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5 Facebook Changes You May Have Missed

It’s been quite an eventful year for Facebook. They’re rolling out a new newsfeed and while you were sleeping, they’ve been testing and adding other new features here and there that you may or may not have noticed.

Here’s what you may have missed or noticed:

New Cover Photo Rules: if you run a fan page, you’re probably aware of the strict guidelines associated with pages, what you can and can’t do, and how Facebook policies can literally shut a page down. It’s some serious stuff. However early last month, Facebook modified a few rules without any alerts to the community. Sneaky Facebook. However, leave it to a few keen bloggers and the secret was out. While some old rules still apply, Facebook has loosened up their criteria  for cover photos.

Originally the guidelines regarding cover photos said:

“All covers are public. This means that anyone who visits your page will be able to see your cover. Covers can’t be deceptive, misleading or infringe on anyone else’s copyright. You may not encourage people to upload your cover to their personal timelines.

“Covers may not include

i. images with more than 20 percent text;

ii. price or purchase information, such as ‘40 percent off’ or ‘download it on’;

iii. contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go into your page’s ‘About’ section;

iv. references to Facebook features or actions, such as ‘like’ or ‘share’ or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features; or

v. calls to action, such as ‘Get it now’ or ‘Tell your friends.’”

If you check Facebook’s page guidelines, the majority of this language has been removed so that it reads:

“All covers are public. This means that anyone who visits your page will be able to see your cover. Covers can’t be deceptive, misleading or infringe on anyone else’s copyright. You may not encourage people to upload your cover to their personal timelines. Covers may not include images with more than 20 percent text.”

Rules ii to v have been removed which gives marketers a bit of breathing room when it comes what they can and can not do with their cover photos and allowing for some creativity with their text. This change ties in with the new Facebook redesign, which brings cover photos into the limelight by placing them directly in the new newsfeed therefore putting a greater focus on them.

Facebook Messenger calling: If you’re using WhatsApp or Viber, you might already be aware that Facebook now allows you to make free calls within the U.S. Now, it’s also letting its UK users join in on the fun. To make the free calls, users must download the messenger app onto their iPhone, iPod, or iPod Touch devices. This immediately makes communication easier between the U.S., Canada, and UK.

While this feature has no immediate benefit to marketers, it does show that Facebook is serious about the mobile world and perhaps, those Facebook phone rumors aren’t so far fetched.

Hashtags on Facebook: Yes, it’s true. They’re everywhere else so why not Facebook? The Wall Street Journal was the first to leak the news and similar to Google+ and Twitter, hashtags on Facebook will help organize topics and conversation so that they’re easier to find and locate. Hashtags will also aid with the new graph search tool that Facebook introduced last year. And of course, like anything else, hashtags will be used in advertising, sponsored stories, and promoted posts. This has yet to be confirmed but why wouldn’t they? Twitter uses them for promoted tweets so why wouldn’t Facebook?

Threaded Comments: I can’t tell you how much I love this new feature. I was happy when Facebook allowed me to tag someone in a comment when I replied but to directly reply underneath their comment just ups the ante so thank you Facebook. I feel as though you finally listened to me. Facebook has had this in place for quite some time but it was only available to users with 10,000 likes and only if they knew how to turn on the option within their settings. Talk about Facebook being sneaky again. Now this feature is available to anyone with a page. They’re even nice about prompting you now.

Post from anywhere on Facebook: Say what? I saw this change recently and it’s still very much in beta however as a lucky Facebook guinea pig I noticed a mystery box up on top of my page that allowed me to post a status update to either my profile or any of the pages I managed vs having to go to each property individually. The box allows you to add a text post, post a photo, or share a link. I think this could be very useful if you’re a multiple page admin and want to quickly post on the fly. I really hope Facebook keeps this one place.

Have you noticed any of these Facebook changes? Tell us which ones you like and how you’re using them in the comments below.

Viralheat allows you to manage and monitor Facebook so that you are always up to date with the latest changes. You can try Viralheat for free for 14-days with any of our accounts.

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