Facebook Targets Small Business Owners With New Features

facebook logo Facebook, after a less than stellar 8 days on the NYSE, is taking a step back from the big lights and glitz and glamor and is focusing on the small business owners. Small business owners make up so much of the marketplace today and while it may feel as if there is a bit of over saturation for those companies that help small business owners, there are still too  many lagging behind. Facebook was one of them.

Small business owners whose marketing budget does not have a line item for a community director are at a disadvantage as they are not able to hire the third party that will be able provide them will all the features that are afforded to bigger companies. It is an age old problem as regardless of how many hats you wear each day as a small business owner, there are always limitations. Especially online and in the social spectrum as there are third parties that are creating some unbelievable tools for analytics but they are out of reach for many of the small business owners.

Facebook Targets Small Business Owners

Facebook this week had made some highly applauded changes to the company pages. These welcomed changes are a big deal for the DIY small business owner as the functionality that has been afforded to other companies through hiring third parties, has now become available to them for FREE. The changes are not going to save a business nor are they going to attract drones of new customers. They are time management features that allows for better organization and more frequent postings to promote visibility and interaction.

Facebook Introduces Administrator Levels

The administrator levels is not necessary a big deal for the DIY small business owner however, for those that are able to budget and have assistance with their Facebook page, this is a big deal. Control of the entire page is not given to another person. Actually, Facebook has defined the roles and levels to better assist the small business owner with relinquishing some control but with limitations.

Facebook Administrator Roles

1. Manager. The manager has full control of the page from creating posts & ads, editing the page & apps, commenting, deleting comments, sending messages and viewing Facebook insights.

2. Content Creator. The content creator is one step away from the manager and has a lot of authority however, it cannot manage the admin roles.

3. Moderator. The moderator can send messages, respond to messages and delete comments. They are unable to create new posts.

4. Advertiser. The advertiser can create ads and view insights.

5. Insights Analyst. The insights analyst can review and analyze the data only. This is the lowest of authority but it is probably one of the most important. You can create content and ads all day but if no one is delving in to the data, a lot is being lost.  Are you posting and reaching your target market or just random people who liked your video?

These administrator roles are important when we think  about moving forward with how companies utilize Facebook for their marketing efforts. There is a lot of data that that small business owners can capture and act upon to better serve their target market. Allowing for them to set a specific role within Facebook is a step in the right direction.

NOTE: Any new administrators added, by default, are managers. You must go and manually change their role.

Facebook Unveils Post Scheduling Functionality

Scheduling posts! How could you? Automate – ugh never! Well not so fast here. As indicated above, the new features are time management features. Scheduling posts is managing the time. This is not an autopilot feature that will allow for the admin to schedule the postings for the month and never come back but act as if there is a human sitting there. We know better. Scheduling does help many of the small business owners as they can sit late at night and schedule a posting for when their target market is most active and accepting of their posting. Without scheduling, the post probably would not be seen otherwise.

Scheduling of posts does not replace a human. Scheduling posts helps with time management and should be used for that purpose. When there is limited time, the time should be spent interacting with fans which is where the scheduling comes into play. If the post is scheduled then time opens up for the interaction.  Pointless to post and not interact with fans.

How do I Schedule a Facebook Post

1. Status: In your status area, select if you want to post text, a photo/video Event/Milestone. Upload.

facebook page status update

2. Year: Click on the clock symbol at the bottom far left.  “+ Add year” appears. Add the year from the drop down. There is a scroll down as you can back date content.

facebook add year

3. Month: Click on the clock symbol again and “+ Add month”  appears. Click that and the month drop down appears. Choose the month from the scroll down.

Facebook month

4. Day: Click the clock symbol again and “+ Add day” appears.  Click that and the date drop down appears. It appears as numeric days in the calendar and not days of the week. Once you add the date, the Post in the far right goes from Post to Schedule. facebook day

5. Hour: Click on the clock symbol again and “+ Add hour” appears. Click on this and the hour drop down appears. Add the hour you wish to have the post scheduled for.

Facebook Hour

6. Minute: Click again on the clock symbol and “+ Add minute” appears. Click on this and the drop down appears in 10 minute increments. There is discrepancy here as Facebook says that they are in 15 minute intervals. There is not the functionaliy to override and manually put in a minute.

