How to Use 3 New Facebook Features for Better Social Media Marketing

image of facebook logo

Facebook likes to keep us on our toes, right?

They continue to evolve, thanks in part to the new competition from Google+. Facebook introduced three new features recently, including improved Photos, the Ticker, and Top News.

The buzz surrounding Google+ is forcing Facebook to improve their features and differentiate their offering. Competition is good.

But make no mistake, Facebook continues to dominate the social media scene. They recently had half a billion people log in on a single day. With those kinds of numbers, Facebook is still the big dog and still a smart place to reach customers.

So how do you as a marketer keep up with all the changes?

And how do you keep track of the new strategies that are going to give you the most giddyup for your time invested?

Here are three easy ways that you can take advantage of some new Facebook features to propel you ahead of the competition.

1. Upload those big, beautiful photos

The new photos are much larger.

When you upload an album you can create a mini-story that is eye-catching and provocative. Post more pictures on your Facebook Page and think about what story you can tell with the photos.

facebook screen shot

Showcase an event, your products, or (interesting) happenings at your office.

The other great thing about the new photo size is that they take up more space in the News Feed. You are claiming more real estate than a typical post. Remember to add comments onto the main picture in the Album so you can also get your message across, along with your great images.

Facebook screen shots

2. Keep track of The Ticker

The Ticker has probably been the most controversial of the changes Facebook introduced.

Some people like it, others can’t stand it, and some have hidden it.

I think the Ticker is a great real-time tool that marketers can benefit from if you use it wisely.

The way to get the most out of the Ticker is to encourage interaction. When you are getting more interaction throughout the day on your posts, other people can easily click on their friend’s Ticker update to see what their friend is commenting on or Liking.

In this Ticker post shown, I clicked on Mari Smith’s interaction to see what she was commenting on. She was commenting on another Facebook Page post that instantly expanded.

Now I can discover new Facebook Pages that my friends are commenting on.

Facebook screen shot

Your post can have a longer life if there is a continuing conversation. Any time someone comments, their friends have the potential to see the post and the thread of comments, then jump in and add to the conversation.

Post often (once or twice a day if possible) so you can pop into that Ticker more often.

Make sure you are sharing great, relevant content and ask questions related to that content in the update, just as did in the Ticker shown here.

3. Stay on top of the Top Stories

Top Stories aren’t actually completely new.

We used to have Top News and Most Recent on separate tabs. But now they are blended into one stream. Top Stories are what Facebook thinks you want to see, based on past interactions. Filtering the stories in the Stream is something that Google+ doesn’t (yet) do.

If you want to be a Top Story, make sure you are getting those comments and Likes.

Facebook screen shot

So how do you get more comments and Likes?

Again, ask questions and post good content. Mix it up if you are having trouble getting interaction. Post something social and fun.

These strategies aren’t new. But with Facebook’s changes, they have become more important than ever.

When you have started using these strategies, track your progress through the Insights. Watch your post interaction numbers to see if you are getting more comments and Likes. Adjust your strategy depending on what works well for your audience.

Once you start using these strategies, I bet your community will Like you even more.

About the Author: Are you ready to drink the Facebook Kool-aid? If so, Andrea Vahl has lots of handy tutorials on how to get started and how to effectively use Facebook, with the help of her alter ego, Grandma Mary. Get more from Andrea and Grandma here:

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Reader Comments (65)

  1. says

    I’ve found that posting photos alongside my content snippets leads to higher engagement. Like you mentioned photos are taking up a bigger section of someone’s News Feed, making them more eye catching. A picture is worth a thousand words!

  2. says

    Thanks for the tutorial on the new FB features, Andrea!

    The changes on FB can be difficult to keep up with, so this was a great tutorial on the latest new stuff.

    I look forward to checking out your “Grandma Mary” site!


  3. says

    Up until this point I thought the ticker was a pretty annoying new feature – but that’s an interesting spin on how best to use it.

    Thanks for another great article!

  4. says

    Thanks Andrea. I am definitely one of those people who think the ticker is annoying, but I will take advantage of any tool that helps. However, it wouldn’t help me as much, because most of my FB friends are personal friends. The stuff that shows up there isn’t really relevant to my business. I am sure many other businesses find the same thing, unless they have an account specifically setup for business.

    • says

      It definitely depends on your personal audience. I do like to mix business and personal connections on my personal profile. And I do believe that even if you think your FB friends are not interested in your business, they may know someone who is so it’s a good idea to post about your business occasionally. You never know where that referral may come from. Thanks Kalen!

    • says

      If your business page is encouraging conversations, comments, Likes, etc., then the friends of the people who are making those likes and comments have a chance to see what’s going on.

      In other words, it’s not a strategy about your friends, but about the friends of people who like your page. So you can still keep your personal FB account and your business FB page two very different things.

