Changes to Facebook Pages

As you’ve all no doubt seen, Facebook is currently instituting some major changes to the wey in which Facebook Pages display and operate.

The first time I realized that they were actually going ahead with these changes was last December when – during an online seminar – my Facebook Page suddenly, without warning, changed before my eyes.

To say it was a shock is an understatement.

You may be expecting changes, but when it happens while you’re watching, it can be a little unnerving to say the least. Suddenly all my top navigation tabs disappeared to re-appear as insignificant links in the left sidebar. Frantically, I searched Facebook for information about what was happening and was amazed to see my comments on my Facebook Page appear in the Google results within seconds.

About half an hour later, my Page suddenly reverted to it’s old style, top navigation tabs and all.

My first thought wea: “This is bad. No tabs at the top? How will people find my information?”

Well, now Facebook has decided to make the changes universal and permanent. You have a limited time option to ‘upgrade’ to the new style. If you choose not to upgrade at this time, your page will simply retain the invitation to upgrade which is positioned at the top of the page. Once the ‘grace’ period is over, you will then be upgraded automatically.

It’s probably better to decide what changes will be necessary, make them, then upgrade so that you are not completely at the mercy of the inevitable.

By the way – if you choose to upgrade now, there’s no going back. This is why I am leaving my pages as is for the time being until I ensure that everything is configured properly for the new set up.

The changes:

First of all, if you have a custom reveal tab or custom tab of any kind incorporating a graphic, the width of the page remains unchanged.

However the size of the avatar on the left is changing from 200 px wide x 600 px long to 180px wide x 540px wide. In the preview I’ve done of my pages, the avatar appears to be automatically shrunk to fit this new size, so hopefully this will mean there’s no necessity to upload a new avatar.

One of the most significant changes is that the tabs along the top of the page – including any custom tabs have been removed from this position and now appear as text links in the left nav bar below the avatar. This change is the least positive of all the changes as it impacts the visibility of custom tabs which obviously diminishes the impact and makes traffic driving strategies to specific tabs even more important.

The default landing tab is still set in the same manner by accessing the Permissions link under ‘edit page’ – which now, instead of being under the avatar, appears under the page name at the top of the page.

The other page management functions are also accessed in the same manner. The functions are listed as follows:

 

  • Your Settings
  • Manage Permissions
  • Basic Information
  • Profile Picture
  • Featured
  • Marketing
  • Manage Admins
  • Apps
  • Mobile
  • Insights
  • Help

 

One of the most useful changes is that you can now operate as a Page when you interact and ‘like’ other pages. Previously you had to interact and ‘like’ as your personal profile – which if you’re interacting on a business level causes some obvious limitations. This means that now, if you are operating as a business on Facebook, your business connections need never be aware of your personal profile unless you want them to be. You still have the option of interacting as a person using your personal profile by selecting this under the Account tab at the top of the page.

Another change, and a slightly annoying one to my mind, is that your pictures are now displayed along the top of the page in the same way that your personal pics are displayed on your profile. Obviously this creates some issues if you have pics attached to notes or posts that are simply visuals for these posts that you don’t necessarily want to draw attention to. To get rid of any pics that you don’t want displayed like this, you can hover your mouse over the pic and a small cross appears above the pic. Click the cross and it will no longer be displayed. If you change your mind you can ‘unhide’ but it will reinstate ALL the pics and cannot be applied only to specific hidden pics.

A good change is that you can now receive notifications when someone interacts with your Page by posting on the wall or commenting. This is very useful as before you had to physically go in and check to see who had interacted, resulting in comments and interactions running the risk of going unnoticed and unacknowledged if the Page had a lot of activity on it.

You can opt to have these notifications sent to you by email in the same way that we’ve been able to do with personal profiles.

Along these lines, you’re also now able to have a newsfeed where posts of pages that you like are visible. This operates exactly the same as with the personal profile.

The visibility of people and other Pages who like your page are now visible to visitors – and you can also set the page to display who the admins of the page are. This appears to be optional for those who do not want to advertise their personal connection in conjunction with a business Page. This function is accessible from the ‘Featured’ tab on the left when you select ‘Edit Page’.

A concerning change is that Facebook is now making your posts ‘more relevant’. This means that they will display what they feel is most relevant to your fans and pages that like your page. The same thing is being done on personal profiles. Basically this means that if you / or your fan / friend do not interact regularly you will not see their posts and they will not see yours – and – if you do not somehow display interest in a particular subject which either you or your connection posts, this will not be featured in the relevant news feed. That change alone means that your overall visibility is now significantly impacted and that you will need to be more diligent than ever to interact with connections and encourage them to interact with you.

I will keep you updated as new changes happen and as I see any further impact of the recent changes.

Let me know if you’d like help and I’d be happy to assist.

More information can be obtained from the Facebook Developers ‘Help’ Center.

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