7. Review you posting for accuracy and click on Schedule.

You can month and year stamp your posts without scheduling as the scheduling does not appear until you add the date field. This is useful for those who are managing their timeline and wish to month and year stamp previous postings. If you wish to date the posting, you can as well, and, if it is in the past, it will appear immediately.

How to Unschedule a Scheduled Facebook Post

Changed your mind? It is easy to unschedule.

1. If you have not hit schedule and received the “Your Post Has Been Scheduled Confirmation” you can simply click on each drop down field and scroll up to the top and select the –. This will delete the field.

2. If you have scheduled and received confirmation, all is not over. You can cancel in the activity log via the admin panel by selecting Manage (as seen here in the confirmation).

facebook schedule confirmation

As you can see, these changes are not going to have  much affect on the companies that have already been using a third party to manage their pages. This is really targeting the small business owners to try and balance out the playing field here a bit and promote more user interaction.

Small business owner? We want to hear from you! Will these new features have you spend more time on Facebook? Will you relinquish control and utilize the admin roles?

photo credit: From Anoka…

How To Add Facebook Subscribe Button To Your Website

Facebook Subscribe In less than 24 hours after the big announcement of the Facebook Subscribe button for websites, the feature is now live and appearing on some of the biggest news sites like MSNBC, Huffington Post, Forbes and Washington Post, to name a few. The Subscribe button has the same functionality as it does on Facebook pages which eliminates the need for users to have to read an article and then have to go over to Facebook to Subscribe. You may recall that back in September the Subscribe button was launched eliminating the need for users to have to be friends to see updates, well on the ones that are shared publicly. Once a user subscribes via your website, they automatically see your updates in their news feed. Exposure!

Why Should I Add the Subscribe Button

Exposure! The goal of this button is to increase the viral distribution of your updates. It is no secret that the updates with the most ocmments and likes are highly favored by Facebook and, thus, appear higher up/rank higher. Far gone are the days when the Notifications on your Facebook page displayed friends/subscribers commenting directly to YOU. Now, they are all new updates from friends and those that you subscribe to (and yes all friends, unless you turned off the ability to be subscribed to are subscribers to YOU and YOU to them). Adding the Subscribe button places your updates into their Notifications.

How to Add the Facebook Subscribe Button to Your Website

The Subscribe button is added either XFBML or an iFrame. To add via XFBML, which uses the JavaScript SDK, customize this code for your URL:

<fb:subscribe href=”https://www.facebook.com/YOURURL” width=”450″></fb:subscribe>

Note the HTML5 code is:

<div data-href=”https://www.facebook.com/yoururl” data-width=”450″></div>

To add the Subscribe Button via iFrame:

<iframe src=”https://www.facebook.com/plugins/subscribe.php? href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fyoururl &amp;width=450&amp;appId=APP_ID” scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ style=”border:none; overflow:hidden; width:450px;” allowTransparency=”true”> </iframe>

If code is a bit outside of your technical realm, Facebook through the developers page will create the exact code for you on the Facebook Developer’s Subscribe Button.  You will note that there is a prompt asking to Show Faces.

Facebook Subscribe Show Faces
If you do not uncheck the box, the code will vary from above and will contain the language to show faces:

Facebook Subscribe Button Code

Once you have the code, whether you customize from above or utilize the generated code, you place it on the page(s) you wish for it to appear. Or, you can just wait a few days as plugin developers for WordPress are certainly hard at work developing a downloadable plugin.

Will you be adding the Subscribe button to your site or waiting to see the feedback?

photo credit: Jay Cameron

Facebook Launches Ticker & Popularity Driven News Feed Prompting Outrage

facebook launches ticker

photo credit: Erik Velez

Facebook, Facebook, Facebook, when will you ever learn? Oh wait, you did a very long time ago. You make changes, people are outraged and talking about them all over the various media platforms. Smartie pants! We know that Facebook is free and we have a choice to be on there however, they created a platform for people to use. They created the want, need and have us post things that make the italian mob look like saints. All that aside, Facebook is a social media platform that has millions and millions of users that feel comfortable enough to throw it all out there. In return for that ultimate trust, we, as users, expect them to stop relinquishing our control of how we use OUR profile. The thing is, it is not OUR profile. It is their platform that we choosing to have a presence on. We do take ownership of our profiles and when changes are made, we become uncertain and when that certainty is gone, we get outraged.

