What to expect from Facebook in 2013, and What it Means for Businesses

Facebook had a big year in 2012. The company went public on the stock market, and although it was off to a rocky start, as a result the social media giant has been experimenting and learning better ways to advertise in order to monetize. Facebook made a major shift to mobile, and vastly expanded its mobile user base. Facebook also continued changing and adding some major new features to the site, including timelines and better business and brand pages. In this article I’ll take a look at what to expect from Facebook in 2013, and what it all could mean for businesses and for brands.

Push for Mobile

Facebook made a big push for mobile in 2012, and businesses and brands should take note and consider how they could incorporate Facebook mobile into their marketing strategy in the upcoming year. Facebook has even started implementing many of its apps and updates to the mobile version of their site before they reach the main site.

Facebook’s continued push for mobile likely means we will see more focus and support for local and location-driven apps and services. To get the most out of this, make sure that your business’ Facebook page is mobile-friendly, and for brick and mortar businesses that your information is optimized for location SEO.

Moving Further Away from Private Data

It seems like our privacy rights on Facebook slip further and further away from us with each update to the site. Facebook hopes to expand its network and make sure its users can be found and reached on Facebook.

Peter Heffring, president and CEO of social software company Expion, explains Facebook’s reasoning for their changes in privacy and their feed algorithm:

“Facebook is caught in a dilemma of trying to stay relevant to their users while maximizing the value to brands to spend more resource and money on their platform. The result of this challenge will favor brands, at the expense of the user, in order for Facebook to meet their revenue goals.”

Read more about this issue and more of Heffring’s social media predictions for the year here.

Facebook to introduce Social Search

While Google may be staking its claim out of the Facebook-dominated social network market with Google+, this year could really be Facebook’s chance to bite back. According to Mark Zuckerberg, the social network already handles a billion search queries a day, and it plans to launch a social search engine powered by user activity.

With Facebook’s immense and active user network, a Facebook driven social search engine could have a lot of potential, with tons of social data to draw from. When Facebook’s social search engine gets introduced, it will be yet another big reason for companies to make sure that their content is highly social and shared to remain visible for a more social SEO.

Timeline Cover Photo Policy

Facebook is cracking down on timeline cover photos to ensure that they adhere to Facebook’s Page Terms and conditions. These new policies go into effect on January 15th. Here are the most important things businesses should know about these terms, to make sure your business’ cover photo does not get pulled down:

  • No Violation of Copyrights
  • Only 20% of Photo Content Can be Text
  • No Contact Information
  • No Promotional Information
  • No Call to Action

Facebook is hoping to clean up the look of business pages, but this policy update can be pretty frustrating as the cover photo’s prime page real estate has been used by many as a perfect location to promote your company and share information. Read more about how Facebook is cracking down and updating policies for business and profile pages here:

Better Tools for Businesses

With Google+’s big push for business in 2012, I expect to see Facebook offer many more services and features for business in 2013 in order to remain competitive. We might see more business tools to make the social networking site more useful for businesses, like Google+ introduced last year.

I also expect to see much better advertising opportunities as a result of updated privacy conditions – most of these updates seem to clear the way for better and more targeted advertising, even though it may come at the user’s expense.

Going Public Means Bigger Expectations

Mark Zuckerberg learned the hard way that going public with Facebook greatly raised the social media page’s expectations to monetize, and Facebook is still figuring out the best ways to do this. Since expanding efforts on mobile, stock price has risen in a slow but steady comeback, recently topping $30 per share. Facebook’s social features could also make a big impact, and could open a lot of avenues to build and create better advertising capabilities.

Facebook Plans to hold a press event on January 15th, which should hopefully reveal more about the company’s plans for the upcoming year.

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Ross Wilson is a writer, musician, and technology guru. He has worked in many facets of technology and IT since 2005. He also plays in, records, and runs social media for several bands and projects around Portland, Oregon, where he lives with his cat, Lewis.

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