By Russ Sealy
While many of us have heard (and made) complaints about Facebook and it’s ever-changing interface, recently the social media behemoth made a few changes (some more quietly than others) that could help businesses market themselves like never before.
If you’re not already using Facebook’s Graph search, chances are you’ve at least heard about it and been prompted to try it out every time you log on. This search tool has given users a new way of networking, filtering searches based on your social network – where friends like to eat and shop, what they like to read, and who they like to do these things with. This has lead to a huge emphasis on the importance of the all-mighty “like” button.
In other words, the more likes your business has, the better chance you have of being found organically on Facebook. So how do you brand your business to gain more likes?
Well, surprisingly, there are a couple simple-yet-major changes that Facebook has implemented, giving businesses more freedom to market themselves. (This is surprising when you consider how strict Facebook guidelines have been up to this point.)
While Facebook made it loud and clear they were launching the Graph search, what they didn’t say was that most of those strict guidelines to your cover photo would be wiped from the record books. Check out the changes:
In other words, as long as your cover photo isn’t filled with deceptive imagery and mostly text, you can theoretically use it similarly to a display ad. Tell people to like your page, let it be known that you’re having a sale, post your website address, and incorporate “calls to action”! Just make sure that it’s no more than 20% text and it is clear and concise. (Aside from the Facebook rule, the general rule of advertising is to keep things short and direct.)
This alone is a huge advantage to businesses as they basically have a free online billboard ad 24/7/365 that they can change anytime they want. But wait…. There’s more! – Interactions with your page by others – be it a “like” or a shared post – will show up on their friends news feed with your profile pic and … are you ready for this…. your cover photo!
That means your Facebook cover photo, in all it’s new, unrestricted glory, could potentially be seen by thousands of new faces, enticing them to click on and “like” your page., growing your fan base, increasing your organic search results.. get the picture?
These new features lead me to believe that Facebook recognizes, now more than ever, the potential for businesses to connect with their clients on a more personal level and is encouraging them to do so. Businesses have always identified themselves by the faces of their customers and today’s online marketplace should be no different.
How personal are you with your customers?