Facebook “New” Brand Pages: How to Cope with the Change
In this article, Victoria Ransom discusses the new Facebook “Timeline’ Pages for brands, outlining the big changes and benefits of the new format, which is mandatory for all brand pages by the 30th March.
By Victoria Ransom
Facebook brand pages have been transformed: walls are being turned into storyboards and brand interaction with users is becoming more intimate. Understanding the big changes and how to make the most of them will help brands to communicate their message and engage with users.
The most obvious change is the move to make brand pages more like the Timeline used on personal profiles. The format of Facebook Pages continues to make use of a wall. However, key chronological milestones now take centre-stage and enable brands to tell their stories. Milestones, such as launches, form the backbone of the corporate narrative and have become key talking points. Brands can now share engaging details of corporate history, enabling users to view their stories from beginning to end.
The new prominence of chronological events and a cover photo means that brand pages are now without default landing-page tabs. The top of a brand’s page has therefore become the primary location for first connecting with users. An impactful cover image is obviously essential but Facebook has also added the ability to “pin” posts of particular significance to the top of the page for seven days. Posts that have been pinned become an alternative first point of contact for the user. These posts also appear in their chronological place on the wall. Those that have been pinned have an orange flag, but once unpinned, a post is indistinguishable from the others.
Like pinned posts, tab applications will also appear at the top of the page. Tab apps have changed location: no longer are there an unlimited number of tabs in the left hand column. Instead, there are four tab panels visible under the cover photo. Since these tab apps will influence a user’s first impression, they are very important for the brand. The prominence of tab apps and pinned posts means they need to be monitored closely, updated regularly, and selected carefully to create buzz.
All these format changes require existing content to be adapted to fit the new layout. Content from the original Facebook brand pages needs to be adjusted to avoid looking out-of-date. The layout is now 810-pixels wide, affecting the page tab configuration. New app icons will be needed for existing applications to avoid content becoming centred in the new layout.
Another major change in the new Pages format is the ability for brands and users to communicate directly and privately. No longer dependent on wall posts, brands can answer questions and manage feedback in a way that is tailored to each user, creating a better experience for fans and removing the element of anonymity that has been a part of Facebook marketing until now.
Direct communication also means a clutter-free Page. Wall posts containing customer enquiries threaten to overwhelm the new Pages and negatively affect their appearance. Private messaging enables page managers to remove such posts and handle them directly.
In short, the new Facebook Pages take a more intimate approach, opening up communication channels and drawing users into the brand’s past, present and future. Change is sometimes hard to handle, and the removal of the landing page may upset some brands. But Facebook has provided exciting new alternatives that will enhance a brand’s image. When these changes are embraced, social media marketers need only ensure these brand pages are up-to-date and ready to engage their audience.
About the author
As CEO of Wildfire Interactive, Victoria Ransom oversees the strategic development and general management of the company. Victoria led Wildfire to profitability in just one month and has built a client list that includes major brands and agencies including Facebook, Pepsi, Unilever, Sony, AT&T, Ogilvy, Publicis and Fleishman Hillard. Wildfire is a two-time winner of the fbFund.
About the company
Wildfire creates social media marketing software. Its technology allows large brands, small businesses and agencies to: create their own attractive, branded social promotions on Facebook, Twitter etc., build and manage social pages, monitor and communicate with their social audience, measure the performance of their own and their competitors’ social media marketing, and send social messages.