March 19th, 2012 No Comments

Seven Major Changes to Business Pages on the New Facebook

The majority of businesses have a social media element within their digital marketing strategy and Facebook often plays a starring role. So it’s worth knowing about the seven major changes that Facebook are making to business pages on 30 March.

#1 Landing Pages WILL No Longer be Visible

Landing pages are great. They allow for simpler content and act like a poster for hooking the attention of people who haven’t liked you yet. Once someone likes you, they usually return to a different page on future visits. Under the new system, you’ll no longer be able to make your landing page tab a default view. This is a pain if you want to use your landing page to promote deals, offers or news, so you may need to reconsider an alternative to landing pages in future.

#2 Tabs have Been Moved to Images on Top Right of Page

The new version will allow businesses to continue customising tabs, but you’re now restricted to having four on show. This is bad news if tabs form part of your social media plans and you’ll need to decide which are the most important for you and your customers. The good news is that you can now use large photos to draw attention to your tabs, rather than having an easily missed list. And of course, you can have more than four tabs, but fans will need to click to see them all.

#3 Cover Photos and Profile Images

The photo is going to change from the current banner which gives you a strip of small photos along the top of the page. Now, you’ll get just one big image which has to be at least 399 pixels wide. You can go larger though: up to 851 pixels wide and 315 high. On the plus side, this nice big cover photo is a good opportunity to make a splash and set up an inviting shop window for your company. On the downside, you won’t be able to add a call to action any longer. This means no more special offers or lures to visit your website. You won’t even be able to encourage people to use any of Facebook’s own features such as Like or Share.

#4 Company Milestones

The new Timeline is a useful marketing tool and you can click on it to advertise some of the key events in your business history. It’s particularly helpful as part of your positioning strategy. For example, if your unique selling point is that you’re a long established business which has been trading for over one hundred years, then use the Timeline to establish your time-served credentials. On the other hand, if you compete on ethical or environmental grounds, use the Timeline to alert customers to your green targets and ethical awards. Apart from telling your own story, consider how to make it appealing to your customers in order to increase valuable dwell-time. The longer a visitor stays on your page, the more opportunity you have to engage them, so you could opt for entertaining content. For example, Microsoft has included an amusing group photo of the team from their early days and fans are having lots of fun guessing which one is Bill Gates.

#5. Facebook Offers

Facebook Offers will soon be open to all businesses. This is a major step up from Facebook Deals and it’s fantastic news for your marketing plan. Offers go out through fan feeds which are a more active route to market. Fans will see your offer and simply click to claim. Facebook then sends the offer to the relevant email address. The only real drawback is that there won’t be hugely rich information on the evaluation front as you won’t know which specific email address resulted in an offer claimed. On a cautionary note, especially if you’re a small to medium business, Facebook Offers are pretty potent, so make sure that your operational end is geared up to deal with any potential surge in demand created by these offers. Be particularly careful with freebies and major discounts in case they tip you over.

#6 Larger Images and Videos

Broadly speaking, all of the photos and videos on Facebook business pages are now going to be bigger. This is excellent news for companies as it increases marketing opportunities hugely. It’s a bit of a cliché to say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but when it comes to social media, engaging photos and videos are genuine routes to increased dwell-time and maximum customer engagement. Use this opportunity to reconsider whether you’re exploiting visual media to its full extent and take advantage of new tools like the Timeline to make your photos and videos work harder for you.

#7 Private Messaging Support to Admins

A pretty helpful development is that people who visit your site can now send you private messages. This doesn’t mean that disgruntled customers or rivals won’t post any more complaints on your wall, but it might reduce the amount of dirty washing that gets aired in public. In addition, it might encourage valuable feedback from those customers who prefer not to comment publicly. If you worry that you haven’t got the capacity to deal with messages, you can opt to turn this feature off. But think twice before closing down such a valuable communication channel.

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