Facebook Launches Ticker

Facebook has launched the ticker and it has people outraged. What is interesting is that in the time is money driven world we live in, the ticker should have been a welcomed new feature. It updates faster than the news feed and you can interact with people directly from the ticker.

Facebook launches ticker
Simple, fast and yet people hate the new Facebook Ticker. Many are concerned that their updates are front and center. That has always been the case and you can control who your updates are shared with and this includes the ticker. The ticker pulls from your updates. If you wish to remove the Facebook Ticker all together and are a bit knowledgeable with Firefox or Chrome, Lifehacker has you covered.

The Ticker is set to play a big role in the new Facebook Timeline. The idea behind Facebook Timeline is to tell important stories of your life all on one page. Facebook wants us to share our life story, download some apps so that we can share and listen to music, watch movies together all from the Ticker. If are friends are listening or watching then we just have to keep up with the Jones’!

Popularity Driven News Feed

The news feed if you do not visit Facebook frequently is now driven by popularity. The “stories” that would be most appealing to you are marked with a blue corner. These are based upon the relationship with the person (ie friend or subscriber) number of comments and likes. These are not necessarily time sensitive as an blue corner update can pop up a day or so later if more people are commenting or liking. The content in the news feed is the same as it was previously as it is articles/links, updates, photo tags, friend requests, events and group memberships. The main difference is when/how the news feed appears.

*If  you visit Facebook frequently throughout the day the news feed is exactly the same as the blue corner will only appear and showcase updates from your last visit.

How to Remove Top Stories

Not a fan of what Facebook has determined what you would be interested in? You can simply hide a top story. This can be done 2 ways. Hiding all of a person’s updates or just an individual update.

1. On the story itself, hover over the top right corner arrow and a drop down menu appears.

2. Once the drop down appears, click on the desired option.

hide Facebook news story

As there is not an option to subscribe to business pages, the hide option is different for personal pages and business pages . Above is for a personal page and below is a business page. One would have thought that we would have the option to subscribe to business pages and not personal pages as we are automatically subscribed to friends (which makes the subscribe NOT an opt-in; well except for those that want to be our friend and we ignore them, they can subscribe to us – if we opt-in).

hide business page news story

How to Unhide A Facebook News Feed Item

Change your mind or the fight the night before with your friend/significant other not really that bad? You can reverse and unhide updates that you previously hid.

1. In the left column under Favorites, hover on the News Feed so the edit pen appears.

2. Click on Edit

3. A pop up appears and you scroll down to find the update or app that you wish to unhide.

4. Click the x to the right and then Save. The update will appear in the news feed stream.

unhide Facebook news feed

New Facebook Lists

Not feeling the love for the Ticker or having Facebook decide which updates you see? A simple way to bring back “old Facebook” is to add your friends to a list. There are new list headers that Facebook has created for users.

New Facebook Lists

a. Close Friends. Adding friends to the close friends list is showing Facebook that you value their updates and they are important to you. This will help Facebook capture additional data about you and your friends. A key feature of the lists is that if you do not want to have the ticker or if your news feed is not showing all updates as it did previously, adding all your “friends” to the close friends and checking that list when you sign in/check your page gives you the old Facebook.

b. Smart Lists. Facebook has created Smart Lists for you that as you can see automatically places those you friend into a list category they deem proper based upon the information in both  your and your friends’ profiles.

Facebook Smart Lists

The lists are created from your profile and the information contained therein. Facebook is looking for users to have complete profiles to be able to pull the data from and match friends with others and place them into categories.

Smart Lists in Facebook

c. Sharing with Lists. Every update you create/add can be shared with a specific list by clicking friends on the update and checking the desired Friends you wish to share the update with.

sharing Facebook updates with lists

 How to Hide a Facebook Smart List

The smart lists are geared for better user interaction. However, there are some instances where there would be overlap or if you are just not interested in having these lists, you can hide them. They cannot be deleted, just hidden.

