users? Users will notice that the word “Facebook” no longer appears anywhere on the actually platform. Instead what users will find is one blue-on-white, lowercase “f.” Ultimately, the company is trying to get “Facebook out of the way of users’ Facebook experience.” While Facebook cleans up their overall appearance, they’ve created numerous News Feed options that at first look appear quite complicated. Mashable’s Chris Taylor counted twenty ways to view his News Feed and this number varies by user. Taylor points out one feature that is well-liked by most users: friends that post same story will be grouped and appear together in the News Feed. Read more on other features being introduced with the new Facebook changes being rolled out this week.

The Biggest Announcement Facebook Didn’t Make (CNN Money)

CNNMoney’s Julianne Pepitone reports that while Facebook has been talking to every news outlet about the new platform changes being rolled out this week, the one thing they’ve chosen to speak too openly about is money. It is common knowledge that Facebook makes the bulk of its revenue from promoted posts in its News Feed. Larger ads come as a result of the new changes and with larger ads, users may begin to see two things happen: large ads from brands that users “like” will begin to pop up more in their News Feed and your friends’ photos may appear next to the ad if they happen to “like” that brand. As Facebook focuses on their redesign, new user friendly features and the future for brands’ social presence, there was no mention of revenue which for any business is a large part of the discussion. The hope is that the user experience is enhanced in proportion to the increase in Facebook’s revenue, otherwise there is a giant disconnect that needs to be addressed.

Nicole Castro is the public relations associate at the Public Relations Society of America.

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