If you work in social media marketing in-house or with an agency, you are most likely familiar with the news that Facebook recently rolled out a new format for Facebook Pages. The majority of regular Facebook users will immediately notice that Pages appear extremely similar in format to user profiles. This is because Facebook espouses a “consistent” user experience across their platform as explained in this official company note.
Upgrading to the new Pages format is not mandatory until March 10, but in the meantime, Page administrators can elect to upgrade at their leisure. In order for you to gain familiarity with each of the new changes, Activ8Social has put together the following walk through based on the step by step preview Tour provided by Facebook. We hope this helps you with your Page’s transition and don’t forget to click on the images below to view the screen shot in full resolution!
The first thing you will notice in the new format are the five photos at the top of your Facebook Page. This new photos highlight section should come as no surprise to you as it is the same layout already featured on user profiles. The purpose of this preview section is to encourage more “Likes” on Pages as fans can get a quick sense of your Page’s photo content and quickly scroll over to “Like” button right above.
There are two important caveats to remember as you manage the photo content of your page. Number one, page administrators have the ability to hide any photo that appears in the preview section at the top. This is extremely important because it means that you can feature historical photo content that is a strong representation of your company’s brand or your personal brand. Number two, keep in mind that fan photos will never appear in the photo preview section so you don’t have to worry about inappropriate content appearing.
Facebook places such a heavy emphasis on photos because it believes that photos are the world’s universal language. Photos break down all language barriers and enable your fans or consumer to relate to you no matter their nationality. Facebook also of course hosts more photos than any other website in world so the social networking behemoth places a premium on this type of content.
The second change you may notice is the shift from tabs on the top of the Page to a navigation bar on the left side below the profile picture. This is mostly an aesthetic design revision as it does not affect the functionality of current custom tabs. However, we can imagine that many Page administrators and web designers will not be happy with this change as it somewhat deemphasizes tabs and may also cause initial confusion with Facebook users who are accustomed to seeing the tabs at the top of the Page.
One benefit of the shift from tabs to left navigation links that Facebook representatives are pushing is the increased real estate for naming applications. With tabs Facebook developers and Page administrators often had to rely on acronyms or abbreviated phrases to name their apps. Now, it is possible to labels applications with more descriptive titles that are much longer.
3. Wall Filters
Another feature change included in the roll out is the visibility of top posts from your fans. The ability to toggle between displaying your Page’s updates and also displaying you fan’s updates on the wall previously existed on the old Page format. The difference is now the “Everyone” filter shows the most commented on and Liked posts. These popular posts are pushed to the top of the wall feed of your Page’s fan posts. It’s nice that Facebook carried over this functionality from the old Page format so that fans can filter out posts from other fans and view only content from the actual page if they desire.
Page administrators, while in “Admin View” also have the option to view previously hidden posts (which equals spam). Last October, Facebook rolled out the Spam filter for Facebook Pages and since that time the Spam filter has appeared as an option alongside the 3 other options of your Page’s post only, fan posts only, and both the Page and fan posts.
4. Admin View
Perhaps the most important addition in functionality to Facebook Pages outside of when FBML tabs were made available is the ability to use your Facebook Page to interact with Facebook. The inability to act as both administrator of the Page and as a Facebook user mutually exclusive from one another is a functionality that was long lacking. What this means in plan English is that you can actually post now on other Facebook Pages and user walls with the identity of your Facebook Page. You can also see the activity from your Page in your personal news feed and receive notifications when people interact with your Page.
There are numerous ways of posting from your Facebook Page which may prove useful or even profitable in the long run. Ideas include but are certainly not limited to running a small scale promotion on your Page where the prize is a post directly from the Page to the winner. Admins can also cross promote between Pages they own or negotiate a quid pro quo by trading updates between Pages. Similar to how celebrities and athletes are receiving payment for status updates, influential personalities may now also experience payment for posting directly on Pages of companies looking for endorsement.
You can switch between your Page and personal identity on the right side of the page. Be forewarned though that Facebook’s usage of “Admin View” is a bit confusing because the Admin toggle on the left navigation is not the same as switching between your Page and personal identity to post on Facebook!
