10 Changes to Facebook's Pages And 10 Steps to Do Something About Them.
This article is written with one goal in mind–to inform you of how Facebook radically changed the game for social media marketing by implementing Timeline to business pages (as well as a plethora of other upgrades)–and what it is you need to do about it for your business.
On February 29th, 2012, Facebook hosted their first ever FMC in New York. It was from this stage that Facebook announced a drastic overhaul over their business pages and many marketers, brand influence personnel, and Facebook aficionados alike are still feeling the aftershocks. A team of savvy marketers and I collaborated on a very detailed outline of these changes. I have taken the last 24 hours to tinker with these changes, fully understand their impact, and apply them to Pipeline’s Facebook page.
Now that I have mulled them over and worked with them personally, I can honestly say that I am certain that these changes will reshape how we market in the social ecosystem for good. In only the way a major player like Facebook can do, the narrative of social media marketing has been rewritten once again. Considering that Facebook has an IPO looming, these changes are certain to boost their valuation for several reasons, the most glaring of which is the intangible way businesses (of all sizes) will be able to actually tell their story through rich media, fan specific offers, and an even more direct customer service portal. Isn’t sharing stories what social was built on anyways?
Imagine the strong connections you will be able to make with the consumer as you continually pull back the veil about who you are as a company and invite your customers to share in your story in real time. In order to do this most effectively, there are 10 changes you have to know about, and 10 steps you must take to optimize this new platform.
1.Large, 850 x 315 pixel cover images.
Default landing pages are gone. You can no longer create a “like gate” experience for first time visitors as all visitors will automatically land on your Timeline page. Rather, you are now given incredible, top-end, digital real estate to visually impact your guests. While you cannot use this as a billboard for your web address, phone number, or calls to action, you can incorporate emotional imagery to communicate who you are as a company.
ACTION STEP: Create a rich image with vivid text that gives due perspective on who you are.
2. Apps are still here, they’ve just gotten an extreme makeover.
Apps used to live along the left side of your page with small 16 by 16 pixel icons and limited availability for rich text. Now, they have been given a proper stage and new look to go with it. With icons now sized at 111 x 74 pixels and an 810 pixel playground for your GUI, the sky is the limit with the experiences you can create, the promotions you can run, and the stories you can tell. You can still drive direct traffic to these apps with Facebook ads, so make sure they are crafted to convert. Facebook has also created a new app of their own called ‘Offers’ that is set to replace the former ‘deals’ option. More info on this to come as it is released.
ACTION STEP: Invest in quality, custom applications that give you the tools you need for your tool belt to construct a Facebook specific strategy for dominating your market space.
3. The apps area can be manipulated to maximize clicks.
While businesses cannot use calls to action on their cover images, you can on the icon photos for your apps, and even for your “photos” icon. If you hover over the apps area, you will see a small button that allows you to reconfigure which apps remain above the fold. While hovering over an individual app icon, you can click on the pencil button to edit the image that shows up as well. You can also rearrange the order by which your photo albums appear. If you include only one image and the very first album in the sequence, you can control the image that shows up as the “photos” icon in the app area.
ACTION STEP: Use all 111 x 74 pixels to create “buttons” that people are drawn to, but be sure the apps on the other side are worth their clicks.
4. Hello to the Admin Panel.
Facebook has streamlined its notifications system into one easy-to-use panel inside of the Timeline experience. This will enable admins to better sort through fan interaction in a more efficient way.
ACTION STEP: Quickly familiarize yourself with everything you can track from the admin panel
and create a monitoring schedule for how often you visit the panel.
5. Multiple levels of administrative control.
While all 5 levels of these new protective controls have been identified, for those of you who are familiar with WordPress and how it functions, Facebook’s levels should be similar. This provides the ability to have multiple admins with varying levels of accountability; for those larger businesses with a ton of interaction, this is the answer you have been looking for in delegating page tasks to different personnel.
ACTION STEP: Choose your admins and their permissions wisely, define their duties, and hold them accountable.
6. Introduction of an RSS feed into your notifications.
As the blogosphere continues to develop, you can now move your steam into services like Feedburner and capitalize on the inherent, natural traffic that these services provide.
ACTION STEP: Research where you can submit this feed and drive new traffic to your page.
7. Direct messages from your fans.
Finally, Facebook has given businesses the ability to streamline their customer service in a MORE PRIVATE way. Admins no longer have to worry about negative feedback effecting their entire Facebook community if you make direct messages an open and encouraged option for your fans to submit feedback. Handle these responses promptly and you will tell your fans they matter and that you want to keep their business.
ACTION STEP: Plan on mentioning this feature on your page often and create a manageable response time frame that you can promise to your fans. Move resolved issues back to your wall to showcase your dedication to your fans.
8. Open fan access to a portion of your Insights.
While I am not sure I love this change as much as the others, giving open access to a portion of Insights gives you the ability to check on your competition. Watch what they are doing, identify what is working or who they are targeting and adjust accordingly.
ACTION STEP: Create a revolving list of your competition and delegate one person of your team to check their progress regularly.
9. The ability to pin stories to the top of your page.
For us at Pipeline, this is the most impacting change to the platform. Businesses can now run revolving 7 day promotions by ‘pinning’ rich images and good content to the top of the page. Our client’s are always running Facebook specials and we can no ensure that active fans will see them.
ACTION STEP: Build a list of the first 8 specials/deals/promotions you want to run, write solid copy and design custom images to make
10. The creation of two new advertising services.
Marketplace ads still exist for SBO’s and other lower budget advertisers. But, the big boys have been given incredible access to the overall Facebook community through “reach generator” and “premium”.
Reach generator supplies custom ad campaigns to build on page traffic of current fans. Facebook has been beta testing this platform with partners like Walmart and 1-800-FLOWERS and has shown that these pages formerly averaged 16% participation from their fan bases before reach generator kicked in. After using reach generator, one partner experienced as high as 98% reach during the course of the trial. The premise is that the company uses their Timeline business page as their “mission control” by focusing on quality content with images, polls, questions, etc. Facebook’s marketing team then pushes these stories into the places that people most interact, i.e. their news feed and their personal pages. The total spend requirements have not been released as of yet.
The final type of ad campaign available on Facebook is called Premium. This sort of campaign eliminates the smaller guys since it requires a minimum of $10,000 a month in spend. While reach generator is designed to boost activity of current fans, Premium drives major traffic to the page. The company must decide what sort of campaign it wants to have Facebook administer from a list of options like a straight fan building campaign or an RSVP to an event campaign. Facebook then positions these ads on the news feed, the personal page, on Facebook mobile (tablet and smartphone) and eventually, on the exit screen for when people log out.
ACTION STEP: Size up your true marketing spend for the next 90 days and identify which service makes the most sense for your business.
I know these changes are big and it will take a significant adjustment period to truly understand and then leverage them for the good of your business. If you are a business owner who either does not understand Facebook to begin with or have now been knocked off center by these changes, Pipeline is here to help. Our team of social media specialists can give you a plan for success and help you finally crack the Facebook code for good. Call us at 678-814-4601 to find out how!
Photo Credit: ddpavumba on freedigitalphotos.net
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