What do Facebook changes mean to B2B marketers?

Last month, Facebook managed to do what no man (or network) has done before: unite almost a billion people in the space of a few hours.

Unfortunately, the social network missed the opportunity to direct its unprecedented power towards some benevolent purpose such as turning off the lights for an hour to save a over 100,000 years of electricity or not rushing to sell every equity you own to prevent a second dip.

Nope, Facebook merely upset us all by changing the way we get our newsfeeds. Now, news will present itself in a single stream with the most interesting stories featured at the top, kind of like a newspaper.

Another feature called Ticker is also on its way, and Facebookers can expect that to be able to see Ticker (real time info on what their friends are up to) at the top of their screen and join the conversation. And finally, generic ‘likes’ will give way to specifics, such as ‘listening to’, ‘reading’ and ‘eating’.

Once the world has recovered from the sheer shock at the fact that Mark Zuckerberg, the guy who barely batted an eyelid as he screwed over his best friend, would even considering changing his platform without consulting hundreds of millions of strangers, some might start to ask what, if anything, does this mean to the B2B marketer?

Well if advertising on Facebook is something you do and want to continue to do, then you’ll ultimately need to rethink your approach as the traditional ‘impressions-led’ method will no longer be a valid way of measuring your online social success. Instead, you will need to find some sort of ‘engagement’ metric (and I’m sure someone in Silicon Valley will oblige us with such a thing in no time).

Brands will need to dig deeper to find how people engage with their business and what they get from it, be happy to be more passive in their interactions, and consider how the experiences they create enhance existing experiences.

It’s a tough call, requiring a truly holistic approach, which will mean businesses will have to make sure they leave their social marketing in the hands of someone who truly knows what they are doing, and really understands the inner workings of the business (but I guess that’s our target for any role!).

You have been warned.

Heather Baker is founder and Managing Director of award-nominated B2B PR, Social Media and Video Production Consultancy, TopLine Communications. The company helps clients in a range of industries to build thought leadership, through integrated communications campaigns. Heather is the editor of two popular blogs, The B2B Guide to Social Media and the UK Business Blog, which focuses on market entry for international firms. She has a MA in Psychology from the University of Cape Town and is currently studying for her MBA at the London Business School.