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Those of you logging into the world’s largest social network (so, all of you) recently may have noticed a few changes, particularly if you’re working with Facebook professionally.

Of course, unexpected changes to Facebook pages are nothing new, the network routinely tweaks privacy settings, sharing, logins and layouts on an almost weekly basis, but the new additions rolled out last night are particularly important to marketers. 

As we recently published our ‘How to create amazing Facebook pages’ report,  I thought I should give you a quick rundown of the new changes, and how you can use them efficiently to grow your brand presence within Facebook.

So what's new?

The first and most obvious change is the overall page layout. Facebook has finally listened to marketers and opened up features that regular users enjoy, giving your brand the ability to act more like an individual from now on, including commenting and interacting with other pages as your brand, rather than yourself.


Head up to ‘Account’ in the top right of your page and you’ll see the option to ‘Use Facebook as Page’:

You’ll now notice that you have many of the features available that were previously reserved for individual users. For example, ‘Likes’ and comments on your page will be displayed  in the notifications bar, giving you a handy real-time insight into activity on your page:


More importantly, you can now visit other pages in the guise of your brand, commenting on walls, posting pictures and videos. Basically acting like a real live human.

In social it’s really important to give your brand a face, and this feature will really let you inject some personality and interact more easily with friends, affiliates (and, dare I say it –competitors).


In addition to these on screen changes, you can now also specify landing tabs directly in your Facebook advertising campaigns, meaning you can easily put together specific landing pages and drive traffic more easily, a huge bonus for marketers who were previously forced to adapt their Welcome pages to specific campaigns.

Possible problems:

As always with Facebook updates it isn't all plain sailing. Here's a few places you could come unstuck.

Multiple users:

More a 'be careful' tip than a real problem.

Remember, from now on any of your admins can choose to 'use Facebook as page'.

If you manage a large team or have multiple logins (Econsultany's page currently has 15 admins) then remember to remind everyone to switch back to using their own profile after they have commented or posted in a professional capacity.

It's easy enough to imagine somebody forgetting, then randomly commenting on a friends wall in the guise of your brand, so always take extra care to remember who you are at all times!

Random images:

Facebook has now added the new Banner profile to pages. When this change was rolled out to personal pages, many were quick to start playing around with the new photo layout to create cool effects.

Unfortunately it appears that pictures posted by your brand are in random order, so it’s a little more difficult to accomplish than usual (although I’m sure an app will appear shortly).

In the meantime it gives a more vibrant look to your wall, so make sure you add at least a few interesting pictures there.

Too much logo!

It's worth noting that many brands connect their twitter or blog RSS directly to their page.

While this isn’t always best practice, it does save a lot of time if you manage multiple pages.

Unfortunately there does seem to be a current bug, meaning links manually posted with pictures attached may not show up in all of your fans news streams.

Make sure you add a good RSS importer such as the RSS Graffiti app and manage images manually; otherwise you’ll end up with a wall full of your corporate logo, not the most inviting or engaging look.

What time is it?

One of the biggest problems some marketers are facing is the loss of chronological order for wall posts.

In an effort to make posts more relevant, Facebook now orders wall posts by ‘most interesting’ automatically (how it decides what qualifies as interesting is anyone’s guess, but we’re betting on interaction levels).

This will be difficult for marketers managing competitions or using Facebook for CRM, and if you receive any negativity on your page that requires a longer interaction to fix, it could see these posts moved to the top of your stream, which is less than ideal.

It does appear that Facebook have already heard the rumblings of discontent over this, and may already be working on an on/off switch for this.

Navigation:

Navigation buttons to your tabs are now found on the left hand side of your page, exactly as they are on personal pages.

While this makes sense to those who use Facebook a lot, my personal opinion is that this could hide away a lot of your tabs and disrupt traffic to some areas of your page, so make sure you manage these and keep the right tabs clearly visible.

Conclusion:

In general these changes are an improvement, and Facebook is continuing to play around with things so expect extra features and options to come.

Hopefully they will listen to marketers (and many of the changes suggest they already are) and restore chronological order quickly, but on the whole you now have a far better ability to spread your brand, interact more naturally with people and pages, and create a far superior, more targeted user experience within Facebook.

