Thursday, March 3, 2011

How to Make the Most of Facebook Changes

What's New on Facebook.... 

(Thanks to Tim Haran from USANA Health Sciences)

Like it or not, Facebook makes updates to their user-interface (UI) quite often. I thought I would use this social media tip to sort through some of the recent changes, and share a few tips that you will hopefully help you make the most of Facebook.

Profile Page Layout comes to Fan/Business Pages: That's right: all pages now look the same. Now you will see Information at the top of the page, then the Photo Strip, then the Update Status box. I find this helpful, although I know many users would prefer these pages to have different layouts, so they can more easily identify the type of page they are viewing.

Photo Strip: Speaking of the Photo Strip (above), this is now a feature within all UI, no matter what the page. I believe the goal was to more easily share photos with your friends. While you can "remove" individual photos from the photo strip, there are no page options to show/hide the photo strip itself. Some people have used this space creatively, which is something you may want to do as well. Personally, I would prefer to have the option to remove this from my Profile page. Oh well.

New Feed Filter Options: There are now more options available to you regarding what content you see on your News Feed. You can see Top News or Most Recent, with the default being Top News. You can also decide whose updates you see: all of your friends/pages or just the friends/pages you interact with the most. While I need to view everyone's updates for what I do, I believe this is a valuable way to help in your social media time management.

No More Tabs: What, no more tabs? I'll ask you a different question: did you even notice? Exactly Facebook's point. I suspect that depending upon the content and the actual user, tabs were a 50/50 proposition at best. Now, you can find all of the previous tabs as options in the left-hand navigation, just below the page's picture/avatar. By the way, be sure to check out USANA's new links — "Your USANA" on the Corporate page and "A Winning Team" on the Athletes page. What do you think?

Places: The functionality of Places has not changed, so let's talk about the impact of that. For individuals this is fine, however for businesses, Places is not as robust as Foursquare ... yet. I am sure this additional functionality is on the way, we just haven't heard when. In the meantime, you can use Places to share your location and more easily find and meet up with friends.

Pages Can Now Comment On Other Pages: (Gosh, I hope that just made sense.) One of the business-related challenges within Facebook was that businesses could not like/friend other businesses. Now, they can comment on other pages and even like other pages.

For example, as administrators for the USANA Health Sciences, we can now log in as the page instead of just as individuals and interact with Facebook in that way. This adds a different, and more direct, functionality to the business-to-business aspect of Facebook and helps promote the brand even further. I hope this trend continues because it is the type of functionality currently lacking within Facebook.

Account and Privacy Settings: As with any UI changes, there come changes to your Account and Privacy settings. Please go in and review them all. In fact, this is something you should try to do at least once a month, regardless of UI changes. Using social media comes with responsibility, so please make sure you are controlling your message, especially in light of this article I read over the weekend.

How About You?
I hope this helps you navigate Facebook's latest changes a bit. Let us know what you think: do constant changes bother you, or are you OK when social media sites change?

Are you confused about Facebook and other Social Media opportunities?
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