Facebook king Mark Zuckerberg made worldwide headlines yesterday when he announced major changes at the social network’s annual F8 developer conference. And while most users will be concerned about the Timeline feature that was introduced, businesses of all sizes are watching two other features: adding verbs and nouns to social graphs, and users no longer have to “Like” a page before commenting on it.
These new features far expand the possibilities of a brand being mentioned by Facebook users beyond just the “Like” button. They also break down the apprehension most individuals have with being associated with a brand or a company. Furthermore, the features obviously blow the doors open for higher brand awareness and provide a greater chance of viral growth — but the pitfalls are also abundant. Negative experiences can now be articulated outside of status updates, through ways that can be detrimental to a business. Again, this was always possible, but Facebook now makes it easier and offers more creative ways to do so.
With Zuckerberg announcing that 500 million people a day interact in some way on Facebook now, it cannot not be understated that running a strong, legitimate, day-to-day business is more important than ever. Can you bury bad reviews and mentions through various methods? To an extent, yes, but if someone’s friends say that they had a bad experience with your product or service, it’s a difficult barrier to overcome because it can be shared so quickly and visually. So what can you do? Your defense beyond a great product and untouchable ethics is creating your own content through blogs, videos, photos and other media while also monitoring your brand’s page more closely than you do now. Just remember that you want current customers to be able to interact with your brand online, because it will increase the likelihood that their friends and other new customers will discover your business. (This hits on the idea that Facebook believes users will continue to share more aspects of their lives and will be ever more open moving forward. That’s why they’re integrating services such as Spotify and Netflix, making it easier to discover TV shows, music, movies, restaurants, news stories and countless other aspects of things we and our friends consume.)
It’s clear that these new features and integrations are a play by Facebook to not only dominant the internet, but be the internet for as many people as possible. Your brand and business cannot afford to be passive — you have to engage, you have to create. That’s the new Facebook.