  5. says

    It’s a challenge to build a business blog, I must say-especially trying to formulate interesting information, but still staying true to your main goal: trying to gain new customers. These are really good tips. Social media is evolving rapidly, so by staying informed on the trends makes it easier to market to the masses online. Thanks for posting.

  6. says

    To stay on top of the top stories need more comment and like, does it mean I need more friends and followers? Thanks

    • says

      If you want to stay in the top stories, you just need more of your current fans Liking and Commenting and sharing your post. Here the focus is on good quality of posts, not necessarily quantity of fans.

  7. says

    I’ve been sprinkling photo spreads of my recent trip to Paris to discuss European design trends and lifestyles on some days and photos of recent art projects on other days.

  8. says

    There is so much to keep up with and to factor into how I prioritize my precious time that I devote to social media. Thank you for helping to clarify the recent changes, and helping me decide what to incorporate. We just had a fabulous advanced class in aromatherapy…and there is nothing like the happy, engaged faces of our students to convey the benefit they received. I will definitely take the time to post some of those pictures, along with commentary.

  9. says

    Does anyone here know how to best sync my feedburner feed to my Facebook Page? I know you can use Notes and Networked Blogs but wondering what Copyblogger thinks is the best way? I want people to click on the intro they see on Facebook and be taken to my site. I should also mention that I have to use the feed (I can’t just copy and paste the URL for the post) otherwise I have an issue with my photos not showing up (It’s a problem with my theme).

    • says

      We used to use Networked Blogs but now we post everything manually. I’ve found that automating things on social networks usually comes across badly. More work, but worth it to us.

      • says

        Thanks Brian. I kind of knew that but was hoping you wouldn’t say that. Was hoping for an easier way. So I’m curious, did you completely delete your Networked Blogs or just remove the feed going to Facebook?

    • says

      There are many ways to pull your posts in with tools – the Notes tool is going away for automated blog posting, but there is Networked Blogs, Social RSS and RSS Graffiti. Networked Blogs is the most widely used of those tools. But there is a problem with 3rd party tools getting collapsed in the News Feed. So when there is a Networked Blogs post, there is a small link under it that sometimes says “15 more posts from Networked Blogs” . It “hides” those other posts. So someone has to click that link to possibly see your post if it got buried. So ultimately it is better to post it directly onto your wall.

      That being said, sometimes it’s easier and not an option. So take a look at those three tools and see what looks best.

    • says

      I’ve found Hootsuite works well for me. I make one post on Hootsuite that gets distributed to Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin. I haven’t synched my RSS feed to Facebook rather I use Hootsuite to distribute my own articles and other articles I find of interest for my small business audience out to all my social media accounts. It also means I can schedule the time and date of my posts so I don’t bombard people.

      • says

        Hey Dane, I haven’t used Hootsuite. But do you know if it has the same problems as the 3rd party plug-ins discussed by Andrea (3 comments above)?

        • says

          I love Hootsuite too and use it to post to Facebook occasionally. Josh, to answer your question Hootsuite has had the same 3rd party issues as the other 3rd party tools do where the posts can be collapsed and hidden.

          But I have some interesting news, I don’t know if Facebook is making changes to those problems of the hidden posts but I’ve gone through almost four days of posts (which is tons for me) and haven’t found one single collapsed post from NetworkedBlogs, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck or some of the other popular tools. I only found that the 4Square posts had been collapsed. So maybe things are shifting. In any case, I still get lots of views when I do post from Hootsuite and comments so that’s the main thing to watch.

  10. says

    I appreciate reading your post Andrea. When the new Facebook changes came, I tried to discover how to maximize these new features. Your post facilitated my learning especially how to appreciate more the ticker. Staying in the top stories too has become a challenge especially that I’m joining groups that are active in their postings.

  11. says

    Thanks Andrea, for sharing a such wonderful Tut about how to use the Facebook 3 new features . I loved the New ticker feature of Facebook because it helps me to keep track on what my friends are doing on Facebook and gives me chance to become a part of it.

  12. says

    Sorry but, posting large pictures, keeping track of a ticking newsfeed and posting ‘big stories’ is not marketing and will not lead to bigger attraction.

    This is not a ‘how to use’ article, it’s merely an insight into new features, with no relevance to marketing. Marketing is forms of getting your products/services out there. This post might be useful to people/businesses that have thousands of Pages Likes, if so this post might be 10% helpful to them and may be of some use, but in general it will not increase interaction or ‘marketing’.

    “Stay on top of the Top Stories” by getting extra likes and comments, you make no effort to let people know how to do this, you just say do it. This is not in any shape or form helpful.

    Studying a ticker is idle and non-engaging and the time spent staring will most likely be wasted instead of engaging further.

