Facebook recently released a standalone page management app for iOS devices which gives page owners better moderation tools and alerts about fan activity.
Pages Manager has a similar format to Facebook’s existing iOS app, but it adds notifications and insights, as well as eliminates any features that are not related to pages. Here we’ll walk through the available features and address the areas where the app would benefit from additional functionality.
After users download and connect the app with their Facebook account, Pages Manager will allow users to visit and take action on any page they have admin privileges for. Users can switch between pages from the menu that appears after tapping the button in the top left of the app. Also from that menu, users can access their page’s insights, admins, the help center and log out.
When visiting a page from Pages Manager, users can filter between all posts, page posts only or hidden posts. Hidden posts are something that are not available from the main Facebook app, however we’d like to also see an “only others” view to more quickly browse posts from fans and people besides the page.
Page owners can see how many fans have been reached and how many people are talking about a given post. Tapping on this area will bring up additional post metrics, including organic vs. paid vs. viral reach, the number of clicks on a post and the number of shares. Unlike on the desktop version of Facebook, users will not be able to see the number of shares directly from the post itself. There is also no way to view who shared a post or what they said about it from the mobile app. Still, Pages Manager is an improvement over the main Facebook app, which does not include information about shares or any other insights besides Likes and comments. We’d like to see Facebook add “negative feedback” metrics to the mobile app — as well as make it more prominent on the desktop site — to let page owners know when their posts are being hidden or marked as spam.
Page owners can get a snapshot of their overall page metrics by tapping the gray bar at the top of their page or by visiting “Insights” from the main menu. This is useful for being able to refer to in a meeting, for instance, but actual analysis will need to be done from the desktop site. In future versions of the app, it might be useful to provide basic demographic data or a list of the most engaging posts in the past month.
Admins can use Pages Manager to moderate comments and posts more easily than they can with the main Facebook app. First, users will receive push notifications about recent activity. Page owners who see a lot of hourly activity might want to turn off push notifications for those pages. Unfortunately, this is not possible from the mobile app and has to be done from the “edit page” dashboard on the desktop site. Facebook’s Help Center suggests this feature will come to a future version of Pages Manager. Interestingly, Facebook seems to automatically turn off push notifications for pages over a certain size, but leave the default on for smaller pages.
Even without push notifications enabled, users can access notifications from the top of the app, just as they can for their personal accounts in the main app. Page owners can see Likes, comments and Wall posts here.
Admins can read and respond to comments on behalf of the page, just as they would on the main app. However, Pages Manager offers additional options to hide posts and ban users, whereas the main app only allows admins to delete posts. Users can take one of these actions by swiping across a post or comment, either to the left or right. The app will offer a “confirm delete” dialog to prevent accidents.
Page owners can create posts from the new app. Similar to the main app, they can make text posts, link posts and photo posts. There is not a way to create events, customize how links appear, or upload multiple photos at a time. There is also no option to schedule posts or post to past points on a page’s Timeline, as is available on desktop. Of these features, being able to upload multiple photos in a single post is likely to be the most useful for page owners on their mobile phones. The other actions are fine to be reserved for desktop.
The mobile app allows page owners to see all the admins of their pages, but they cannot take any action here to add or remove admins. There’s also no indication here what level of admin access a user has, but since Facebook added that feature to the desktop site this week, we could see it in a future version of the mobile app. Currently, the main Facebook mobile app does not include any way to view page admins.
One important feature that has been left out of Pages Manager is messages. On the desktop site, pages have the option of accepting private messages from users and being able to respond as the page. Facebook says this will be available in future version of the app.
There is also no way to view or edit a page’s “info” section from Pages Manager, though this isn’t particularly necessary to have on a mobile device. If admins want to see what their info tab says, they can view it from the main Facebook app or mobile site.
There’s also no way to “use Facebook as a page” in the same way that is available on desktop. This feature lets admins take actions — Liking and commenting on other page’s posts or writing on another page’s Timeline — on behalf of their page rather than their personal accounts. It also allows page owners to see a feed of recent stories from other pages that they’ve Liked as their page. These features make it similar to using a company Twitter account rather than a personal one. It’s unknown what percentage of page owners use Facebook in this way, but this could be useful for the standalone pages app to include one day.
Download Pages Manager from the App Store here or directly on your iOS device. Facebook has not indicated when the app would be available for Android.