EDIT: It's also been pointed out to me on Twitter (by @adrian_johnson) that in addition, email alerts are now available whenever you receive a comment on your wall or posts.
Obviously this is great for page managers who are on the move as it massively speeds up your response time, so apologies for not including them here (In my defence I've had access to these for a  while now so I had assumed they were already in place and weren't part of the main overhaul -possibly because of a staged rollout on Facebook's part).

Matt Owen

Published 14 February, 2011 by Matt Owen

Matt Owen was formerly Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or hook up on LinkedIn.

203 more posts from this author

Comments (26)

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Nate

Does this new Facebook Page layout allow you to change the default tab (the part of my Facebook Page that users who have not Liked my Page are defaulted to when they visit for the first time)? The Facebook Support pages at
http://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=14899 give instructions on how to do this for the old Page layout, but it doesn't seem to carry over to the new Page layout.

Anyone have any advice on how to accomplish in the new view?

about 5 years ago

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Mike Gardner

Im just finishing my first Page and do miss the tabs. The article is a big help!

about 5 years ago

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Fraintesa

Hi Nate, you can still change the default tab by managing your wall: under "Settings", you'll find "Default landing tab for everyone else"

about 5 years ago

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Steve Wilson

I am finding it hard to manage applications for the business pages I manage. For example, when i am trying to manage a north scoail application, it is now stating that I cant manage it from the using facebook for a page for the accounts I manage and i must continue with my personal account. When i click ok, it doesnt let me manage the applications for any pages that I manage. It was much easie to manage apps on pages I manage when it simply gave the option to manage a page rather than using facebook as a page.

about 5 years ago

Matt Owen

Matt Owen, Head of Social at Econsultancy

Hi Nate -thanks Fraintesa for pointing that out, yes you can still create and manage tabs in the same way you always have, under the settings menu you can set a 'defauly landing for everyone else' option and drive new visitors to a custom landing page. Tabs now appear on the left side of the screen underneath your profile picture in the same place as the options on your personal profile, so they are certainly less visible than before and unfortunately now show tha small <> FBML logo, rather than simply the title, so it's my opinion that they look slightly less professional - a slight pain but luckily all functionality is in place so not the end of the world.

Steve -very good point, you can choose to use the 'Admin view' on your page which resolves some of these issues, but things do seem quite buggy at the moment, I know we've been experiencing a lot of trouble viewing our most recent posts over the last two weeks as well.

FB rely on business pages for the majority of their revenue so it's certainly in their interests to resolve these issues as quickly as possible, although given the sheer amount of data they are dealing with it may be a rather log process.

about 5 years ago

Neil McClements

Neil McClements, Managing Director at Merchenta

It's also worth noting that there's a innocuous looking but key change that Facebook is rolling out at the same time which may affect marketers with page-level/tab apps.

These changes are mandatory from 11 March, which doesn't give a lot of time for folk to migrate their apps. There's more details on who will be affected here - http://blog.merchenta.com/facebook-upgrade-pages-with-extra-goodies-but

about 5 years ago

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Marged Lloyd

Some great examples in here! I'm looking specifically at the advice to set up local country pages if you are a global company.

We are part way through rolling this structure out to our countries, but are considering changing to one global page - given that you can now target content by country in Facebook.

Do you think that there is therefore benefit in having one global page and having an editorial strategy and process to target certain content locally, and have one really well managed page instead?

about 5 years ago

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Chris Norton

This is an interesting take on the new pages. One of the things I like about the new pages is the fact you can be notified about comments on the page. This is something they should have brought out a long time ago.

about 5 years ago

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Jason

Some people have set up a "Page" for themselves for business in order to separate their personal lives from business. Is it possible to have a page admin another page? I assume no but thought I'd make sure. Thanks all!

about 5 years ago

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Terrenos En Quito

Yeah that seems to be really interesting.
Facebooking will be much more than earlier.
Thank you so much for this information.

about 5 years ago

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Johann Schwella

Hi Matt,

The images are randomly placed based on your last 5 image uploads. We already did a campaign for it for one of our clients on the day of the release of the new profile. See details here: http://bit.ly/gC1KRX

Thanks!

about 5 years ago

Peter Leatherland

Peter Leatherland, Online Sales Manager at Ethical Superstore

Now you can make comments etc as your page, does anyone know if there is a way to log into Quora as your and answer questions?

