In the last couple of weeks, Facebook has implemented a number of changes.  These will have an immediate impact on how you use Facebook at a personal level, but how will the changes affect the way that businesses use Facebook?

1. Content is King

The jury is still out and not all changes have been fully implemented but it is immediately clear that brands are going to have to put much more work into the content of their updates.  Before the updates, if you got people to ‘like’ your page then you were able to get your updates in front of your ‘fans’ because the fan’s newsfeeds was ordered by most recent.

Now the individual’s newsfeed is ordered by Top Stories.  Facebook will automatically order the feeds based on the connection between the individual and the author, and individuals can indicate which posts they consider are their top stories.   Brands who have boring or irrelevant updates will have lower visibility.

The emphasis now will be on brands with interesting content who get clicks and comments from a varying group of people.

2. Friend Activity Tab

Pages now have a friend activity tab so when a user goes on to your page they can see which of your friends commented and what was said.  This gives weight to the viral nature of pages – but is dependent on getting somebody to your page to start with.

3. Anyone can Post

Users can now post on your page without first ‘liking’ it.  This could give rise to more negative comments or spammers – you may have to spend more time monitoring this.

4. Larger Photos

There appears to be more emphasis on photos.  Photos posted appear as a larger thumbnail in the newsfeed.  Businesses posting relevant, amusing photos are more likely to be noticed.

5. Length of Updates

The length of posts has been increased from 500 characters to 5,000 characters.  On the one hand, this enable more detailed thoughts – but longer posts makes it harder to scan read.  Facebook seems to work best when status updates are easy to read and comment on.

6. Tabs Must Now be SSL compliant

From 1st October 2011, all user tabs on Facebook Pages (e.g. welcome tabs) must have an SSL certificate (work with https) to confirm that they are ‘safe’.  You may find that your user tabs no longer work.  It seems to be taking a time to roll this out – but it is worth checking that your tabs will work in the future.  To do this

1. Login to Facebook with your personal account
2. Click down arrow on the top right and Account Settings
3. Click Security Setttings
4. Enable Secure Browsing

Check your user tabs are still displayed on your Facebook Page.  If an error message is displayed, you need to look at how the welcome page was created.  I used the wildfire app to create mine and it is still working – at the moment!  I believe that I will eventually have to change it to include an image from a secure website – watch the blog for information if and when I have to do it.

Apparently more changes are promised, particularly introducing the new Timeline to pages.  How do you think these changes will affect you and your business?