NOTE: We are not big fans (pun intended) of Facebook business pages. We do have one but don’t put much effort into it since the terms and conditions of use put forth by Facebook make them an anemic attempt at promoting anything but musicians, celebrities. or massive scale consumer brands at best. If you are not one of those you most likely won’t have much success regardless of what you do with your page.
Yesterday, Facebook rolled out the new format for their business pages. Anyone who spends any time on Facebook knows that business pages have been largely unsuccessful for a variety of reason. Lack of commerce functionality and the customization learning curve are the largest culprits, in my opinion. Unlike personal pages that had the timeline rolled out quite some time ago (and don’t seem to have an official mandatory switchover date), all business pages will be switched over, whether you like it or not, by the end of March. So here are the things you will need to know because you don’t have a choice in the matter.
You have the option to add a full width cover image to your page’s header that can be just about anything you like. A few exceptions apply and ironically they are counterintuitive to being a “business” page:
- No contact information – we are currently breaking this rule but whatever
- No calls to action to like or share your page – really?
- No coupons, pricing, or offer codes – this applies across the whole page
- No calls to action to go to your site – this also applies across the whole page
Something we found interesting is that, although Facebook advises you make your image 851 x 315 for best results, the first 140 pixels are cut off on the initial load of the page. You can scroll up to see the whole image but losing the top 45% of your cover image doesn’t make much sense to me.
Something I found particularly disheartening is that Facebook, for whatever reason, doesn’t handle white text in images very well. Although imaged properly on our end, once uploaded up to their platform, the areas around the text seems to blur unpredictably. This is more a factor of their photo platform however the result doesn’t help your page.
One cool feature is your ability to ‘feature’ specific content. We, for example, always feature our posts about recent blog posts like these as that’s our main objective to using a Facebook page. A problem with this is that it can leave ‘holes’ in your page layout if you don’t have enough content in between your posts.
Another feature, that I don’t think is a very good one, is the ability to change the date of your posts. So let’s say you posted something two weeks ago. You can change the post date to today to bump it up to the top of your feed. This seems to me like rewriting history. So much for transparency. Repost it if you have to but I don’t see the use of this feature except fooling readers.
Something that is not quite clear yet is what content your visitors actually see. At the time of this post, we have updated our status twice and neither show up on our timeline. It may be a factor of the main filter, maybe not. We aren’t sure yet but one thing is clear. You’ll have to double check what is being posted – at least initially.
Custom Facebook Page Work
The last observation worth noting is that any custom tabs you previously had on your site – such as a welcome tab you’ve set to default – will a) not default and b) will need to be revisited and likely retooled. This will certainly translate into an added expense to this “free” online tool. This will be great for vendors that do this work – and for good reason – but it will not be well received by those who do the buying of these services. Just to be clear, this is not the vendors’ fault – it’s Facebook’s. They change their platform so frequently that this type of thing has to be expected. It doesn’t exactly encourage people to invest in their pages but I digress.
What does this mean for your business?
Well, in addition to the expense of retooling of your custom tabs if you had them, you are going to have to rethink your Facebook page strategy from a layout, architecture, and content perspective. Some of this is paying someone to do this but more importantly it will require you to spend time and mental bandwidth to figure out. For some, it may be a good excuse to revamp your page that was basic to begin with. For others it may be a good time to actually create a page if you were taking a “wait and see” attitude toward them.
Have you encountered any other interesting changes to the new Facebook pages that you love or hate? Do me a favor and leave a comment below so I can update this page. Thanks.