Changes to Facebook’s Business Pages
If you haven’t heard, Facebook is making more changes, this times it’s to business pages and if you have a company Facebook page, these changes are going to affect you, are you ready? If you’re not, you have until March 31st to get ready, so here’s a recap on the big changes.
This is going to be the most dramatic change as it takes away the landing or welcome pages that many marketing savvy businesses’ previously used to attract new “likes” to their page. Currently (and until March 31st), you could determine what page first time visitors to your Facebook Fanpage site initially landed on. This created an entire business sector devoted to creating these landing pages for Facebook and as a result helped many business grow their fans quite quickly.
Some of the pages were simple and only asked you to click the like button to access the main page, while other more sophisticated pages “revealed” more information, videos or free reports after you liked them. It became a standard for companies promoting their business on Facebook to have one of these custom welcome pages and now it’s changing.
The Positive About Timelines
This presents an entirely new opportunity for a company to brand itself on Facebook. The key aspect of the new timeline is the large graphic that is splashed across the top of the new Business Pages. This image area is a massive 851 by 315 pixels.
Companies will need to start planning to use this space to market themselves in whole new ways. This space will be all about engagement, experiences and excitement and will have to be far less of the traditional LOOK AT ME MARKETING.
The Negative About Timelines
Facebook has some pretty tight restrictions on what you can do with these images and I am sure it will be causing grief to those who are unprepared. Companies won’t be able to include pricing, contact info or calls to action in these images. For many companies this will essentially tie their hands behind there backs as they simply won’t know how to evolve.
For those that do want to follow the new styles of online marketing it will be all about engagement.
Facebook’s previous tab/menu system for Business Pages was pretty weak before. People who weren’t very familiar with Facebook often didn’t even notice them and due to this, they couldn’t be leveraged as much. This isn’t going to be a problem with the new Facebook layout as these tabs will be right below the central image and they will be very visible.
The Positive About Facebook Tabs
Business’s will be able to put important tabs front and center for their potential clients to see. Although you cannot advertise on the large image on the page, you can on the tabs. So if you want to create a Specials tab or Promotions tab where you do promote your products, you are more than welcome too.
Along with this, you can also create custom images for these tabs and I can see this as an entirely new field for designers and Facebook people to be working on. This capability will likely become a huge marketing opportunity for those who embrace it.
The Negative About Facebook Tabs
The negative is you will be limited to only four tabs and one of them will be locked as your photos tab. This will require more thought to be put into which tabs you want front and center and what has to be semi hidden away. These semi-hidden tabs can be accessed by a button on the right side, but again, this won;t be obvious to the casual Facebook visitor.
This in my mind will be one of the biggest assets for many businesses. The administrator of a Facebook page will now be able to pin specific content to the top of the Timeline allowing it to be the first content visitors see.
There are few new options for this, you can now feature posts from yourself or others on the page and you can pin them to the top of the page for extra visibility.
The Positives About Featured Content
The biggest advantage here will be keeping your most important content at the top of the page. Previously if there wasn’t activity on a post, it would quickly get pushed down your page, but with this change you can make sure all your visitors see the information. An extra bonus with this is the images will also be much larger
This can be vital if you promote time sensitive information or if you have special promotions your clients should be aware of, although it will require more tactical marketing planning to really make this work.
The Negatives About Featured Content
The only real negative that pops to mind is that the content can only be pinned for a week at a time. We’re assuming after it falls off the top you can go back and repin, but worst case it will involve putting up new posts. This simply means a bit more hands on time, which in the grand scheme of things is actually a positive, not a negative!
More Notable Business Changes
I could probably carry on for a while with all the changes, but I’ll wrap this up with a few other notable changes you should be aware of.
Facebook’s Insights, not so much a huge change in them, but more in an adjustment on how they display. These are now buried under the admin panel, which has also changed. It might just require a bit of wandering around to find everything.
Messaging, now your business page can send messages directly to individual fans. As long as it doesn’t get abused and shut down, this could be a wonderful positive for companies hoping to engage their fans/clients.
Although I learned some of the information in this article through wandering around on soem of my business pages, I found a couple of resources that really helped clarify some of this for me. If you want even more information on the changes and how they will affect your pages, check out the following links:
Hopefully this little intro has given you some ideas of what to do with your business page, however, working on Facebook pages may not be the best use of your resources. If you would like some assistance with the process, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s see how we can help you!