Facebook recently announced another update to Timeline for Pages.
According to Facebook, the new streamlined look for Pages is meant to make it easier for people to find the tools they use most. (Others have theorized it’s because the old design was too advanced for users’ computers.)
The most significant changes include a new single-column News Feed so status updates appear all in one line, a large callout to the business’s “About” section on the left-hand column, easier access to key admin roles, and a “pages to Watch” feature that enables administrators to create a list of pages similar to their own and compare performances.
The new design will be rolling out to businesses over the next few weeks. In the meantime, there are a few ways businesses can prepare:
1. Update your “About” information.
Now that Facebook is highlighting the “About” section, businesses will want to make sure that their information is up to date. The type of business you own or run will determine which information will be displayed here. According to Facebook, brick-and-mortar businesses will display a map, phone number, hours of operation, “likes” and visits, information about the business, apps, photos, videos, reviews, posts to the page, and the pages the page “likes.” Online-only businesses can expect to see “likes,” information about the business, apps, photos, videos, posts to the page, and pages the page “likes.” Whew!
Businesses that have the review feature will see that information in the left-hand column, along with posts by other people.
Make sure to include current information about your business, including a description of what your business does, and perhaps even a mission statement. You should also include a link to drive traffic back to your site.
2. Decide which pages you’re going to watch.
An interesting new feature of Facebook’s redesign is one that lets administrators “watch” pages that are similar to their own and compare the performance of each page. Facebook will tell you these pages’ Total Page “likes,” New Page “likes,” Posts this Week, and Engagement this Week.
The best way for businesses to leverage this is to have a strategy behind the pages they choose to monitor. It will differ from business to business, but you could choose to watch a direct competitor and, if you notice their engagement or “likes” have skyrocketed, check out what they’re doing. It’s also a good idea to watch similar, non-competitors’ pages and see how they engage with their fans. This feature can also be a great way to stay current with news with businesses in your industry.
3. Name and logo custom apps.
Custom apps have been moved to the left-side column of the Timeline, just below the “About” section. The app icons are still 111×74 pixels wide, and the app name is displayed next to the icon. Businesses will want to upload clean app icons and add a descriptive app name to each one.
Here are three design tips for creating custom app icons:
• Keep it simple: Custom app icons are only 111×74 pixels, which is a small piece of real estate. The simpler the design, the better. Choose one clear image or a color background with text.
• Clear calls to action: Use the app icons to tell your fans what you want them to do: Enter Now, Click Here, Subscribe Here, etc. Being straightforward will drive your fans to your apps.
• Consistent design: If you’re a savvy business marketer on Facebook, you should have multiple custom apps. Try designing consistent app icons for each of your apps so they look similar and match your branding.
4. Stop worrying about daily reach.
In the past it has been hard to not look at the “People Talking About This” number or the daily reach of individual posts. As Facebook marketing expert Jon Loomer says, this has been mainly Facebook’s fault for always flaunting the reach numbers in our faces. The new layout includes a “This Week” column that will provide admins with information about current ads running, page “likes,” Post Reach, and unread notifications and messages. Ideally this will help businesses to stop thinking so much about their daily reach and do what Jon Loomer suggests: to focus on their weekly reach. Jon does a great job of explaining how we really should be using reach. He suggests looking at reach as a long-term whole versus a day-to-day factor.
As Facebook rolls out the new page design, what aspect of it are you most looking forward to?
Jim Belosic is the CEO of ShortStack, a self-service custom app design tool used to create apps for Facebook Pages, websites, and mobile web browsing. ShortStack provides the tools for small businesses, graphic designers, agencies, and corporations to create apps with contests and forms, fan gates, product lines, and more.