Over the past few years Facebook has witnessed a dramatic rise in new user adoption and with that rise has come the opportunity for brands to interact directly with existing customers and engage new ones. At the end of 2007, Facebook announced the launch of Facebook Pages and last week they launched a revised edition which includes a number of significant upgrades. This week, those pages will be going live for all. There are numerous ways for brands to leverage Facebook but the overall branded experience is becoming increasingly integrated into a single offering as the new Pages product highlights. So what are the primary benefits and changes for the new branded pages?
Pages Are Profiles for Brands
One of the primary reasons for launching Facebook Pages was that many companies were using user profiles for their companies, in turn violating Facebook’s terms of service. While I’m sure there were many other reasons for launching Pages, the easiest way to understand them is through viewing them as “Profiles for Brands”. This means brand pages can essentially do everything that users can do.
Pages Have Access to Users’ Feeds
This is probably the single most important feature within the new Facebook Pages product. Many in the press have described this as Twitter for Facebook. It’s an accurate description but for those that don’t understand what Twitter is, this makes things more confusing. Essentially when Facebook users become a “fan” of your branded page, they will be notified of your status updates anytime you update the status on your brand page, via the primary news feed on the homepage.
The News Feed is Now Real Time
This is actually an update to the site homepage but it will have a significant impact. Previously Facebook cached the homepage for at least 15 minutes in addition to automatically filtering all feed stories. This means that any feed story which made it to the news feed previously would stay there for a fairly long period of time. The news feed has since been redesigned to stream stories instead displaying the automatically filtered stories as “Highlights” on the right hand side of the page.
Pages Can Integrate Multiple Applications
Earlier this week I posted the example of a robust branded Facebook page which integrates an application into the experience. Pages could previously integrate basic applications but now there is space to integrate applications that are just as robust as those with standalone canvas pages. Not sure of what “canvas pages” are? A canvas page is the space in Facebook below the Facebook header and to the left of Facebook’s sidebar ads. Essentially you can now post applications which take up the full width of the page. I’ve gone ahead and posted a photo of the canvas area in the photo below.
Brands Can Join the Conversation
Social media has always been about joining the conversation and for the first time ever on Facebook, brands can now be a significant part of the conversation. Just as I mentioned earlier, these conversations can take place within a Facebook Page as well as in a user’s news feed. I can’t emphasize how important joining the conversation is. While your social media strategy should continue to include other outlets (blogs, Twitter, etc), Facebook should now attract much more attention since there is the potential for conversation.
10 Facebook Page Strategies Every Brand Should Know
As I mentioned in the introduction, Facebook Pages present a massive opportunity for brands to directly engage with their existing and future customers, even the occasional passer-by. This conversation brings with it the power that all other social media tools and platforms provide which is why this latest release of Facebook Pages is so important for brands. Yes, changes will come to the Pages product over the coming months and years but as many early adopters know, it’s often best to wait until the second version of a product arrives. Now that the second version of Facebook Pages has launched, it’s time for you to take your brand to the next level.