The reality check all Facebook pages will have to face

Reality check for FacebookI think Facebook page managers are in for a serious reality check.

This reality check is going to be brought on by two new features Facebook is trying out.

Feature 1 – Get Notifications

Yesterday Inside Facebook reported on a new feature Facebook is rolling out. This new feature will let Facebook users get direct notifications from their favorite Facebook pages, as opposed to relying on the erratic nature of the News Feed.

The feature is called Get Notifications and it’s only for pages. It works just like the “Close Friends” option for personal profiles, that lets you receive a direct notification every time a close friend posts a photo or changes their status.

When you Like a Facebook page, you can then opt-in to Get Notifications from this page every time they publish a new post. See the photo below from Inside Facebook.

The reality check all Facebook pages will have to face

From Inside Facebook

Feature 2 – Pages Feed

Jon Loomer and Lisa Jenkins wrote about another feature Facebook is experimenting with – a Pages Feed.

Lisa Jenkins reported on her blog that she saw something new in the Pages section of her Profile, just above the Like Pages link. It said “Pages Feed” (see image below) and when she clicked on it, she was direct to a special News Feed of all the updates from the Facebook pages that she has liked – no friend updates included.

Pages Feed Facebook

From LisaDJenkins.com

These experimental features prove (at least to me) two important things.

1)     Facebook is listening. Yes, everyone hates EdgeRank. I believe that Facebook is trying to help its users (and its page owners) by responding to the outcry over the recent EdgeRank changes.

2)     Facebook loves businesses. As a public company, Facebook has an obligation to create revenue for its stakeholders. It needs to make money. Why would it want to alienate the millions of businesses that rely on it to connect with the customers, generate leads and raise awareness?

The reality check for Facebook Page Managers

I have not been able to see either of these new features so I can’t vouch for how they work and if they are user-friendly, but if they become standard practice across Facebook, they will have serious implications for Page Managers.

1)     You can’t complain about EdgeRank anymore.

After all, Facebook is now providing you with supposedly (not yet proven) full-proof ways to reach 100% of the fans that want to connect with you.

The fans will have a choice to receive all of your status updates either as a direct notification or in their Pages Feed.

2)     You will have to spend extra time and resources to convince your fan base to use these features (and to show them how).

I believe that these new Facebook features won’t be explored or used the way they are intended.

Jon Loomer put it perfectly in his recent blog post about the topic:

No one will use the Pages Feed… Facebook provides tools that could make everyone’s lives easier. Whether it’s privacy settings or friend lists or Interests Lists. Very few people use them. The rest complain about how much Facebook sucks because of X (problem that could have been solved by using one of these things).

We have the options and the tools to control the News Feed, our friend updates and the way we see content on Facebook. But the majority of us just don’t care enough to do the work.

3)     You will have to get your fans to care about you and your page – again.

We spend so much time and energy getting people to Like our page, we forget to convince them to stay and engage with us after they do.

The vast percentage of the one billion people currently using Facebook today are not going to take an extra step – either by clicking the Get Notifications button or checking the Pages Feed – to hear every single update from every single brand page they like.

It’s survival of the fittest (which is what EdgeRank was designed to do).  Those pages who get the most fans to opt-in for direct notifications will undoubtedly perform better than those that don’t.

Be careful what you wish for

Page Managers – Facebook heard you, loud and clear. You said that your fans hate EdgeRank and that they are not seeing your posts. You claimed that they were upset about this.

With these new features – asking your fans to directly opt-in to direct notifications and by providing a streamlined News Feed jus for pages – Facebook is calling your bluff.

If these features are widely implemented, page managers will not be able to hide behind Facebook anymore and blame the company and its complicated algorithms for lack of interaction, lack of engagement, lack of interest.

Having great content and providing value to your Facebook fans (and your entire online community) is more important than ever.

Only this time, if you are not reaching your fans in the way you would like, you will know that it’s your own fault, and not Facebook’s.

What do you think of these proposed changes? Post your Comment below or on my Facebook Page. Thanks for reading! 

photo credit: Durotriges via photopin cc

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