For personal or for brands, why the Facebook ticker is a home run.

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It's Ticker Time!
The ticker is the hot place to go to get your up to date information.
It’s been nearly a month since the new features were released to Facebook users. The outcry has calmed down and people have adapted to how Facebook has changed. These new features, we’ve come to see, are changing the way you use the social network. Top stories and the timeline (which isn’t officially out yet) are all great things but I feel that the ticker’s impact is far greater.

Let me explain, for those that don’t know, how the ticker works. The ticker is that pane on the right hand side of your Facebook page that shows you, in real time, all of your friends’ latest activity. The activity you see is based on one of several things:

1) If you’re friends with the person interacting with a post marked as public, then regardless of whether you’re friends or not with the posts author, you’ll see the interaction.

Look how this was shared.
I wasn't friends with the person who posted this Traditional Values thingy. I saw it because they posted it to public and I was friends with the person who commented.

2) “… is now friends with…” messages will be displayed to everyone your friends are friends with.

3) Status updates by friends only for friends will be shown as an entry on the ticker.

4) Applications get free reign to post to your ticker as well. Spotify is the biggest example of this, as I’m sure you’ve probably seen the various songs that your friends have been listening to.

So what’s so great about blasting to everyone everything that you’re doing? Here’s my brief list:

Non-friends can now find your posts much easier. I say let them comment.

Friends let other non-friends comment
Allow comments from ANYONE. What have you got to lose?
Social media sites are designed to make you social. Duh. I get that it doesn’t mean letting creepy people know things about you. But for me, it means expanding outside of my inner circle. If someone sees my status update through friends of my friends or just by finding me on the ticker, I say let them comment. There’s nothing wrong with meeting new people.

I don’t share every status update with public. Typically things about my kids or advice from my mom, I share with my friends only. This is the most powerful thing I think the new ticker does for you. I’ve had people I’ve never met before like and comment on my status updates. That’s cool and it’s being social.

Here’s how you allow it.
Want to change it so that way all public updates can be commented on by everyone? Here are the directions from Facebook’s site:

To change who can comment on your public posts,
Click Subscribers from the left side of your profile (timeline)
Click the top right Edit Settings button
Choose On as your Comments setting.

Stalking is waaayyy easier now.

It is so great to see the types of posts my friends engage with. It helps me get to know them a little better. Stalking makes it sound creepy of course but it’s really what being social is all about. “I didn’t know you liked that!” “You’ve been there before?” I was unnerved by people’s willingness to block the ticker when it was first released. This ticker allows you to learn more about the people you’re friends with. What’s not to like?

People seeing your stuff AGAIN is awesome.
The creepy eyeball picture... just in time for Halloween.

Brands get another shot at eyeballs.

Jeff Widman, co-founder of PageLever, found that the average lifetime of a post in the Facebook Newsfeed is 22 hours and 51 minutes for comments and Likes, and 28 hours and 57 minutes for per-post impressions. With the Top Stories changes and the ticker, your message that once would’ve vanished into digital land now can survive a little longer. If someone hasn’t logged into Facebook in a while, depending on how effective your message was, they might see your post in Top Stories. They might engage with it. Doing so will push that update into their ticker and therefore people have an opportunity to see it again. It’s a win, win but remember that if your message sucks, Top Stories, ticker, and timeline will still be worthless.

Also don’t forget that brands get an additional opportunity and not just organically to expand their audience by showing up in a person’s ticker feed. Someone might see a Like or comment, wonder who are you and click to find out. As you can see, the ticker offers big advantages to companies trying to market themselves.

Spotify rules

Information from applications hit the ticker too.

I’ve had a debate with several people about Spotify’s ticker usage. Anytime you listen to a song using the Spotify service, it will display an entry in the ticker. If a friend of yours sees this entry, they can click it and listen to the same song too. Useful or spammy? I’ll let you decide. It is a great idea from a marketing standpoint though. If the application you’ve created is setup to share this way you have a shot at reaching so many people very easily. In the past updates from applications hit the news feed which would cause most people to block them. By hitting the ticker it’s not as obtrusive and gives you a better chance at not being blocked.

Bottom line is the ticker rules.

It’s been my new addiction scrolling through the list and seeing what’s new. I laugh now at the backlash for this new feature. You know what? Next time you hear someone complain to you about feature changes or upgrades, just smile and nod your head. People don’t have a clue what they want. Overall, the new ticker is a home run for individuals and businesses alike.

What do you think?

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