I saw a repost the other day that said, “Facebook, this is where I live. Please stop re-arranging the furniture.”
Facebook’s latest interior redesign affects business fan pages deeply. Their new timeline page layout attempts to bring story telling into social media, but in Facebook-land the story can get pretty jumbled.
Why is Facebook frustrating small business marketers?
Facebook taught us to read the page from left to right, top to bottom, with the newest entries on top. On our home page feeds, we look to the left, see the profile and read the post accompanying it. The new timeline look alternates wall posts left and right up a center timeline, making entries occasionally appear out-of-order or incongruent. Fix this by forcing features into a position by starring or pinning them. Starring calls attention to the post by doubling its size and expanding the width of your timeline. “Pinning” a post keeps a story or article at the top your timeline. You can also add milestone information in your timeline, filling in missing or incomplete aspects of your story.
Under the cover photo is the information that had been on tabs. The width of the timeline and the space allocated for the native app Photos means that only three other tab panels are viewable “above the fold.” To see more, users must expand the tab panel by clicking a drop-down arrow at the right. Choose your three tab apps carefully — this will be one of the first things users see when interacting with your page on Facebook. If you don’t have extra tabs or apps, your number of “likes” will now be front and center. If you haven’t been making “friend development” a priority you may want to.
Your brand story is further complicated by the boxes on the top right of the timeline detailing friends, recent posts, likes and activity. Those aspects of the Facebook page had been tucked in the sidebar, but now they are prominent. Businesses need to embrace these features to take advantage of this valuable real estate. Keep your content current and encourage fan activity.
But, it’s not all bad
Page administrators will enjoy the new admin panel for Facebook business pages. Through a toggle at the top of the page, it provides a quick overview of the activity on the page and makes it easy to access features like the activity log.
And the page is more open than ever to customized programming. FBML programming is no longer necessary. The new upgrade utilizes iframes allowing programmers to build programs that non-programmers can use to create customized tabs for your Facebook page. If you’re interested, check out Social Page Builder, ShortStack and Pagemodo.
I’m sure we’ll get used to the new format, and Facebook is bound to bring in a few new feature soon that will probably pull the thing together. But for now I’m busy trying to keep my clients from tripping over the couch.