Now that I’ve had a few days to play around with the changes Facebook has made in its Business Page product, and also to process those changes, I thought I would share a few things that you should consider as you move forward. Overall I like the changes, and I think you will too. But just remember: this is Facebook. They aren’t done yet. More changes are on the way.
This is a rather long post, but here’s what you need to know. In some cases, I’ll explain ways to use the new features, along with ways you should avoid abusing them:
1) Check your business category – When you click on the “Edit Page” button you’ll have access to a number of new behind the scenes features. Now, for the first time since you created your page, you have the chance to make sure you have categorized your business properly under “Basic Information”. Facebook has added quite a few new categories and subcategories. Having worked with a lot of clients I know that sometimes the old categories didn’t quite fit a lot of businesses, or the person who created the page mis-categorized the business. And once you set it up, you weren’t able to change it.
You can experiment a little bit here, and as you choose different categories, you’ll see how your basic information layout will change. Remember, the changes don’t take effect unless you click on “Save Changes”. Even if you do save the changes, you will still have the ability to change again. As you change categories and subcategories, you’ll find that your information entry fields change as well, so make sure you choose wisely and take advantage of all that is offered to you.
2) Content Moderation – For the first time, you now have the ability to moderate the content that people are able to post on your wall. You’ll find this under the “Manage Permissions” tab. If you are concerned about profanity, Facebook gives you three moderation filters: None, Medium, and Strong. I’m not sure of the difference between Medium and Strong, but this is a nice feature, especially if your page is often the target of foul language. A number of my clients are churches or faith-based non-profits, so I would probably advise them to use these.
Additionally, there is a Moderation Blocklist are where you can enter other words or phrases that you don’t want to see on your wall. Not sure how I would exactly use this, but I imagine you could put in the names of your competitors so that users aren’t able to post things such as “I like Joe’s Pizza better than your pizza!” Not really sure how I feel about this. In the spirit of transparency and authenticity I’m somewhat bothered by the possibility, but I can understand why it might be tempting to dothis. On the other hand, this sort of moderation would also prevent your most loyal customers from posting comments like “Your pizza is so much better than Joe’s Pizza!”
In other words, you really need to think this through. Profanity is one thing, but you don’t want to go so far that your fans consider it to be heavy censorship. That could certainly backfire on you.
3) Changing your identity from personal profile to business page – This is probably the most talked about feature. When you navigate to a page for which you are an administrator, you have the opportunity to switch identities from your personal profile to your page. You can do this by either going to the “Account” drop down menu and click on “Use Facebook as Page” or by navigating to your page and on the right hand side clicking on “Use Facebook as [business name]”. If you go through the “Account” tab it will give you the option of switching to any of the pages you administer, if you have more than one.
Once you do this, you may notice that you have some red “friend” and activity notifications. This is a great way to monitor your page, as well as discover your latest fans; a very useful function.
If you click the “Home” tab, it will take you to your business page’s “News Feed”, which is similar to what you have for your personal profile. The main difference is that you will only see news items from other business pages that you have “liked” from your page, nothing from individual users (more on that later).
If you choose to switch back to your personal profile, just go back into the “Account” tab, or on the right click on “Use Facebook as [your name]”. But, while you are logged in as your page, there are a few other things you can do:
4) Posting as your page – As you are logged in as your business page, you now have the ability to post on other business pages using your business name. Previously you were limited to posting only as yourself. This adds flexibility, and is somewhat similar to how we were already able to “tag” other pages using the @ symbol.
Note of caution: Be very careful with this. Just because you have the ability to do this, doesn’t mean you should use it often. Just as with tagging, you need to make sure that there is a legitimate reason for posting on another wall under your business name. Clearly, posting on your competitors wall would be cheap. I find that the only time you should use this is when you have a relationship with the other business of some sort, and it makes sense for you to post. Anything else looks spammy, and they can block you!
What Facebook won’t let you do and why: One thing businesses have wanted is more ways to contact “fans”. You’ll notice with the changes that you cannot post on your fans’ walls as a business. You also can’t use the search bar to find individuals or see your fans’ activity in your newsfeed. Many businesses have been clamoring for this, and as helpful as it would be, there are two reasons why I doubt we will ever see this: Privacy and Spam. If businesses were suddenly given access to your activity stream, you would cry foul in the name of privacy. And if every business had the ability to post on your personal wall, you would feel like you were being spammed.
