Major Facebook Changes and What They Mean for You

Ok, dude. Facebook made a fundamental change to their News Feed a few weeks ago, which will likely permanently change the way businesses use the service to reach their audience. While doing some casual online prowling (completely innocent, of course), you might have noticed something called Promoted Posts in your News Feed. Promoted Posts allows any user or group with less than 5,000 friends to pay a fee to keep a particular post higher in the News Feed of friends.

Why You Should Care:

  • Facebook has long been the arbiter of cool. Traditionally, posts that got a great response stayed higher in the News feed. Now, for the first time, you can literally buy popularity (that would have made high school easier). Granted, people will know that you promoted the post with cash. But to notice this, they first have to look at the post. You can pay your way straight into their subconscious.
  • It’s cheap. The average cost of a Promoted Post is a measly $7. Depending on your budget, you can promote a post anywhere from once in a blue moon to several times a week. But if you want to play it smart and get the most of your money, you shouldn’t just promote anything. A good strategy would be to post something on your page, and see if it resonates with your audience. If you see a good response in the first few minutes, you can bump the post further by promoting it.
  • You get access to data. The money you spend doesn’t just get you the extra attention. The Promoted Posts feature also includes a counter that tells you how many views you got the old-fashioned way and how many views came from the Promoted Post. Having access to these kinds of metrics for Facebook is unprecedented, and could alone be worth the price of admission.

The public response to Promoted Posts must have been good, because just yesterday, Facebook expanded the service to members with more than 5,000 friends. A company with half a million subscribers can now promote a post for $49.

How this option will develop is impossible to know. While the feature offers more possibilities to businesses interested in marketing their brand, the merit of Facebook has always been its democracy of cool — good content stays around and bad content gets bumped. If businesses get lazy and start promoting crappy content, Facebook might become unbearable for users and go the way of the Myspace (and its evil cousin Friendster).

So, by all means take this feature for a spin and see if it boosts your Facebook rep. But don’t get lazy about the quality of your content or you will basically be promoting a giant unsubscribe button. W3rd.