I don’t know about you but I’ve been waiting for the launch of the new Facebook Pages for a few weeks.
So it finally happened yesterday and as expected, there are quite a few changes raising eyebrows, some likes and dislikes. As it usually happens with Facebook.
This post is to list and explain each one of those changes, how they will affect the way you manage your Facebook Page and the new possibilities for customization, engaging and communicating better with your fans.
Let’s get started!
When do we get it?
The new pages are available now, if you go to your page right now you will see a banner on top and instructions on how to publish. This is optional at the moment and Facebook is giving you a grace period of 30 days to work on your content before going live with it. The new format will be forced on March 30. Whether you’re ready or not.
From here you can preview the timeline and also take a tour with all the new features.
We already knew that Pages were going to be turned into Timelines, in the same format as your current personal profile, so there is no surprise there.
Don’t take this lightly, this is a great opportunity to communicate and engage in a whole different way. I want you to think of two key terms: Image-centric and storytelling. No rocket science here, this is the reason other social networks such as Pinterest or Instagram have become so popular. It’s just a more engaging way to communicate your message.
We know most of the interaction with pages really happens on the News Feed rather than the actual page but, will this improve pageviews on your page? We’ll have to wait and see.
This is usually the first people want to know.
The cover photo is the new landing experience. Facebook is giving you access to prime real estate to customize your page and improve on user experience. Before you jump into this, there a couple of things you need to consider before uploading your Cover Photo:
- The specs: 850 x 315px, which is a lot more space than you had before to customize your page
- There are some restrictions on what you can do with this. You can’t use it for calls-to-action, promotions, website promotion and other things like that. Here is the full list of items you can’t include on your image (too bad, I already had some crazy ideas running in my head)
Other than that, get creative and really leverage this space. Please don’t use an image of your cat performing ninja tricks…
Your usual profile pic or “avatar” on the sidebar is gone. If you had one of those tall images, chances are is not looking too good now. You need to adjust that image, which has been moved to the top just like it is on your personal profile.
Views & Apps
This is important. One of the concerns people had was what is going to happen to tabs.
Custom Tabs and Apps are more prominent now since they’ve been moved to the top just below your cover photo. You can organize the order of these elements so people see what’s more relevant. The only one you can’t move is “Photos” but other than that, you can display your apps/tabs however you want.
You can see a little button with an arrow pointing down on the right, this drops a panel where you can see the rest of your tabs, you can also arrange the order there.
Also note that you need to update the icons for your custom tabs and apps. The new dimensions are 111 x 74px.
Having a custom tab will have much more visibility now. We all know those tabs didn’t get much action before, unless it was a landing tab.
No more Landing Tabs
This is probably the biggest concern for Page owners at the moment. The possibility to setting up a default landing destination for non-fans is gone. From now on, all visitors will land on the Timeline by default. This means welcome landing tabs are gone.
You will have to come up with new creative ways to deliver a better user experience for first-time visitors. A welcome video pinned to the top of the timeline sounds like a good idea, and of course the good use of the cover photo.
New specs for Custom Tabs
Understand that you can still have Custom Tabs, they just can’t be set as “Landing”.
On a more positive note, now you have a lot more real estate to play with on your custom tabs. The width that used to be 520px is now 810px. For those of you that have tabs already in place with the 520px, they have been centered to the page as you can see in this image.
You can have a max of 12 Apps running on your page.
This is also key to improve engagement on your page. There is always a post on your page with more relevancy, something that wish you had control over and keep at the top of your page. If your page is active, those posts can rapidly be move down and get lost in the middle of your wall.
Now you can “pin” a post so it stays on top. Think of it as a sticky post on your blog, your featured content.
You need to hover over the pencil tool on the post you want and click on “Pin to Top”. Look at the following image:
And here is the result, the post now will remain on top and a little ribbon has been added in the corner.
You can also highlight a post within your timeline, by clicking on the star when you hover over the post, it will change the dimension to a full width. If you post your blog content on your page, this is a good way to make it stand out from other posts. This is also great to highlight milestones in your page.
Although this was already available on the old wall, I see many people not making use of it. You are responsible for curating and administrating the content on your timeline and part of that is also hiding posts that are repetitive, for example when people share your post and mentions the page, while this is obviously good for you, sometimes having the post 4 or 5 times on the timeline is not very good for the user.
Another example is when people post on your page for self-promotion reasons, or what we know as Facebook Spam. As your page becomes more and more popular, these things happen more frequently.
Get used to hiding posts.
The “About” section that used to live below your profile pic is now more prominent, since it was moved to the top. If you ignored this piece of content before, I suggest you get your creative juices going and write up a kick ass description of your page.
You can now administrate your page without going to a different page. The “Admin Panel” gets displayed on top of your page. Obviously only page administrators can see this.
From the admin panel you can access:
- New Likes
- Messages (we’ll talk about this in a second)
Also new, now users can send a message to a page privately, just as if you were messaging a friend. This should also be important to improve your communications.
As I said before, this feature is accesible from the admin panel. This feature is optional, Pages can opt-out by disabling the messaging system in your page settings.
I think that pretty much covers everything.
I think there are great opportunities here to communicate your message in a more engaging way. As I said before, you are been pushed to step up your branding and exploring new ways of presenting it by telling its story and being more image-centric.
So what do you think of the new changes? How are you planning to use all those new features? Share your thoughts in the comments and, feel free to ask any questions.
Connect with me on the SocialMouths Facebook Page.
Additional resources: Facebook has put together this video mini course for Pages to help you get familiar with the new layout.