Facebook has redesigned the pages which, for most of the small business world, are our business pages. These new changes are similar to the individual pages in the layout, however, there are quite a few other changes that are big opportunities for businesses to take advantage of to make their pages much more interactive and functional.

The upgrade is optional at this point, however, all pages will be converted over on March 10. The redesign is the what most are focusing on however this is not the main event here. Let’s take a tour of the new layout changes before we delve into the other changes that are much more significant.

Facebook Page Layout Changes

1. Strip of Photos. Facebook will be displaying the photos that are the most recent from your wall and those that were tagged. It will not display any photos added by fans. If you do not wish for a photo to be displayed, simply roll over it, click  X and a new one will appear. You can get creative here and have the photos as almost a banner.

2. Navigation. The navigation is no longer tabs at the top of the page, but now vertical links under the profile photo. If the profile photo is set to full height, the navigation moves to below the fold, meaning that visitors will have to scroll down to find it. The field for the tabs is smaller as it was 520 however now it appears to be 493.

3. Wall Posts. There are now two Wall filters. The posts on your page can be viewed as the posts you as the admin put up or viewed as the top posts from Everyone. As the admin, you can set a default under edit page. The Everyone option places the most interacted, useful and meaningful posts at the top even if they are before a new update. This could have a page look as if there is not a lot of recent activity as a posting from a week ago could be at the top. Jason Keath from Socialfresh.com shows this in his 7 changes to Facebook video.

4. Page Interactions. The functionality of the pages have increased as the pages now have a voice with the ability to like and comment as the page.

a. Voice. As the admin of the page, you can respond to comments on the page as yourself via your personal profile or as the business page. This is a simple switch from your individual page in going to Account, and click Use Facebook As Page. Once you select that, the page(s) that you are the admin for pop up for you to select by clicking switch.

b. Likes. The business page can now like other pages and not just favorite them. Once you like another page, you can feature them on your page and also receive their news feeds. This clears up your individual page and pushes all business related aspects to your business page.

c. Email Notifications. Admins finally can receive an email notifications when someone interacts on the page. This is a welcomed change as so admins can respond timely to interactions/comments/questions, etc on the page. To receive email notifications for your page, go to your individual page, click Account, then Account Settings, then the Notifications tab, scroll down to Pages and then click the link “Change email settings for individual Pages” and a new window pops up so you can set emails to come for each page you admin.

When you upgrade the page, you cannot go back to the old page. Once you do upgrade the page, take the time to review all of the links above to be sure you configure your settings so you can manage the page in a way that works best for you as outlined below.

Facebook Page Settings

1.Your Settings. Admins can set the preference to always post as the page name and not your individual profile or have the option to post as the page or individual profile. The default is set to post as just the page name so you have to opt out. Click on your setting and it pops up and simply uncheck the box.

Facebook Page Posting as Page

 

2. Manage Permissions. After the upgrade, click Edit Page to view the settings. The page defaults to Manage Permissions. This link is also located on the left side in the menu bar should you wish to change the settings at a later time. Admins can block certain keywords, phrases, etc and they will be marked as spam and not appear on the wall for the public. However, they will appear for the admin in gray. There is also a profanity setting which can be set to none, medium or strong.

Facebook Page Settings

3. Basic Information. The next link under Manage Permissions is the Basic Information. The Basic Information is the company information that you wish to for visitors of the page to know about your company. There are predetermined Categories that are not as robust as they could be however there are a considerable amount of choices to select for your business from the drop downs. The categories in the left drop down are also predetermined for the categories on the right drop down. In other words you cannot find a category in the left drop down and try and go outside of that category for the sub category in the right drop down. These categories are displayed below the company name and above the photos.

4. Profile Picture. The profile picture size has been reduced some from 200 x 600 pixels to 180 x 540. The height with this new size cannot be more than 3x the width.