1. On the left column, if the list is displayed, click on the edit pen and check Always Hide. If the list is not displayed, click More and a box with all your lists appears. Click on the edit pen and check Always Hide.

2. If you wish to unhide the list, uncheck the Always Hide. You do not have to check Add to Favorites to unhide.

*you can delete old lists that you created or merge them with the new ones.

 

Facebook Old Lists

 Facebook is making it all about interacting with one another and sharing, sharing, sharing. These and the new timeline profiles which will be rolled out over the next few months to all users encourage us to put it all out there for everyone to see and join in with us.

Thoughts? What do you think about the Ticker and the News Feed being popularity driven?

 

Facebook Facial Recogniton More Harm Than Good?

 

 

facebook logo

photo credit: pshab

Amid much scrutiny and negativity, Facebook has announced that the much anticipated facial recognition feature will start rolling out for all users over the next few weeks. Just as quickly as it was announced, the blogosphere was buzzing with how we opt out of this feature. As typical with a new Facebook feature, this is an automatic opt-in and, as users, we are faced with opting out. As readers of this blog, you have heeded the warnings and have already opted out of photo tagging which is the basis for facial recognition.

Automatic Algorithmic Tagging

The technology behind facial recognition, according to Facebook’s Vice President of Product, Chris Cox in his conversation with Ben Parr back in December 2010, was built in house with some assistance from partners (which have not been disclosed). The automatic algorithmic tagging identifies people in photos and suggests that they be tagged by users. This is not that complicated if we think about it as we have our core group of friends and presumably we will be together and take photos for which we will be tagged in. So if there is another photo that has not been tagged, that photo would be part of the suggested tagging. While Facebook has high confidence in their algorithms/technology we know that nothing is foolproof and as we are unaware as to the depths as to what this facial recognition will be used for, we can only be cautious and highly consider opting out.

Facebook’s Who Is This

If you are an open networker on Facebook, are very curious or just wish to remain very public, you probably haven’t and will not opt out. Should that be the case, the question arises as to how does the suggested tagging work? Facebook, fills in the prompt of “Who is this” with suggestions as to who the people are.  Simply hit “save tags” and the photos are now tagged.

Future of Photo Tagging and Facial Recognition

Photo tagging is one of Facebook’s most popular features but we have to wonder if that will continue. Are heavy users of Facebook going to pay attention to this? Will they have heard about it if they were nose down in Facebook games and liking all day? Despite being picked up by major news stations and bloggers hitting the web in record time, we know that there are some that remain oblivious to this new default opt -in feature. The negativity that has surrounded this launch has Google sitting on their facial recognition technology, Google Goggles an app which looks at photos taken with a phone and then translate them into recognizable items, is waiting for the dust to clear and manage their launch in a manner that is more comfortable to users and devoid of the mistakes of Facebook.

Photo tagging is not really new technology and exists in places we never really think about. We recently were introduced in depth by Tom Martin in his Fox 5 interview about photo geotagging. Imagine taking a photo with your  iPhone, uploading to Facebook and it gets person tagged, you are now faced with not only the photo tagging with your name and it is also geotagged to pinpoint your location (of course there is a margin of error). This then raises the question what are they doing with this information? How is it being used in ways that we are unaware of?

How Else Is the Technology Being Used?

We are unsure really. We know that Facebook is becoming the new PI of sorts as it is being considered in Jury Selection and in some cases if insurance fraud. We are fearless when it comes to posting on Facebook. We never really think about when we post the photos and tag our friends. They are our friends, it is our profile and are conscious of trying to be as private as we can. The technology is so far ahead of us as by the time we find out about it, it has already been quietly tested and our privacy very possibly could have been compromised in testing. It does make you think about how far will technology take us in being able to identify us by facial recognition and also geotagging. We do not think about how our phones are pinging constantly to locate our whereabouts. This works so well in criminal cases but for those that are law abiding citizens how is our location being used without our knowledge?

Is the Facebook facial recognition doing more harm that good or is it not that big of a deal?