Most likely, if you have a business Facebook account, you’ve seen the recent changes on Facebook. “Recent” of course, is a relative word, because Facebook has been rolling out almost constant changes since the turn of the calendar this year. One of them, however, released very quietly last week, is big. Not only does it open up an “old wound” surrounding the issue of Edgerank, but it has an even more subtle effect on how page Admins interact with their Facebook audience.
What “life-changing” update was this you might ask? As of last week, Facebook has created the software within its own platform to allow Admins to schedule posts in advance. If you’ve read earlier articles on this subject, you’ll remember that in the past, Facebook has frowned on the idea of posting to your page in any type of automated form. The penalty was a lowering of your Edgerank, and that score affected how often your posts were shown to your own fans. Now, however, not only have they allowed it within their own platform, they have rolled it into the Timeline feature by requiring that you update your business anniversary date before you use it. Once you’ve entered this date, you are free to automate posts to your heart’s content, all without ever leaving Facebook.
What are the implications of this, though? Let’s look at a couple of them briefly, because this shift could have long-range effects on social media marketing.
- By creating this option, it is implied that there will be no Edgerank penalty for using this service. That’s not stated in print anywhere, but if Facebook wants to keep their advertising dollars coming in via business owners who run ads, they have just made this a much more viable way to engage with your business page and its fans.
- However, posts are not quick to input. It takes a little longer for each post to be manually entered than it does on Hootsuite or Social Oomph, for instance. Guess what…while you are on Facebook, entering your upcoming posts, you are more likely to see other Facebook posts by your Friends and Fans. The end result? More time on Facebook!
- Twitter is now under some pressure, perhaps, to match this feature or better it. Consider this…automating posts is about saving time. Having one platform from which to create posts, such as Facebook, that can be set up to auto-post to Twitter is a time-saver. The possibility exists that people might decrease their interaction on Twitter if it means having to go to an additional site to engage with fans.
- Will 3rd party posting applications disappear? They are on the way to becoming less enticing for Facebook posts with this new change; they sometimes look junky and cluttered on LinkedIn and many LinkedIn users choose not to use them; none of them are authorized to access Google+. What is the motivation to continue using them? They may not disappear overnight, but they are in a grey area now, and the developers of those tools are going to have to answer the “motivation” question fairly soon.
- And finally, by giving the edge to using Facebook’s internal posting platform, business owners are now going to have to make a decision – sacrifice time or sacrifice visibility. It will take a little longer to schedule posts in advance, especially if you are entering them from multiple platforms – logging into Facebook to schedule those posts, logging into Hootsuite/Social Oomph to schedule posts for Twitter and LinkedIn, and then logging into Google+ to post “live.” (Note – Hootsuite will be discontinuing automated posting to Ping shortly, so if you use Ping, that will be another platform to log into.) This will be a sacrifice of considerable time. Or, business owners can sacrifice visibility by using a 3rd party application with the knowledge that Facebook may lower the Edgerank, thus the visibility, of your posts. Would you rather give up time or risk not being seen?
There are probably more changes coming, but as always, Facebook will likely roll those out without much advance notice. In the meantime, both business owners/marketers and 3rd party software applications have some decisions to make!