Just before the year turned, Facebook released their new profile design and the other day, they released their new design for pages.
At this point you can opt-in or not opt-in; however, come March 1st conversion will be mandatory, so… you might as well jump on the bandwagon…
So, what do these changes mean to you and for your business?
The first bit of good news is that the navigation links have moved to the left under the profile picture. This follows the changes Facebook had previously made to your profile, so now all of your pages will be in a logical, familiar location for your user.
WATCH: The similarities will in all likeliness result in more business pages as people use this tool as a way to create a separation between their personal and professional lives.
You’ll notice that business and fan pages also feature your photos, just like your profile and this will open up very cool design possibilities for those who stay on top of their page’s activity.
The profile picture has gotten slightly smaller in size, but most will re-size automatically and proportionately, so no worries there… (I checked) AND, there are now two filters for your posts. Posts that you make to your page and posts others make on your page. Meaning: You get to decide what your user gets to see first.
But here’s the biggest and best change!
As an administrator, you can now log in and comment as the page itself.
In the past, you could only make posts to your own page, as your page. Now you can leave your page, move externally throughout Facebook as your page (only on other “pages”) and interact as your page. What does this mean? More interactivity and more engagement between you and your clients and not just limited to the confines of the page itself. Pages will get more exposure as will the fans of the pages.
Here’s what else has changed…
As of right now, all comments and/or posts are listed based on their activity whereas before they were listed chronologically. (A nice feature; also easily manipulated. I expect Facebook to tweak this in the future if – you should think “when” – it gets abused.)
Additionally, you can now set up your notifications to alert you when someone makes a post or comments on something of yours. You will be able to see the interaction on your personal page and not just the fan page.
Another couple of cool features.
You now have the ability to set yourself as the founder / owner of your business page. This is a smart move as it allows you to now put a face with a business. Previously, there was no way to tell who owned what pages. This was a great way to hide if you wanted to stay hidden, but didn’t provide you with any options to publicize yourself as the owner of your business (other than through your profile pic or additional pages).
AND, you can now choose which additional pages you feature whereas before, external pages were selected randomly. This will drive a connection between the pages; increasing their individual exposure.
So, let’s say you are Mars, Inc. and you have a different Facebook page for each of your candy bars… (which they do; however, they have not yet taken advantage of this feature.) You now have the ability to deliberately feature each of your different candy bars (or whatever different products you may have OR different branches of your business) and link each page to the other. Before you had to create external links within additional pages and your user had to deliberately seek those links out. Now, it’s all there in the left sidebar!
Content from these pages will now show up in your feed; meaning you can move away from distributing just your own content and towards a source of consumption where you present your content and the quality content of others.
If you are an administrator… a couple of things you should do right away…
1.) Go ahead… take the plunge and opt-in for the new format…
Don’t like change? So sorry, because Facebook plans on making the change mandatory by the end of the month. You might as well get used to the new format and start utilizing it.
2.) Check the settings on your page; specifically under the categories.
Some have defaulted over to the first option and you want to make sure you’re category & sub category is accurate. This is the 2nd bit of GREAT NEWS because it used to be that you were locked into your category for life… Now you have the ability to change this as your business grows, develops & changes.
Click “Edit Page,” then “Basic Information” to select your category and subcategory.
3.) Check your settings for notifications and how they get delivered to you.
When a fan responds, you want to be able to interact with them immediately. Going back and forth, consistently to check for comments in the past was a pain and there hasn’t been an automated way to do it well. If you have a lot of fans, this might not be a good idea for you, but if you are building your list from scratch, this will be a very welcome feature and tool.
Under “Account” click on “Account Settings” and then click on the “notifications” tab. Scroll down until you see the 4th chunk; which should be “Pages”. Click on “change email settings for individual Pages”. From there, you will be able to check or uncheck whichever pages you’d like notifications for.
4.) Choose photos.
Check your profile page and make a conscious decision which photos you want to feature at the top of your page. Go ahead, get freaky… Show off your creativity! There are some unique design opportunities here.
Email me if you’re interested.
5.) Choose to post of one of your pages or as yourself.
Now you get to choose. meaning; you have the option to comment as yourself or as your page… Nice choice and a great option for small business owners who want to give a personal touch / face to their business.
Go to your fan page and click on “Edit Page” and then on “Your Settings”.
Either check or uncheck the box “Always comment and post on your page as your page”
6.) Check your wall preferences.
Who can post on your wall? Everyone or just yourself? If you’re a small company… just starting out you want to encourage that interaction, but you need to make sure that you can monitor your wall or you open yourself up to spammers. If you’re a large company, your wall may thrive on the public interaction. If you don’t have the commitment to maintain your page or, if you are more private, you may want to have exclusive control over what gets posted.
Go to your fan page and click on “Edit Page” and then to Manage Permissions.
Here you can control whether or not your users can post comments and other media.
7.) Change the names of your applications; specifically Static FBML.
Static FBML is one of the most common tab application within Facebook.
Yet, it doesn’t have an icon image or the ability to customize one.
It’s just that obnoxious “<->” symbol.
What you can do, however, is give your Page’s apps more detailed titles instead of the one or two word title you were limited to before.
To change your tab titles, click “Edit Page,” then “Apps,” then “Go to App” and you’ll be able to change the name.
Bottom line is that page owners now have a greater reach and more customizable options across the medium know as Facebook which will lead to an increase in interaction.
Have you been playing around with the new design? Post your feedback here and let me know how you like it.
until next week…