A couple of weeks ago Facebook held its f8 developer conference and true to form introduced an avalanche of changes to the website. Some of these changes will greatly help us as real estate agents and others may prove to have little or no impact. Outlined below are the changes that are worth knowing about.
The ticker is a constantly updating stream of info about your network that Facebook did not deem important enough to include in the News Feed.
It has proven to be quite useful because it gives you the ability to see what is happening in real time. This gives you the ability to better engage your network because you have a greater likelihood of catching them when they are still logged on.
The biggest downside is that it will make it a bit harder to stay top of mind with your network because information passes through the ticker so quickly. The chances of your network looking at it right when your update passes through are slim.
The New News Feed
The News Feed still remains the heart of your Facebook experience. The biggest change is to what exactly is getting included in it. Facebook is now using a more discerning algorithm to determine what gets into your News Feed. It appears a stronger focus is being put on the updates and posts from those family members, friends and business pages that you actively engage with. Everything else that normally would have been included is now being relegated to the ticker.
Facebook has also introduced a ‘Top News’ feature, so if you have not logged in for a while the Top News stories you missed will be at the top of the News Feed marked with a blue corner, while the more recent posts are found below in reverse chronological order.
For business page owners, this means that if you want to get included in your community’s News Feeds you need to work hard to get much more engagement. Otherwise your posts and updates will only be a fleeting blip in others’ News Feeds.
Facebook now displays photos in your News Feed in a larger format, and they are being grouped a bit differently. What this tells me is that Facebook is placing even more value on photos than before – and so should you. Because of this increased focus, it only makes sense that Facebook will give increased weighting to photos, which means you have a greater likelihood of being included in your networks’ News Feeds if you post photos as opposed to other types of updates. It also means you will be taking up more real estate in the News Feed, which increases the likelihood of being seen by your network, which in turn makes it easier to stay top of mind.
It is now possible to subscribe to people, so you don’t need to friend them in order to be kept up to date on their Facebook activity.
One of the biggest changes announced was the Facebook Timeline. Essentially this is a profile design update that allows you to create what is pretty much a digital scrapbook based on your Facebook history. The only problem is that Facebook has halted the official rollout of Timeline due to a lawsuit. To read more about the suit, check out: Facebook Sued Over Timelines Trademark
I tried signing up by going to: https://www.facebook.com/about/timeline but got a ‘Coming Soon’ message. However, when Facebook does resume the rollout, that is the URL you go to in order to sign up.
You will also notice that Facebook has automatically created lists for you based on your profile information and activity on Facebook. For instance, Facebook automatically created the following lists for me: Sage Real Estate, HKUST Business School, Close Friends, Family.
Lists allow you to do a lot of great things, such as manage privacy setting effectively and restrict the info you view in your newsfeed. It’s worth spending some time familiarizing yourself with lists. We have a good post on doing exactly that right here: Facebook Lists: Your New Best Friend
There have also been a number of changes to business pages but we will leave those for another post.