It seems that not a week goes by without one social networking site introducing changes, which influence the way in which businesses manage their social media marketing campaigns. This week the changes come from the Facebook.

In recent weeks there have been a few rumours that Facebook’s crown could be slipping with users spending less time on the platform then they once were. I questioned whether Facebook were about to slip of the top spot in terms of social networks a few months ago.

However, it looks as though we were all misled, as Facebook hot on the heels of the new timeline announcement, this week have introduced yet another change which is set to impact how we as users of the platform use the networking site.

The latest change being introduced to Facebook is the introduction of over 60 – yes that’s right SIXTY – applications. These applications range from those which allow users to share and receive new recipes, through to fitness applications, restaurant reviews and EBay.

At the unveiling of the Facebook Apps, at an exclusive invite only event in San Francisco earlier this week, Carl Sjogreen, director of platform products for Facebook said: “Whatever you love, whatever story it is you want to tell, you can add that to your timeline.” Before adding: “You can now enhance your timeline with apps that help you tell your story, whether you love to cook, eat, travel, run, or review movies.

“Once you’ve added an app, you can begin updating your timeline with your activities as they happen. For example, if you love design, shopping or fashion, you can add the Pinterest or Pose apps to make your favourite items part of your timeline.

“If you love to cook, you can add the Foodily app to your timeline and share your latest dishes. If your friends have added the Foodily app, you can discover new recipes with each other, as you’ll see their updates in the ticker and their timeline, and possibly News Feed

“Our vision for Timeline and our vision for the application platform is whatever you love and whatever story you want to tell, you can add that to your Timeline”

Whilst it is clear that for those who decide to add the applications to their Facebook timeline the enjoyment they get from the social network will be enhanced, there is one question which businesses, who use Facebook as part of their marketing strategy, will be asking.

“How Will It Benefit Our Social Media Marketing Campaign?”

At first glance it is understandable that many will see this latest change as a way for Facebook to get back to its roots of being a networking site for individuals to share information; and therefore not beneficial to social media marketing.

But, after closure inspection of the Facebook Apps, I’d like to pose the suggestion that perhaps this latest update could benefit YOUR social media marketing campaign.

Firstly, despite being an American company at heart, Facebook have been careful not to alienate their British and European users with the selection of apps currently available, which is why you’ll find apps for AutoTrader, Lyst and Artfinder within the list of sixty; showing that there is a way for British companies to break into this market.

On being included in the sixty applications, Ian MacDonald, Head of Consumer Marketing at Auto Trader, said: “The social web has made the traditional ‘peer opinion’ that influences peoples’ buying behaviour more important than ever.” Adding that the inclusion of the AutoTrader app will see people “quickly canvas the opinion of their friends, discover new cars, and make their Timelines even more reflective of their lives and ambitions.”

Whilst it is great to see the inclusion of British companies within the Facebook apps; the biggest benefit which I can see at the moment for all businesses using Facebook as part of their social media marketing campaign is that users of the social network will spend more time on the site.

By users spending more time on the site and sharing more information, it’ll become easier for businesses to target advertising and updates to their target audience, at the same time as reaching out to other audience sectors who share similar interests.

And with users sharing more information via these Apps, Facebook are also building an alternative to the search engines, which we’ve all come to rely upon for all sorts of information, which if you play the game correctly and utilise the new changes to your advantage could potentially see your business gain more leads via the power of social media marketing.

Do you agree that the new Facebook apps can help improve a businesses social media marketing campaign? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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