There are sixteen days until the new version of Facebook Pages is made real. I don’t mean to sound the panic alarm as I’ve already provided some information about the upcoming changes to Facebook Pages. But if you haven’t had or made the time to check out what is going on, you may want to in the next few days. Why? Well, the changes are significant enough that if you already have a Page with customized tabs and the like, you’re going to need the time to get your Page prepared. Otherwise, you may find yourself very frustrated.
I’m not going to outline all of the changes. There are plenty of experts, including Facebook, who are providing you with step-by-step instructions that I will provide at the end of this post for you to review.
What I really want to do is to provide a digest of the steps you need to take right away to get the process going and give you fair warning about how you may have to alter your management of Facebook down the road.
1. Facebook Page Preview
If you haven’t taken advantage of the Preview on your Page, do. It will give you some insight into how your Page will look once the changes take effect. Not to panic. Only you as the administer will see it unless you decide to publish it now. Once you see how ugly your Page will be, that probably won’t happen. So, let’s get to work. Let’s use Red Bull’s Facebook’s Page as an example.
2. Facebook Cover Photo
Facebook is giving Page owners a big billboard space (851 X 315 pixels) to feature their products, their users, etc. One would normally be very pleased about such premium space (above the fold and bold), however, there are limitations. Facebook does not want cover photos to infringe on anyone’s copyright or photos that include:
- price information
- text based
- contact information
- pleas for Likes or Shares
- Calls to action
- encouragement to visitors to upload cover image
Facebook cover photo can include:
- people using your products
- people who use your product
- product photos
- your audience
- history of your brand
- product ingredients
- tools you work with
- highlight unique selling features of you and/or of your product
- provide insight inside your business
If you’re a Main Street business or retailer, you can probably use your company logo or a recent advertisement as long as it does not include contact information or a call to action.
It is a little more difficult for service oriented businesses, where what they sell is intangible, but there are some resources at the end of this post for you to check out for inspiration.
3. About Information
This section will now appear directly under your 180 x 180 pixel sized profile photo. You’ll want to use this space wisely and include your website information or other links where you would like to send visitors. You have 170 characters, so be selective.
4. Photos and Other Tabs
Referring back to the Red Bull Page example above and to the right of About, you’ll see the terms Photos, Red Bull TV, Athletes, Games & Apps. These are your tabs. You have a total of 12. Only four tabs will show while the rest can be accessed with the drop down arrow. One tab will always be for Photos and will be locked in the first position. Another tab will always be Likes but can be moved to any location as can the remaining 10 tabs.
Default pages no longer exist.
You can provide people with a link to a custom tab, but you cannot designate a custom tab as a default page. Random visitors and people liking your Facebook Page through a button on your website for example, will arrive at the Timeline page.
5. Facebook Status Updates
While the appearance of status updates are similar to those in your personal Facebook Profile, the new Page updates have many more controls.
- Pinning – You can pin an update so it appears at the top of your Timeline for a period of 7 days
- Highlight – You can highlight an update so it spans across the two columns
- Change date – You can change the date of an update to it appears earlier or later in your Timeline
- Hide – You can hide an update from view
- Delete – You can delete the update entirely
You’ll need these controls. Not only to maximize featured status updates, but to fill-in ugly holes in your Timeline if you haven’t been posting for a period of time.
Take a look at your Timeline in the Preview and see what your status updates look like. You’ll want to determine which updates you may want to pin, highlight or carry over into the next month.
Future Facebook Page Maintenance
These changes are in place and there’s not much we can do but to adapt. One thing you should prepare for is more Page maintenance and updating, at least until you and others get the hang of it. Some things to keep in mind.
3rd Party Posts: These tend to get clumped together by Facebook. You’ll need to separate these, limit 3rd party posts or forget trying to automate the process.
Update variety: You should probably sketch out a plan to interject some variety into your post updates. It will help to keep your Timeline interesting for your visitors.
Use the Status Update Controls: Experiment with the status update controls (e.g. pinning, highlighting, etc.) and see what works best for your audience.
Study the new Insights: With these changes comes new information on Insights that may assist you in determining which posts are generating more engagement and which don’t. Study the results and make tweaks where appropriate.
As I mentioned before, this post won’t give you a complete run down on all of the upcoming Facebook Page changes, but here are some good resources for you to check out. Watching the Facebook videos is a great place to start. I’ve also included a few links to some companies that have already made the move to Facebook’s new format. You may get some inspiration for your cover photo or for your tabs.
Starbucks Facebook Page
LiveStrong Facebook Page
Verizon Facebook Page
NBC Nightly News Facebook Page
SEOmoz Facebook Page
Let me know if any of this was of help to you in the comments section below.