Last but not least we should point out there are a bunch of new features under the hood in the “Edit Page” section. If you click the “Edit Page” link on the top right of the Page, you will be taken to the ”Manage Permissions” options on the left navigation of the admin interface. This is the default view each time you click to edit your page. Once there, you should notice two new features that did not previously exist, which are the Moderation Blocklist and Profanity Blocklist.
The Moderation Blocklist basically boils down to a keyword filter. For example, if a major brand wanted to block users who post about their dislike for the brands (let’s say Pepsi fans on a Coca-Cola Facebook Page), they might consider adding the keyword “hate” so that all posts containing that word initially end up in the spam filter. If a post with the word “hate” mistakenly ends up in the Spam filter, you can easily make it visible by using the “Admin View’ on the left navigation as described above.
If you click “Your Settings” in the admin interface of your Facebook Page, you will notice another two options that did previously exist. The first relates posting on Facebook as your Facebook Page. This is the same toggle which is displayed on the right side of your Facebook Page and simply presents a second place where you can toggle back and forth between your personal identity and Facebook Page identity.
The second option allows you to set your personal preferences for email notifications. For Page Administrators who only manage one Page or perhaps two in a full time capacity, there is perhaps a desire to receive an alert every time a user interacts with your Page. However, admins, who work for agencies that manage dozens of pages may find these notifications maddening. Be warned … Facebook makes receiving notifications on each Page the default so this is where you will need to change the setting!
There is a “View all email settings for your pages” link under the email notification toggle option. You will want to use this link if you manage a large volume of Pages as it will save you precious time logging into each of your Pages and changing the setting.
If you click “Featured” in the admin interface, you will find yet two more options that did not previously exist. Much like the addition of posting as your Facebook Page as opposed to your personal identity, the ability to select certain Pages to display as Likes is a small detail but especially important to celebrities, athletes, and musicians who endorse brands and are required to associate their personal brand with their sponsor. Facebook was long overdue to select specific Pages that always appear in the “Likes” section in the left column.
Page admins can also elect to make specific owners (admins) of the Page visible to the public. This is an interesting addition by the Facebook team. The idea here is that some brands or agencies may want to connect their company or products to their executives. Perhaps Facebook was thinking this is a method for Facebook Page owners to build business contacts through association with the company, however, we are skeptical that many people desire this upside as LinkedIn is a much more effective platform for connections of this nature.
6. Admin View
As we described in Section 3 above, Page administrators can select “Admin View” from the left navigation of the Facebook Page. In this view of the Page, admins are able to view hidden posts (which is synonymous with spam). While in this mode, you can choose to report abusive users, ban fans from the Page, or restore posts mistakenly labeled as spam.
7. Page Format Before and After
Here at Activ8Social, we are not completely satisfied with every change Facebook has released for the new Pages format. We miss some of the old display and features. In fact, we are still lamenting the loss of promotional real estate in the left column from two iterations back. Facebook felt like the “promo ads” in the left column where not “uniform” but that precious visibility on the wall view of the Page definitely translated into much high click-through-rates than tabs which often run below a 1% CTR.
We have provided a side-by-side comparison above for you to visually see the difference between the design layout of the old Facebook Page versus the new Facebook Page. If you haven’t already realized what this redesign is all about, then it should jump out at you when you study the above before and after—advertising, advertising, and more advertising. We are a social media marketing agency so of course we understand the bottom line focus of a multi-billion dollar corporation such as Facebook, but admittedly we are slightly disappointed in the expanded real estate for ads. In our experience, Facebook ads were already high enough performing without this change.
On the other hand, there is more visual balance to the new Pages format which we appreciate. The new “post as Page” feature also has the potential to generate more ‘Likes’ by raising the visibility of a Page. Bottom line is that Facebook is continuing to enhance its flagship product by providing more features to improve the Pages experience. Facebook Pages are evolving into microsites which is what Facebook clearly has it goals set on especially with the latest announcement that they are deprecating static FBML and moving toward iFrames.
What do you think of the new Facebook Pages?