After F8: An Incredible Opportunity

By mohnikapoor / / This post first appeared on Last Thursday, the sweeping changes Facebook announced at F8 captivated the blogosphere; at the Socialistic office, we pushed back at least three internal meetings while glued to the F8 Livestream. Everyone from Gawker to Tech Crunch echoed the playground chant: “Facebook just schooled the internet!” And, really, it was a pretty accurate refrain: Timeline. Social Apps, “Read, Watch, Listen.” For social marketers, the possibilities were breathtaking. Each new reveal opened infinite possibilities for real, valuable engagement. Facebook’s changes are already rolling into effect, and the top question on marketers’ minds has to be “What do I change, right now?” We haven’t even seen what brand pages will look like in the Timeline-era (although the mock-ups of the possibilities are incredible), but the way that consumers interact with brands has already started to transform. Brands that have concentrated on accumulating “likes” will have to change course, as “likes” no longer get published to the News Feed (although they do still appear in the much-maligned “Ticker” in the upper-right hand corner). The impetus will now be on brands to inspire Facebookers to engage more deeply with branded content—through a share, comment or adoption of a social app—while not inundating them with irrelevant content. By clicking on the right hand corner of any post, Facebookers can unsubscribe from a brands’ update in their feed. The days of just posting pictures of Scooby Doo to garner likes is over. It’s a great opportunity for brands to take their power of publishers seriously. “Facebook is a channel, albeit a collaborative one, that needs to be programmed,” Ian Schafer, the CEO of Deep Focus, told Mashable. “We need to get people to share and interact with more content.” The even greater opportunity comes with Facebook’s social apps, which, thanks to the new Open Graph, have the potential to change the face of online engagement. The new apps allow Facebookers to watch and listen to music and video together, and also to share what they’re watching, listening to and reading in real-time. The “watch,” “listen,” and “read” buttons rise to take the throne of the “like” button — all action verbs that reflect deeper social interaction. Apps will now be allowed to automatically post to people’s walls if the user gives the app permission, allowing brands to become integral in the communication of a passion. The Nike+ app becomes the medium through which you communicate your love of running; the Spotify app becomes the medium through which you share your love of music; the Hulu app becomes the medium through which you share your love of TV and film. This all creates serious reach and spread throughout users’ social graphs. These apps will also be enabled on the Facebook mobile app. 350 million of Facebook’s 800 million users use the mobile app; Facebook’s mobile czar, Erick Tseng, expects that proportion to swing to more than 50% as the platform reaches 1 billion users in the next year, since most of Facebook’s users in India, Southeast Asia, and Africa connect via mobile devices. That means that anyone who makes a Facebook app gets to take advantage of a mobile install base that will soon hit 500 million. Plus, Facebook has serious plans to heighten the mobile experience and facilitate the use of Facebook apps. “There will be a completely new experience which takes this idea of real-time and relevance to a new level altogether,” Tseng said this week at the Mobilize conference. This is an exciting time for technologists and content creators. Facebook’s shift ushers in an era where brands will have the opportunity to deliver real value to consumers. Those that seize the opportunity will not have regrets.