As we all know, Facebook LOVES to change things. In fact, they do it so often and with so little notice, that many of us – including myself – cannot know every little change they make or adapt to them as quickly as we’d like to. Facebook recently made two major changes for [Fan]Pages that have impacted both the page administrators and page fans. You may be asking yourself, do I adapt my page to the new stuff now, or wait it out until they make the next change (which could be next week for all we know)?
My simple answer is if you have a bit of time and resources available, try to stay current with the changes. I’m going to focus this post on 3 major changes that I believe every page should take full advantage of.
Change #1: Using Facebook as yourself or the business/brand.
I am going to preface this with saying that this is by far my favorite change Facebook has made in the last year. This new option (see image) allows the page administrators to comment or post on the wall as themselves or as the brand. In the past, if you were an admin of a page, everything you posted would appear as “said-brand likes this” – implying that your brand liked itself. By being able to post on the pages I manage as myself, I can help to encourage engagements with the fans of the page and also help to increase the reach of each “like” or comment I make. You can enable this setting by going into the edit panel of your page and unchecking the “posting preferences” box. One word of caution with using this new setting: don’t forget to click “use as brand” when you want to post as the page and vice versatile when wanting to post as yourself.
Change #2: The photo strip
This change to Facebook actually was released within the personal profile pages originally, and then rolled out to the Business Pages a few months later. By now, you’ve probably seen what this is [see image below]. What you may be wondering is, how do those photos get to the strip and how do I control that? The five photos that get featured on the photo strip are simply the five most recently tagged photos you have – either by someone else, or that you uploaded. With that in mind, the photo strip is a great place to use as a billboard for any sort of message you want to get across. Read this article from Mashable that shows you how you can customize this for your personal profile or business page.
Change #3: Custom Facebook Tab (or Application)
This change is probably makes the biggest impact for business page users. Why? As of March 18, 2011, you can no longer add the custom FBML box that allowed you to easily create custom tabs. Facebook hasn’t even told us the cut off date for making changes to the current boxes – though they do suggest that you switch to the new platform quickly. What is that new platform? It’s essentially creating applications that will direct content into an iFrame on the page. There are a couple of ways to do this. First, you could add the custom HTML box made by Involver to your page. This works much like the old FBML box, where you simply copy and paste HTML code to display. The second way is to create a custom application through Facebook Developer. This route is a little bit more work, but it gives a lot more flexibility in what you can do with your custom page. It does require you to have your own web server to host your files on or to have a blog where you can pull information from like Kim Woodbridge of (Anti) Social Developemt does here.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for my walk-through on how to apply change #3 to your page.