This would be very useful as I would like to answer work related questions (and encourage others from my work) but keep my Facebook profile as a personal account

about 5 years ago

Matt Owen

Matt Owen, Head of Social at Econsultancy

Hey Johann, that makes sense and is in line with what I've seen as well, so not a total fail for marketing either, although it would probably be more useful/sensible to allow order tagging.

Peter -I don't think there is acurrently a way of doing this, Facebook currently makes you switch to your personal profile when connecting a third party API, and Quora has always been particularly anti-brand presence (IMO this is actually a good thing, as Quora users tend to be knowledgable individuals rather than corporate efforts). My advice would be to answer questions there directly, backed up with links to further information available on your site.

It's also worth pointing out that Facebook have announced today that they will finally be carrying out their plan to phase out FBML and require all pages to use iFrames (so time to start brushing up on your CSS!). We'll have more on this on the blog shortly.

about 5 years ago

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Tia Fisher

Hi Matt
Thanks for your post. One predictable outcome of the ability to post as your Page will be a lot of spamming as marketeers with no etiquette try to reach out via facebook Pages.
And there's another important and potentially useful change as well - there is now automated blacklist moderation offered. Take a look at my own post on the changes over at the eModeration blog for more detail on this: http://blog.emoderation.com/2011/02/facebook-pages-redesign-whats-changed.html (sorry to self-promote, but it does have some useful info, honest!)
Tia

about 5 years ago

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anna

A very important feature that they should add is to allow FaceBook Name Change. Many of these would be necessary in cases of rebranding ( a brand assuming a completely dfferent name) , mistake or wrong naming at page creation stage.

Surely there should be a feature to allow this change.

about 5 years ago

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Paul

It Shame they have made such a terrible mess out the new way to view pictures it 3rd rate its amateurish and it make photos look bad shame on you facebook. I consider so poor i have removed all but my profile pic from facebook

about 5 years ago

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ethel

Is it possible to change a Page's name now?

about 5 years ago

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Paul Chaney

The photo ribbon and ordering of posts are the two biggest troublemakers for me, but I love the ability Facebook has given us to humanize brands by interacting as the Page.

You mention the need for a good RSS feed aggregator. We use dlvr.it and love it. Works very weel and is easy to set up...and free.

Lastly, if you don't mind me mentioning it, we did our own version of the FB changes in an article at Practical Ecommerce. I would encourage your readers to take a look. If it helps, I tweeted this article to our readers.

about 5 years ago

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sal

This would probably be great - if I could get anything to work. I'm trying to get new photos uploaded to appear in the banner at the top - it doesn't work, I create an album (can't add photos to existing ones) get to the uploader( and I've tried both the simple and the flash version - get a white screen), and that's it. Nothing happens. Likewise, I can't switch between a admin profile and a personal one, I have to log out and log in again. Good job they don't charge for any of this, or people might expect things to actually work

about 5 years ago

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sammi browne

The chronological order thing is killing my page. We're about ready to bail on facebook.

about 5 years ago

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Fred

I love the new change, think its much better and more organized that way. The ability of being able to use FB as the fan page name makes things a lot easier, great tool.

Thanks for posting,
Fred

about 5 years ago

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Skincare

Some great examples in here! I'm looking specifically at the advice to set up local country pages if you are a global company.
Thank for this useful information.

about 5 years ago

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SEO India

To stay in competition there must be some regular changes according to the competitiors analysis, and facebook is doing the same. facebook is the biggest competitor of Google. These changes giving some more attention.

about 5 years ago

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latest cricket news

The ability of being able to use FB as the fan page name makes things a lot easier, great tool.
Thanks for posting,

almost 5 years ago

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latest cricket news

thank you so much for posting!

almost 5 years ago

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Pork Chop Recipe

Pork Chop Recipe
It Shame they have made such a terrible mess out the new way to view pictures it 3rd rate its amateurish and it make photos look bad shame on you facebook. I consider so poor i have removed all but my profile pic from facebook

almost 5 years ago

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