Facebook has become an integral marketing channel for more companies than ever before. There are over 500 million active users on Facebook, and as a result, the site must stay up-to-date and forward thinking about how they make changes to individual Profiles, company Pages, privacy settings, and so on. Unfortunately in the past, Facebook has been known to make sweeping changes with little to no warning, sometimes causing confusion. As we all learn from our mistakes, it looks Facebook has as well. Earlier this month, Facebook started changing company Pages to a new format, but this time taking a more tactful approach. Presently, Page administrators have the ability to preview their Pages in the new format prior to Facebook pushing the updates live to all Pages on March 10th. These consist of significant changes that will not only affect Facebook Pages' look and feel moving forward, but will also change the way in which companies interact with individuals and even other companies.
If you currently are an administrator of a Page, you have likely noticed the following notification when viewing your Page.
We encourage you to take the time to review your Page in preview mode while you can, and make any necessary adjustments or settings changes before Facebook makes the permanent switch. If you are satisfied, you have the option to upgrade your Page(s) to the new format, but if you choose this option you will not be able to revert back to the previous version. With Facebook's extensive update, there are new changes and new opportunities available to you, many of which we've summarized for you here.
First, the most apparent change is that the format for Pages closely resembles individual profiles, with the tabbed layout removed and replaced with navigational elements under the main photo. As many marketers experienced, the tabbed format required some creativity in terms of naming conventions as the character space was limited for each tab. With the new navigation on the left side of the page, the character limitations that existed with the tabs are less of an issue; but just as you could only have a certain number of tabs, there is a maximum allotment for six navigation elements (before selecting 'more'), so use that space wisely.
Other changes tied to the new Page update include:
- A photo strip across the top, similar to profiles. These photos are the most recent photos that you post to your Wall. They could also be photos that you tag your Page in.
- Sizing changes to the main image for the Page (reduced from 200 x 600 pixels to 180 x 540).
- The description that used to appear under the main image will be moved to the Info tab.
- The category of the Page will be visible at the top of the Page (e.g. local business, website, etc).
- The option to make the Page administrators visible so there is a transparency of the individuals contributing to the Page content.
- Email notifications when someone posts to the Page.
In addition to the above, the most significant change in my opinion is how administrators can now determine whether they want their posts on the Page to come from the Page itself, or from them as an individual. Companies also used to be very limited in terms of their ability to reach out and engage with Facebook users beyond their Page. Until this update, users could view the Page, post to the wall, and the Page could reply or interact with those posts, but that was about the extent to which Pages could engage with others. Now companies can become more involved with the community on Facebook as they can "like" other Pages (instead of just favorite them) and comment on other Pages as a Page/company, similar to how individual users interact on Facebook. One challenge for many marketers has been building "likes" of the Page. Now that Pages can travel beyond the walls of their own Page, it will likely become a lot easier to create awareness and buzz when new Pages (or perhaps older ones that haven't been able to build a strong following) start using this channel for marketing.
These changes by Facebook expand the opportunities for companies, and will likely result in Facebook becoming an even more powerful social media marketing tool. So as mentioned, take some time to review how your Page(s) look with these new updates and familiarize yourself with the new opportunities available to you. And as always, let us know if we can help in any way with your Facebook Page and/or other social media marketing channels.