Facebook definitely used 29th February, 2012 - the one extra day this leap year in a way that was expected and rumored too. By now you must be aware that the new Facebook brand pages, quite similar to your personal profiles are out there waiting for you to explore. Facebook has given a month to explore and customize it according to your business and community needs. I have been playing with it since last night and must say some things were as expected and some have surprised me as Facebook always does. Shared below are my initial thoughts on the new change or the rebirth of the Facebook business pages.
1. Cover Photo is everything: Till now the page admins had the choice to display what would be their landing pages but not any more. The Facebook brand cover page with the timeline is your landing page. The Facebook cover page, which takes an image less that 800 pixels wide now becomes the place to showcase your business. Even the display picture changes and it takes a size, which is less than 100 pixels. Well it won’t be a change that would be liked by lot of people especially the ones who have invested money and time on designing all the lovely Welcome Pages and display pictures. However I think the reason Facebook has done this is because of it’s policy to primarily increase engagement on the wall and by introducing this feature everything remains on one single page. At times we have seen after liking the page, most of the times the fan is not aware about the real discussions happening on the wall. So this new feature will not only allow a fan to like a page if he wants but in the same time he can quickly see the snapshot of discussions happening on the wall. This increases the probability of the fan to engage on the wall. After all this is what Facebook has been pushing from sometime now - increasing fan engagement on the wall.
2. Facebook Apps are better positioned: One would be wondering as to where have my Facebook apps vanished. Well they are there and right at the bottom of the cover page. However you can have a maximum no. of 12 apps and display 4 in a row at one time. The new changes don’t impact any of the apps that you have created for your brand engagement with fans. For example if you were running a contest it would be still doing the same job, only challenge would be showing the relevant tabs. As for example in the old design you could actually make the fan aware of the new app that you have designed, etc. but now you need to showcase the important ones in the first five available slots. The other way to display them could be on the wall itself by posting interesting content, which might allure the fan to click on the app displayed above. This move also is a setback to all those brands who had created an army of apps for everything without even thinking what the need is. Creating ‘n’ number of apps doesn’t make a brand any cooler and if done randomly then it fails to create any excitement in the fan.
3. Lovely Timeline feature: The latest Facebook pages have been built to increase engagement on the wall among fans and the timeline feature provides it. As a fan the navigability of the Facebook fan page has become really simple. I can go to a particular month or a year with just a click with the new timeline feature. Isn’t that cool?
Apart from this if you would like to highlight an important milestone of your company then there is the Milestone feature that is a new addition to the status messages. So with the Milestone feature now you can share a new product launch or share a new event with fans. I think this is really cool feature to share those small joys of your business and share it within your community. A great way to connect with fans but then hopefully brands don’t misuse it by sharing the fan count milestones.
The timeline feature also provides you the way you want to display your content. If you click on the Highlight icon just on top of the content, then you can take the maximum width of the page and display it more prominently. I feel this feature works well with images that you are sharing on Facebook. So not only does the image get the maximum width but you can also rearrange the image and position according to your needs. A cool way of designing the timeline.
Another small feature that Facebook has introduced is the small bar at the top of the page, which pops up when you are scrolling down. The bar helps your navigation by which you can access any other Timeline, Now, Highlights feature in the page. Just makes it easier for navigation.
4. Content has more visibility: One of the earlier complaints by the Facebook experts has been that most of the content is lost with time and there is no way to get more attention. With the new changes this has been resolved and from now on you can pin the most favorite content at the top. This could be content about contests you run or which is driving more engagement, etc. By doing this you are gaining more visibility and will definitely drive more engagement on the page.
5. Admin Panel becomes handier: The admin page gets a new look and has been made easier for the page admins. The admin page is right at the top of your page and gives a quick snapshot of Notifications, list of new Likes, Insights and Messages. All this data is in one quick snapshot to make the life of the page admins very easy to work more efficiently.
Activity log, a feature that comes with the Admin page is a great way to see all activities that have been performed on your page. The Activity Log has categories defined so as an admin if you want to see only your posts, photos, comments, etc. you can do so quickly. This is just amazing for a page administrator to keep a close eye on what all is happening on the page.
Apart from this now fans can directly contact the brand by sending message only if the brand has kept the option active. This option could be great especially for local businesses who have a small community. It would be interesting to see if bigger brands opt in for this service, which I doubt.
In addition to this, the brand can also control from now on what user content goes on the page. Initially either you allowed a fan to post or restrict him but now you can keep the page open for discussion but then you also have the right to regulate the content that is being generated by users. To select this option navigate to Admin->Manage permissions.
5. Insights: The new Insights page, which was prominent in the old design, is now smartly added as a snapshot in the Admin panel and if you click on ‘See More’ it takes you to the detailed Insights page. Not much change has happened on the Insights page with the new design. However the interesting stats ‘How many people are talking to you’ which Facebook had introduced some time back has got a new look. Although you can find the same stats alongside the display picture, the timeline provides an activity feed based on a certain month. So you can see how many people have liked the page on a particular month, how many were talking about it and how many checkins it had or visited it. Must say the data has become smarter.
For me a change is always for good and yes the new Facebook brand page changes will need a bit of redesign but come with lot of potential. Another smart thing that Facebook has done is that it did the same changes for the Profile page and after a considerable gap it has now introduced more or less same features to its brand pages. So my understanding is that the changes won’t be a big surprise for Facebook users and brands. We have changed to the new look and we are going to work more on it in the coming days.
Let us know what are your thoughts on the new Facebook brand pages but make sure you do so before end of this month otherwise Facebook will do it for you which you might not like. For more help check out this useful video created by Facebook Marketing Solutions.
Oh! I would leave with one very interesting thought for you to ponder over. Where would the Facebook ads be showcased? Will the new timeline feature help it 🙂