Mark Zuckerberg and his colleagues last week announced major redesigns to the Facebook News Feed. In a live stream press statement, they outlined three main areas of change which they hope mirror the ever-changing ways in which people around the world use the network.
Facebook want to create a richer, more beautiful News Feed, without the ‘clutter’ surrounding the stories which bring people to the platform
Photos become central to the stream, which is now two, not three, columns wide. This allows all posts, whether image, text, video or ad, to take up the majority of screen space, with more prominence given to visual assets
Links to articles/news sources are displayed in a magazine format, with more prominent headlines, longer summaries and a publisher’s icon
The News Feed will continue to highlight news and events from liked Pages
CHOICE OF FEEDS
A drop down menu will allow users to choose which stream of content they want to view
Demand for all news to be collated in one place has resulted in the ‘All Friends’ feed, so you never miss a single movement
New feeds include Music, Photos and Following, which will show only the news from the Pages and public figures that you have liked
Much of the design has come from Facebook’s work on mobile, using minimal screen space to prioritise key features and utilities
The pop-out black bar, which many are used to seeing on the left hand side of their mobile app, now comes to desktop, eliminating the right hand bar (previous home of Ticker, Chat and ad space)
Facebook have worked hard to create consistency across numerous devices and screens, which should create a better user experience for all users, wherever they are and whatever they’re using
These three aspects come together to form what Zuckerberg calls ‘a personalised newspaper’ – drawing on both personal and public news sources, in various formats, to create a more colourful feed. These are the stories without clutter; note too that Facebook no longer use their full name as a logo, but a more simple, streamlined ‘f’ to demonstrate their back seat role.
Rollout will be slow and considered – users can sign up now, but it will be some time until we see the new designs on the majority of profiles.
For advertisers and Page owners, whose Reach has been significantly damaged in recent months due to Facebook’s internal mistakes, questions mainly surround the anticipated effectiveness of paid media on the new News Feed. Facebook maintain that nothing about how users interact with ads has changed – however the sheer prominence of posts in the new feed, in terms of pixel space, is undoubtedly a bonus.
The algorithm which determines who sees your Page’s news will remain unchanged, although the focus on images discussed here might suggest a return to image-led assets, after a period of experimentation with text-only updates.
Advertisers should also consider the placing of their brand’s posts in the new Following feed. Brand posts used to sit intermingled with personal news; however they can now be viewed in stark contrast to each other, within the same forum. For advertisers with major competitors within similar Facebook demographics, it is more important than ever that Facebook content is creative enough to engage and enthuse both current and potential fans.
A veritable feast of social news over the last two weeks. Have a browse through this little lot:
A dislike button extension has been launched on Chrome that allows you to mark Facebook content with a ‘thumbs-down’. At the moment only others with the extension installed will be able to see your dislikes; it’s got a few issues but it might open conversation on a wider range of buttons.
Google+ is rolling out new features for Hangouts, to make them both more functional and more entertaining. The sidebar collates all frequently-used apps, plus colour-coded notifications and announcements.
Global brands used to have big issues with Facebook brand pages – they could have one for everyone, or loads of little local ones. Now, Global Pages mean brands can have separate local pages all under a single URL – visitors are simply directed to their relevant local page. We Are Social have reported on it here:
A very useful website which explains the inner workings of Facebook. Great for explaining social metrics to clients.
MOSS INSTAGRAM LOOKBOOK
Fashion brand Moss Clothing has shunned typically expensive and laborious photo shoots for a catalogue shot entirely on an iPhone5 using Instagram. They also used hip hop artists Das Racist in place of models.
As seen in the last Digest, Facebook has made changes to the algorithm which have seriously damaged reach of brand pages and posts (if you’re not paying for loads of ads). A couple of the latest articles:
Pheed is a new hybrid social network that integrates chat, photos, videos, audio and live broadcasting. You create a ‘channel’, and if you think it’s really good, you can charge people to follow it. Celebrities have already signed up to cash in on fans (phans?) who can subscribe or see content on a pay-per-view basis:
Brand pages on Facebook are gaining significantly more fans from mobile users – 5% in May has increased to 19% in August. This supports and further encourages the platform to play to the behaviour of smartphone users.
TBG DIGITAL SPEAKS TOO SOON
Facebook advertising specialists and Preferred Marketing Developer TBG Digital has lost its badge of honour after reportedly discussing Facebook beta developments and therefore breaking confidentiality agreements.
"There's a cable car going over the Thames?" Yep. Really.
Boris wanted it and Emirates sponsored it. It’s on the TFL network, just like a regular tube journey.
And from today the public are on it.
