Facebook has been making subtle changes for a while now, but after the recent F8 conference in San Francisco, Mark Zuckerburg announced that the whole look of Facebook will soon be changing with the release of “Timeline.” But how will this affect online marketers? Here are some things online marketers should be aware of before the arrival of the new Facebook.

1. “Likes” will be a thing of the past. With the new Facebook, anyone can “[verb] a [noun].” In other words, they’ll be able to do a lot more than “like” a company. Companies will be able to get creative and make up their own verbs then encourage their fans to use them. This will help brands stand out from the crowd and it will also make interacting with the page more interesting. Example: For a clothing store’s page, instead of fans “liking” something they want to buy, why not choose the terms “want” or “need” so fans can express their desire for the newest trends that the store carries.

2. Your page “likes” will no longer show up in the news feed. Prior to Facebook Timeline, when our friends “liked” a business page, the activity was posted in our news feed. This was a valuable way to spread the word about your business page on Facebook. However with the arrival of Timeline, stories like this will show up in the “Ticker” which is a small, fast-moving newsfeed that scrolls on the top right of the page above the Facebook Chat. While people may still see their friends’ “likes” in the Ticker, it’s not as prominent as the activity appearing in the news feed. Solution: Make your page engaging. When you have a truly engaging, fun Facebook page, people will want to “like,” it and interact with it and it won’t matter as much whether their friends are doing it too.

3. Facebook will be putting more of an emphasis on engagement. In the past, Facebook has been more concerned with the numbers, i.e. how many members the social network has. Now that the network is up to 800 million members and still climbing it has decided it’s time to concentrate more on engaging those members. Timeline is meant to be more than just status updates to tell your friends what you’re doing. It takes it a step further and actually creates an online scrapbook of your entire life; things you like, do, place you’ve been, people you know, etc. Timeline will make Facebook more engaging and encourage people to spend even more quality time on it. For companies, users spending more time on the network means more opportunities for them to interact and spend time with the brand.

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