We’ll be covering detailed best practices in preparation for the March 1st migration to the new Pages in the Facebook Marketing Bible, our guide to marketing and advertising on Facebook.
Today Facebook launches a major redesign and expansion of functionality of its Pages for businesses, brands, media, and public figures. The Page layout will now match the December user profile redesign, with a left-hand navigation menu replacing the tabs above the wall. Page admins will also be able to login as their Page, giving them access to Facebook and email notifications about activity on their Page, and other options.
Page admins will begin seeing a preview and tour of the new features today, and will have the choice to voluntarily upgrade until March 1st when all Pages will be automatically migrated to the redesign.
Users now navigate between a Page’s wall, info, and third-party tab applications using a menu of links on the left side of the Page beneath the profile picture. The menu permits longer tab names and between eight and nine tab apps above the fold. To reorder tabs, click “More”, then “Edit” and drag and drop any of your tabs except “Wall” and “Info”. Only Pages with more tabs than spaces above the fold can edit the order of their tabs.
As tabs are no longer front-and-center, the redesign could reduce the frequency with which users visits tabs other than the default landing tab.
Similar to the redesigned user profile, Pages have a Photostrip above the wall that displays the latest photos the Page has tagged itself in. However, the five thumbnails appear in a different order upon each reload, preventing Pages from creating a continuous banner out of the Photostrip. The profile picture is slightly reduced in size from 200 x 600 pixels to 180 x 540. The About blurb has moved from the wall tab to the info tab.
Users will see a mutual friends and interests panel on the top right displaying the friends who also Like the Page, and the Likes the user and the Page have in common. Pages will have the option to Like other Pages, not just favorite them, and feature “Page Owners”. Links and profile pics of these Likes and admins can be made visible below the navigation menu and reordered through the new “Featured” section of the Edit Page admin interface.
When Pages update, their default landing tab will be reset. Admins should be sure to reselect the tab they want visitors who haven’t Liked their Page to see first. If Pages use a welcome tab with some sort of arrow pointing to the Like button at the top of the Page, they’ll need to modify the tab’s design as the Like button has moved slightly.
Admins can edit their Page’s category by going to the Basic Information tab of the Edit Page admin interface.
Relevant Posts Wall Filter
Page admins can select between an “All Posts” and a Page posts only default tab for the wall. All Posts is broken up into “Top Posts” and “Most Recent” tabs.
Top Posts, which displays first when All Posts is set as the default view, shows users posts Facebook thinks will be the most relevant. Recent posts by friends, posts by other users in same language or country, and posts that have received a lot of Likes and comments will bubble to the top.
Most Recent shows a reverse chronological, real-time stream of posts by the Page and its fans. Users can click to view Most Recent when viewing Top Posts, but admins can’t set Most Recent as the default view.
Users will see a Page’s wall display the same tab as it last showed. So if they switch from Top Posts to Most Recent, leave the site, then come back, they’ll still see the wall display the Most Recent tab. This persistent wall state works the same way as the Top News and Most Recent tabs for the news feed, which similarly maintain state between visits.
Admins can click the “Hidden Posts” link beneath wall in the navigation menu to view a feed of posts they or Facebook’s spam detectors have filtered out of public view. Admins can select to unhide posts from this feed.
Admins Can “Use Facebook as Page”
Page admins can choose to “Use Facebook as Page” from the Account drop-down menu in the top right corner of Facebook. Admins will then see a special version of the site chrome where they can post and comment around the site under their Page’s alias, though not on user profiles a Pages can’t have friends. Since Pages can now Like other Pages, admins see a news feed of updates from Liked Pages.
The notifications drop-down in the top navigation bar shows the latest user posts and comments to the Page the admin is using. The friend request drop-down shows how many Likes their Page has received since the admin last used the site as their Page.
In response to frequent requests, Facebook admins can now turn on email notifications to alert them to activity on their Page through the “Your Settings” tab of the Edit Page admin interface. These emails could be overwhelming for popular Pages that receive thousands of posts and comments a day, but will certainly help smaller Pages stay attentive to their fan community. Hence, smaller Pages default to having notifications turned on, while larger Pages default to off.
Developers: No API Changes, but Tab Apps Can Now Use Iframes
The Page redesign does not affect the Page APIs, so developers don’t need to worry about their applications breaking. The expanded tab name space in the new navigation menu means developers can try using longer, more descriptive titles for when their application is installed as tab.
However, the Facebook Developers Blog has just announced that Pages can finally feature iFrame tab applications. Facebook announced the option in August as being slated for Q4 2010, but today says it has postponed the implementation until March 11, 2011. We’ll have more details in a forthcoming post.
Some Pages and Places briefly experienced a bug that caused the width of their tab applications to be smaller than it should be, cutting off the right edge of the app. Facebook has now fixed this bug.
An Upgrade, Not Just a Redesign
As users have grown familiar with the new profile over the last two months, it should be easy for them to acclimate to this redesign, which was accidentally pushed live for a few minutes in December. As well as creating a more consistent browsing experience, Facebook has granted many requests from the Page admin community. The only potential downside is that the less prominent placement of links to tabs could reduce their use.
Of all the beneficial changes, the Top Posts wall filter in particular will make sure users see high quality content each time they visit a Page. This will bolster confidence in brands and businesses that users directed to their Page will have an enjoyable, engaging experience. This will in turn lead them to spend more on Facebook ads that drive traffic to their Pages, generating more revenue for Facebook.
Page admins looking for updated best practices for the redesign should see the Facebook Marketing Bible, Inside Network’s comprehensive guide to brand marketing on Facebook.
Update 3/2/2011: Facebook has made several changes to Pages since the redesign, including providing a reverse chronological “Most Recent” view of the Page wall, which some admins requested. It has also increased the number of Page tab apps that appear above the fold in the navigation menu.