    If I were to make my website images bigger and installed a newsfeed would traffic boom? No. This post is misleading as I was actually expecting some decent tips.

    • says

      Thanks for your feedback Todd. Great points as I may have missed more of an opportunity to talk about how to get more clicks and likes. I just pointed to asking questions and posting interesting content. I do think that while maybe making your pictures bigger on your website won’t work, I do think the suggestion to post more pictures as your Fan Page does work to get that interaction and engagement. The pictures take more space in the News Feed and get noticed. Marketing is about getting noticed.

      I agree that studying the ticker isn’t in your best interest time-wise but as the point was made to post more often so that those people who do study the ticker will see you more often. Thanks again for the feedback.

  13. says

    I’m reminded over and over that I must post more pics on Facebook. I just have to be creative about this since a. We want the pics to look good and I don’t walk around with a great camera; and b. My business – coaching and consulting – isn’t about imagery so much. It’s worth spending time figuring it out though.

    I really wish Facebook would make it easier to edit the pics that land in your photo strip so just about any image you upload could look good up top.

    Glad to see that Top Stories and the Ticker are working together to get your posts a longer shelf life. More inspiration to be engaging. Thanks for the post.

    • says

      Thanks Michael. Yes, it can be challenging to post pictures when your business may not be about pictures. Many pictures circulating right now are images with inspiring quotes which could be an avenue you use.

      Getting pictures to look crisp and sharp in both areas can be a real challenge and I don’t have the magic formula of resolution and size unfortunately – I wish I did!

  14. says

    Good points. I get a kick out of the ‘stay on top of the news’. Some of my Facebook friends take great pride in letting me know that such and such article is old news, as it was published yesterday.

    Facebook has made quite the changes, which I do like, as how there is prioritization through popularity etc., since, frankly, I found myself going on there daily out of habit, and was feeling that it is getting pretty boring.

  15. says

    The point about photos is well taken. However, I’d like to offer an alt-idea for this thread to ponder. That is, if everyone is shouting, is it still shouting? Does it matter if no one is being heard?

    No doubt, images are important. I use them too. At the same time, I’ve noticed that the latest version of FB leaves my images feeling like a needle in a haystack. Nearly every item in my in-coming stream now has an image which creates clutter (where once there was little). In addition, the varying sizes and orientation of each image are awkward on the eye such that I feel as if I’m ignoring them more than I’m scanning.

    FWIW, I’m considering switching to photos that are more banner-esque. That is, image or solid with text on top. On one hand I’m concerned about the push-back of taking a social space and being more direct and sales-y. On the other, if everyone else is going left, maybe it’s time to go right? A bit of push-back might just be part of staying above and beyond the fray, eh?

  16. says

    Since this is a copy WRITING blog, it should be free of grammatical errors. Here’s just one:

    “The buzz surrounding Google+ is forcing Facebook to improve their features and differentiate their offering. Competition is good.”

    In both instances in this sentence, the word “their” should be “its” as the author is referring to Facebook as a single entity.

  17. says

    what you say above is definitely an option for large blogger like you. but its quite difficult for small bloggers to do so. especially the top story one :-)

  18. says

    There will always be people who oppose change. The things is that in order to survive we have to adapt to change. Imagine all those marketing people for whom the changes in FB are not dreadful changes but opportunities. I don’t like everything in the social networks, but then without them our job would be much harder.

    I suppose that we should take advantage of the situation and not moan at everything, otherwise it seems that we are just plain lazy.

    After all, marketing is all about flexibility.


  19. says

    I have to say the ticker on Facebook has been one feature that I really didn’t like, until now. You gave me some great ideas on how to use it to my advantage.

  20. says

    When these features were launched I was very confused. I was not able to understand anything the moment I logged into Facebook but once I got acquainted to it I found these changes very interesting.

  21. Glenna says

    In your About The Author section at the end, you asked if we were “ready to drink the Facebook kool-aid”. I’m bringing this up because you may want to change that wording. To some people, the only time they remember a mass number of people agreeing to “drink the kool-aid” was a big news event and tragedy when a religious nut started a mass suicide and his congregation (including innocent children) were given cyanide in kool-aid. I don’t think you really meant to ask us if we were ready to commit Facebook suicide. If you are too young to remember that event in US history, at least remember that to a good portion of the current population, the term kool-aid used in that way still has lingering negative connotations. This tip is meant to let you know, in case you didn’t realize. Very good article, though!

  22. says

    Interesting points. Something to think about to see how we can best use these features to be heard. Most importantly, however, is how we can use these features to engage, rather than just add crowding to an already crowded place.

  23. says

    The features like sharing photos and top stories have made the facebook more useful for bloggers like me to get good traffic for their blogs. Google+ is also giving some good competition in this area to facebook.
    Anyway, you have made these points really good to make some free visitors for our websites.

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