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March 19, 2012

What Facebook is Really Trying to Tell Brands

In this post, Matt Vanderlinden talks about the real message brands should be getting from Facebook…

Matt VanderlindenYou’d have to have been living in a yurt somewhere in the middle of Mongolia to have missed Facebook’s announcement about their new brand pages a few weeks ago.

Who am I kidding? Your chances were still about 50/50 depending on your cell phone provider. But that’s neither here nor there.

The point is the announcement was big, and there was a lot of talk about features and user interface changes. And immediately afterwards, the mad scramble to update images and adjust custom apps began.

But there was more to this than just new features and a slick new interface. Facebook is telling you to stop hard-selling people and get serious about genuine engagement with your customers.

In fact, they’re not even being subtle about it. On the new brand pages, they give you what is essentially a giant banner ad at the top of your page. But they specifically restrict you from putting any kind of call to action in it. You can’t promote your latest ‘deal’ there. You can’t ask people to like or recommend your page. You can’t even put any contact information in there. So what do you do with it?

You’re going to need to be creative. You’re going to need to put something in there that tells your brand’s story, something that appeals to people enough to make them choose to like your page on their own.

In fact, the whole point of the new brand page is to tell engaging stories. Facebook’s enhanced the posts on brand pages so they’re larger and more eye-catching. You can now post company milestones to highlight big events in the life of your brand. You can even pin a post to the top of your timeline so it stands out-but only for a week at a time. Why? Because they want you to keep posting new things to keep your followers engaged.

The message right below all the glitz of features is that, when it comes down to it, you need to be focused on engagement. Your brand needs to be authentic, transparent, and you need to share who you are with your customers. That’s what builds relationships that last beyond discounts and deals. And Facebook, after all, is in the relationship business.

There’s a lot more that’s changed, and we’ll have more content that we’ll be posting soon that will get into the technical details that brands should be concerned about. In the meantime, feel free to explore these links to get a more detailed understanding of what we consider the most significant changes to be:

Facebook Timeline
Facebook Reach Generator
Facebook Premium
Facebook Best Practices
Facebook General Suggestions