Direct Line Blog

Warning: brands, keep out of my news feed!

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Facebook is now allowing companies that have fan pages to use the status update function. Previously fan pages were more stagnant and there was no automatic alert sent to fans when info on the page was updated or a new deal was offered, etc. To reach fans, the brand would have to send an inbox message. Now the status updates, which appear on fans’ news feeds, allow brands to communicate with their online community in real time.

David Berkowitz, director of emerging media and client strategy for 360i, said the new page design has potential to get the content on those fan pages even more exposure. “Now marketers can continually update their statuses and have that shared to at least a number of fans,” he said. “This can drive repeat interactions and expose those pages to new [potential] fans as well. The pages are designed for marketers to take a more active role, where before it was a lot easier to set it and forget it or just update the page with a new campaign. Now the marketers who are making the best use of Facebook are the ones who are checking in maybe even on a daily basis.”

Is it just me or does this idea seem familiar? Is Facebook now presenting this option to compete with Twitter?

Both following a brand on Twitter and becoming a fan on Facebook are opt-in actions. But the two sites are used for very different things. Berkowitz agreed and said it’s still early to say how Facebook and Twitter will compete because they both still serve their own purposes.

But am I the only one that would be more than a little annoyed if brands’ status updates started monopolizing my news feed? Maybe it’s because when I originally joined Facebook it was only for college friends, but to this day that’s why I use it: to connect with friends. As soon as I joined Twitter, though, I saw it as a marketing platform and began following multiple brands like Dunkin Donuts, Whole Foods and our sister mag PRWeek.

I know this seems like a double standard, but when I’m on Facebook I simply want to know more about my pals than what deal Coca-Cola is offering. Does anyone else feel similarly?
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