What’s up at Facebook now? Facebook recently made a number of changes, most notably the change to the Like button and a new Subscribe feature. Here's a brief look at the changes and the possible implications these will have on non-profits, associations and other membership organizations.
Chris Taylor’s Mashable post, “Facebook Changes Again: Everything You Need to Know” outlines most of the recent changes. Here’s a brief overview of the changes he outlines:
- You’re going to get a Timeline — a scrapbook of your life. In a complete overhaul of its ever-evolving profile page, Facebook is introducing Timeline. …Timeline is in beta now, and will be opt-in to start. In the long run, it will become the new default profile page.
- You don’t have to just Like something — now you can [verb] any [noun]. Remember when all you could do to something on Facebook — a video, a comment, a product, a person — was Like it? …The social network has launched Facebook Gestures, which means that Facebook’s partners and developers can turn any verb into a button.
- Facebook apps need only ask permission once to share stories on your behalf.
- All “lightweight” information is going to the Ticker. Status updates, photos from a wedding or a vacation, changes in relationship status…that kind of trivial detail has been banished to the Ticker, a real-time list of things your friends are posting now that scrolls down the side of your screen.
- You can watch TV and movies, listen to music, and read news with your friends — all within Facebook. … The ticker will tell you what your friends are watching, listening to or reading, allowing you to share the experience with them by clicking on a link.
And another new feature… Facebook has also introduced a “Subscribe” button
Facebook also announced the creation of a Subscribe button. According to the Facebook blog, the new Subscribe button will allow you to:
- Choose what you see from people in News Feed
- Hear from people, even if you’re not friends
- Let people hear from you, even if you’re not friends.
In his Mashable post, “Facebook Launches Subscribe Button for Following Anyone’s Public Updates,” Ben Parr explains that“the button gives you a way to follow the content others are posting without actually becoming Facebook friends with them. In a lot of ways, it’s like following somebody on Twitter. …The Subscribe feature is totally optional — you can choose not to subscribe to anybody, and you can choose to turn off the Subscribe button on your profile if you don’t want to gain any subscribers."
What are the Implications of these Changes For Non-Profits and Associations?
So what are some of the leading nonprofit bloggers advising? Here’s an overview of some posts we’ve read over the last week:
Facebook guru, John Haydon blogged about the changes in “Facebook nuked the ‘Like’ button, now what?” He cautions everyone to “remain calm … if you’re worried about how to control conversations about your nonprofit.” And suggests that those who are “freaking out” might have realized that you were “over-focused on accumulating fans in the first place. And were shocked to learn that getting a new fan doesn’t mean you’ve earned a spot in their news feed.”
So – asks John Haydon – what does this mean for Page administrators?
- Be interesting. Because Pages are now more open, it’s even more important that you have a content strategy that keeps people interested.
- Listen. Because conversations about your nonprofit are harder to monitor, it means taking another look at using tools like Social Mentionto keep track of what people are saying.
- Evolve. Stop posting updates just to boost your Edgerank, and start creating deeper and broader discussions with Facebook users.
Joanne Fritz at Nonprofit.About.com asks: Why Facebook Changes Should Wake Up Nonprofits?
Fritz notes that “for nonprofits that have Facebook fan pages, getting attention is going to be harder than ever and require more time and skills. Facebook will decide what is important and what isn't, and what is "quality" content or not. Figuring out what works best will demand attention, testing, and learning from everyone else.”
She also suggests “the other "must do" for nonprofits, I think, is to use the Causes app where followers can take actions such as donate, run their own campaigns for your cause, and take other actions. That is because actions on Causes will be favored as quality content within Facebook and will be more likely to show up in your fans' newsfeeds.”
Will These Changes Impact Programs Such as Cause Marketing?
In his Huffington Post blog post, "What Facebook’s Changes Mean for Cause Marketing," Joe Waters suggests that “nonprofits and businesses shouldn't stop doing Facebook like programs. We need good online cause marketing options. The key is to look beyond the first kiss and encourage and reward frequent and deeper interaction. Facebook likes are a good start between nonprofits and users. But it's what happens next that proves whether it's like or love.”
How do you think these changes to Facebook will impact your organization? Let us know in the comments below.