Emirates want to leverage the fact that they’ve sponsored it with the good folk of London, and we’ve helped them do it.
The project has rarely been out of the news. It’s a political hot potato. It has had a highly complex set of parties involved: TFL, DLR, Mayor of London’s Office, journalists, the voting public, Digital Screen product designers, Media Agency, PR Agency and, of course, Emirates – based in Dubai.
It also had a definitive live date: 28th June 2012, which simply could not be missed. Many, many eyes were upon it, and us.
We were appointed to come up with a creative concept to bring the brand sponsorship to life, and to build some digital things to get it in front of people. That idea was ‘Two Destinations. One Air Line.’, the conceit that for Emirates this was yet another two more destinations on their route map – but ones that were only a mile apart and joined by a cable car, not a plane.
The next step was to express it digitally. And borrowing heavily from the world of air travel – ‘boarding passes’, ‘turbulence’, ‘flights’, ‘welcome onboard’, ‘flight tracker’ etc.
The deliverables were numerous and complex in their form:
Digital screens in terminal
In cabin digital screens
In Terminal voiceovers
Films of the journey
Films of Londoners
Web app onboard GPS tracking audio guide
And, we did it. So next time you’re gagging to get from the O2 to Newham, take the Emirates Air Line and think of us. If you’re too much of a fanny, here’s an idea of what it feels like onboard:
If you were one of the lucky ones - you would have read about the problems Qantas were having online or in your weekend papers. The unlucky ones lived through it on airport floors around the world. Friday saw the entire fleet grounded globally due to 'labour disputes' - an action that resulted in 10,000's of travellers being stranded - and thoroughly pissed off with the airline. With wait times on the Qantas customer service telephone lines reportedly running to 4 hours, a large proportion of those affected took to social media to voice their 'displeasure'.
The complaints led to Qantas becoming a worldwide trending topic on Twitter and a flood of complaints to their Facebook page. From a business point of view - this is bad - for community managers it means you're officially into Crisis Management mode.
The Australian media have taken a hardline with the airline regarding their response on social media. Complaining that their customer service through the channels became mechanical and robotic - lacking personalisation. And stating that in the moment of crisis the airline had reverted to using Twitter and Facebook as broadcast channel again. This opinion doesn't really take all factors into consideration but is an understandable reading of the situation. It seems the airline had taken an approach that meant that anyone arriving at their Twitter or Facebook page would easily be able to find the latest information from Qantas, rather than having to search the large number of customer complaints - understandable.
Search Google and you'll find a raft of documents offering tips on how to deal with crises on social media - the truth is that no one crisis looks exactly like another and likewise how you respond will need to change based on a number of factors. However broadly speaking there are some do's and don'ts for managing social accounts during times of 'business strife'
Have a crisis management team in place to deal with emergencies. Usually this will be a mixture of community managers, customer service staff, brand team execs, PR, and a team leader to organise the troops.
Be quick to mobilize them when a problem arises. Don't ignore the problem and hope it goes away - this generally just makes things worse when you do eventually jump in.
Make sure there is an escalation process in place for the team, so they are empowered to fix customers issues as they arise.
Make sure they have a constant flow of up to date information about what you're doing to deal with the problem - they need to be able to pass this onto your customers.
Run a social media monitor for keywords associated with your brand & the issues you're experiencing. The hope is that people will contact you directly on your social accounts, but the likelihood is that there'll be conversations taking place all over the web that you should be joining or at least following.
What you say is important - but how you say it is vital. Don't lose your rag, keep it personalised where possible.
Don't lie! Transparency is so important. If you don't have the answer - find it out before responding - and let the person know thats what you're doing.
Go easy on the delete button. As tempting as it is to delete the worst of the comments that you're getting - don't. Stick to your community guidelines (no swearing, no bullying etc) but deleting negative comments can backfire drastically.
Don't panic and shut down. As in the Qantas example its important to make relevant information easy for customers to find, however this should still function as a two-way dialogue.
What did you learn? After the event look for learnings, these could be related to a product, your community, your customer service, internal processes. Make changes if you need to and communicate these to your customers where appropriate.
These incidences can tend to give brands the chills when taking their first steps into social media- I've heard many people use such examples as a reason not to venture into social media. The important thing to remember is that these conversations, tweets and comments would be happening regardless of whether you have a brand presence in social or not. At least if you're present you are able to join and influence some of the conversations and complaints, and hopefully reach and help more of your customers.
Social media is merely another channel in which to converse with consumers, and while the public nature of it can make this feel intimidating in times of crises and high negative sentiment towards a brand - the opportunities is provides to display solid customer service and help people in real-time make it too valuable to ignore.