Facebook’s Redesigned Fan Pages to Compete More Directly with Twitter

As most brands and marketers know by now, Facebook is preparing to announce a redesigned version of its Pages product for businesses tomorrow.

For those that haven’t seen the details on all the likely* changes (*based on materials Facebook has been circulating with advertisers) and things Page owners need to do to prepare for the changes, here’s a quick summary:

  1. Pages “2.0” now look a lot like Facebook profile pages: the Wall is front and center, and almost everything else (including custom HTML and application boxes) is moving to secondary tabs.
  2. Pages will now have a powerful tool previously only available to Facebook profiles: Status Updates. Status Updates have the potential to become a VERY powerful tool for marketers large and small.
  3. Activity from Pages you’re a fan of will now prominently appear in your home page News Feed. This means you’ll see updates from Pages you’re a fan of mixed in with updates from people you’re friends with.

Sound familiar? That’s because, on the whole, Facebook Pages are becoming a lot more like Twitter in terms of the ways marketers can use them to reach and engage people inside Facebook.

Twitter has proven that the “status update subscription + news feed” conversation model works well for a variety of marketers – from large brands like Dell and Starbucks to self promoters like bloggers, consultants, and real estate agents. Twitter is a simple way for anyone to start participating with social media marketing by sharing updates on company news, commenting on relevant conversations about their industry, and communicating directly with both satisfied and unsatisfied customers.

While Facebook Pages have been successful for many marketers so far, many Page owners have been looking for more ways to engage more Facebook users and keep them coming back to their Page. Many marketers we’ve spoken with have been asking for help figuring out how to solve these core viral growth and user retention problems.

The good news: the new Facebook Pages should help you do just that. While the Pages redesign does move custom HTML content and application boxes to a secondary tab – a not insignificant change for brand owners who have invested in building those modules – the new emphasis on conversation and dynamic updates, combined with greater News Feed integration, should make Facebook Pages a much more powerful tool for marketers overall.

Like Twitter, Facebook’s new Pages make it much more natural for marketers to share fresh content and communicate with their fans (of course, Pages have always allowed owners to post rich content like Photos and Videos, and that will continue). Because status updates and conversations that Page owners have with their fans on the Page will now be much more prominent, Facebook Pages could become much more important conversational venues around the brand at hand than they have in the past.

How will all the details pan out? We’ll have all the updates from tomorrow’s announcement.

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