Facebook Fan Pages Revolutionized: Default Tabs out, Fan Page Timeline In!

If you think you’ve seen the last in the on-going rivalry between the heavy-weight social media sites, Facebook and Google, then you’re in for a surprise!

A few days ago Facebook introduced some major changes concerning Facebook fan pages. Coming a few hours before Google’s new privacy policy came into effect, shows that these two are not, in any way, ready to cede ground to the other.

As I’ve written earlier, this social media war between Google and Facebook is something that is definitely going to bring some positive thing for all of us! Who ever expected so many changes in a very short period of time? And who knows what more changes that we will be seeing in the days ahead? But one thing that is for sure is the positive impact this will have on our use of the internet both for business and personal interactions.

Facebook Fan Pages Changes: A Look into What Is New

When I first heard of the news about the new changes, I quickly took a look at this blog’s fan page and I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw.

Now, it will interest you to know that I was in the middle of redesigning the pages.  For the past 2 weeks I had been brainstorming for some very good artwork and so the first thing that surprised me was the fact that Facebook has thrown away the default tab and instead is introducing “Timelines” just as we have in Facebook profiles!

I really do not know why the default tab is being thrown away but from all indication, it appears that Facebook has something against the creative uses that many internet marketers are putting the default tab to. Seriously!

For example, here’s a graphic of what my facebook fan page looked like before the changes:

facebook fan page image

With this optin form for capturing email contacts:

fan page optin

But now, here’s a preview of what the page now look like (of course I will need to work on it again to bring it up to date!):

As you can see Facebook has given us some more work but we do expect things like this in this business from time to time and so it’s going to be some fun!

Here are the major changes

1. Cover Photo

With the default tab going Facebook now allows you to use a cover photo on your fan page. However, there are some restrictions. The cover photo may NOT contain the following:

>>> Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”.

>>> Contact information or any other information that should be in your Page’s “About” section.

>>> References to user interface elements, such as “Like” or “Share”, or any other Facebook site features.

>>> Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”.

If you want to use a cover photo, the idea size is 850px by 315px.

2. Default Landing Tabs Removed

This is one area many marketers may not find agreeable. With the ability to use HTML codes, many marketers used this tab as the “Welcome” gateway for their fan pages. Many built fanciful landing pages where they collected contact information from first time visitors and build very responsive email lists. Others simply used it to encourage first timers to “Like” the page. Unfortunately, there is no more default tab. Taking this with the restrictions placed on the cover page, it does appear that Facebook is trying to discourage, as much as possible, blatant marketing on the site. But is this really what marketers on Facebook are looking for?

3. Photos, Likes, and Apps Moved to Top of Page

Photos, apps and likes which used to be at the side of the page now take the top of the fan page. You can show up to a maximum of 12 apps at the top.  A little look at this will of course give one some ideas on how to you can draw attention to a particular app since you can decide which of the app should appear first. Marketers will have to find some creative use for this section.

4. Administrator Panel

Administrators of your fan page can now keep track of activities of the page from a new admin panel. From here the administrator can respond to writeups from people visiting your fan page and also view the latest insights about the page.

5. Fan Page Messages

One of the features of the new admin panel is that people can now contact you privately through messages. Any message sent will appear in your admin panel.

6. Ability to “Highlight” or “Pin” your favorite post to the top

I think this is another good one. Just as you can make a post “sticky” in wordpress blogs, Facebook now allows you to pin your favorite post to the top of your fan page. This is another way of drawing attention to your most important content on your fan page.

And Now, My Sincere Thoughts About These Facebook Fan Page Changes

As much as it does appear that Facebook wants businesses and marketers to create more interactions in the use of fan pages, I’m seeing a situation where Facebook is actually playing into the hands of Google considering what Google is doing with Google+ business pages.

If you’re familiar with how Google is pushing Google+ business pages using their search engine to encourage more businesses to build Google+ pages, you will readily agree that businesses and brands who desire more online visibility will definitely focus more of their marketing activities in their  Google+ business pages.

Of course, Facebook may still be banking on their big numbers and the understanding that with more interaction comes more brand awareness and therefore more business, but I do see more marketers throwing more into their Google plus pages.

Over to You:

So, what do you think about all these? Do agree with my observations or do see business and brands throwing more into their Facebook fan pages viz a viz what Google is doing? Post your views in the comments below.

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