5. Featured. Here is where you can feature the pages that your page has liked and also there is a feature to feature the admin photo. This is another welcomed feature as you can like a page and showcase it on your page and not on your individual page. We can show companies that we outsource to, use as a resource, etc.You can also feature the photo of the admin(s) so that there is recognition between the individual and their company.

 

Facebook Pages Featured

6. Marketing. This link provides different ways of draw attention to your page.

a. Advertising on Facebook. This something to consider as it is incredibly targeted as you may be reaching your audience to have them gain awareness of your product/services. The click through rates for ads on Facebook are quite loq but we cannot deny that there is an awareness factor (which may be a nuisance to users but they are seeing it).

b. Tell Your Fans. The tell your fans link is a means of uploading your contacts from Outlook or an email service provider (like BlueSky Factory, MailChimp, etc) or from an email provider (like Hotmail, Gmail, etc) and Facebook will store them so you can send an email alerting your email contacts of your page. This is a bit risky as this could be viewed as spam.

c. Get a Badge and Like Box. If you have not already done so, you can get a badge or the like button for your website or blog. Both of these are easily created and embeded into just about every site on the web.

d. Create Alias. Each page can have a username. This is the unique url that you change the page to once you achieve 25 fans. Not much to do here but good to check to be sure that you do indeed have the unique url set for you page.

e. Send an Update. This is a quick and easy way to send an update via email to all the fans. Nothing new here but was worth mentioning as you can send an email to all fans that you have updated the page.

7. Exporting Facebook Page Updates to Twitter. You can link your page to Twitter to export your page updates. This is a feature that you must enable and is not automatic. For pages this may be a useful feature but we know that linking different platforms is not always a good idea.

Export Facebook Page Updates to Twitter

Facebook Adds iframe Tabs

The updates are not limited to the design and the settings. The additional upgrades are pretty significant as there is additional functionality in the design and the tracking that are now afforded through the addition of iframes. Iframes, which is short for inline frames, which according to Nikolay Valtchanov on the Facebook Developer are:

“apps that run across Facebook (including Pages and Canvas applications) using the same simple, standards-based web programming model (HTML, JavaScript, and CSS). In addition, you can easily integrate social plugins and the Graph API within your tab.”

The iframes are a window that can be a part of a page or an entire page from your website that is displayed in the tab. This will be useful for short term campaigns, contests, giveaways, events, etc. as they can be can be changed quickly and are pretty simple to upload.

How to add an iframe Page Tab

To add the iframe, edit the Facebook integration settings in the developer app then create the tab name and the tab url that you wish visitors to see in the left navigation. The app must be added to the page by the admin. The Facebook Developer blog has a step-by-step on how to add the new tab in their guide.

Facebook Pages iframe tabs

 

Facebook Platform and Page Policies

With any change to Facebook comes the policy changes and this one is no different. The new platform and page policies which was updated on February 10, 2011, while lifting some of the technical limitations, it places some functional limitations. Some are ones that you would expect; you cannot have anything that proxies, collects, requests users names and/or passwords, there must be a log out option on your website that also logs them out of Facebook but worth mentioning (as really is everyone going to read the policies) are the special provisions for apps on pages:

a. Apps on Pages must not host media that plays automatically without a user’s interaction.

b. When a user visits your Page, if they have not given explicit permission by authorizing your Facebook app or directly providing information to your Page, you may only use information obtained from us and the user’s interaction with your Page in connection with that Page. For example, you must not combine information from any other sources to customize the user’s experience on your Page and may not use any information about the user’s interaction with your Page in any other context (such as analytics or customization across other Pages or websites).

It is a good idea though to head on over and read the platform and page policies as it is not very long and it is not full of legal jargon.

These are a considerable amount of changes that does require a lot of attention once you upgrade to be able to set your page to the settings that work best for you.

What do you think of the new changes? Also, is it time to call "Pages," "business pages" or develop some sort of name, as "Pages" is confusing and so generic. Which page, your individual page, the page, very confusing...

photo credits:

Facebook home page: codemastersnake

Page Tabs: developers.facebook.com