5) Liking other pages – You still have the ability, as you navigate Facebook as yourself, to “Add Pages to my Favorites”, but now they’ve upped the ante and given you a little more control. If you are logged in as your page, you can now visit other pages and “Like” them as your business, rather than as yourself. This is a great way of showing support for partner businesses, other businesses in your community, favorite causes and non-profits etc. Plus, it also allows you to…
6) Set up “Featured Likes” – Under the old system your business page had a box showing the other businesses you had liked, and Facebook randomly changed which pages were featured in that box. Now you have control. Go to “Edit Page” then click on the “Featured” tab. Here you can choose from all of the pages you have liked as to which ones you want to rotate in and out of the “Featured Likes” section of your page.
The “Likes” section on your page will show up to 5 other pages. For instance, let’s say your page has “liked” 100 other pages. You can narrow that down to however many you want to feature. If you choose 30, those 30 will rotate. However, you can also choose only 5, which will ensure that those 5 are ALWAYS featured.
This is useful for featuring other businesses that you might happen to be currently working on with promotions. Or, if your business supports some local causes, it’s a great way to feature them. For me, I might choose to feature some of my most recent clients. Be creative in how you promote other businesses with this feature.
7) Featured Page Owners – Previously there was no way of knowing who was behind a business page. A lot of businesses like this because some individuals like to keep their personal and business lives separate. If that’s the case, you’re in luck. Facebook has defaulted to leaving the Page Owners section blank. However, if you choose to, you can go to “Edit Page” then click on the “Featured” tab, and select which of your page admins you want to feature on your wall. This is one way to show a little transparency and let your fans know who’s calling the shots. I think this is particularly helpful for small businesses. When customers come through your door, you might be the person they see behind the counter. Why not put your face out on the page as well so people make the connection? A human face personalizes your business a little more.
If privacy is a concern, you might not want to be featured as a page owner. You also might not want to use this feature if you outsource your Social Media, have handed it off to an intern, or feel it’s counterproductive or irrelevant to show who is running your page. You have to make the decision that is best for you.
8) Posting on your business page as yourself - Previously you only had the ability to post on your business page as your business. Now you have the ability to switch over and write on your wall using your personal profile. Let’s say you’re a small business owner. You are closely identified with your business. I can see how it might be helpful to weigh in as yourself as you interact with your fans. In order to do this, click on “Edit Page” then click on the “Your Settings” tab on the left. Once there, uncheck the box next to “Always comment and post on your page as…” By doing this you can easily switch back and forth depending on whether you want to post on your page as yourself or as your business. Note: this has nothing to do with how you post on other pages as covered in point 4. These are two separate functions.
Possible abuse: What I don’t like about this feature is the ability to try to fake engagement on your page. be careful! A keystone of Social media is transparency. If I were to post an update on my page, and then log-in as myself and say something along the lines of “Wow! That’s really cool!”, it would be highly unethical. If you or your employees, etc. are posting on your business page as themselves, it’s probably best to practice full disclosure and let people know your connection to the business. This is the sort of thing you see on review sites like Amazon and Yelp, and sometimes have to wonder if some of the reviews might just be a little TOO glowing.
9) Monitoring your page with update alerts – Another crucial feature of the upgrade is that you can now request email updates anytime someone comments or posts something on your business page wall. We’ve had this for personal profiles, but not for business pages. This is an important part of monitoring your brand and making sure you know when to respond. Go to “Edit Page” then “HYour Settings”. You’ll notice that email notifications is the default setting, so you’ll need to uncheck that box if you don’t want to receive emails. I know that some people manage multiple pages and they would prefer not to fill their inbox with these notifications.
Recently I blogged about how I’ve been using Hyper Alerts to get updates from my pages. One would think that with Facebook adding this update service I would no longer need Hyper Alerts. But Hyper Alerts is actually a better product. The updates from Facebook arrive in a more timely fashion, but are not as detailed as those that come from Hyper Alerts. Facebook’s alerts let you know what someone has written on your wall, but they don’t tell you on which update the person is commenting. Hyper Alerts sends you the full stream of engagement via email, which provides context and won’t leave you guessing. Additionally, I have received an email from the folks at Hyper Alerts indicating that they are working on some upgrades of their own.
10) Wall tab settings – The wall tabs are now on the left sidebar rather than across the top, making them less prominent, much like the changes made several months ago to the layout of personal profiles. In your settings, however, you still have the ability to choose which will the default landing tab for those who visit your page. In most cases I still recommend using the wall as your default, though you can still create a custom tab using either FBML or iFrames. But note: Facebook has announced that iFrames is now the preferable method, and FBML will begin to be phased out as of March 11th.
A lot of page managers don’t like the transition of the tabs from the top to the side. It’s not optimal, but I think people will get used to it in much the same way we’ve gotten used to our personal profile layouts.
And now, perhaps, the worst change in the upgrade:
11) Changes in how people view your page – When you or your fans come to look at your wall, they no longer see updates in chronological order. I see this as a mistake, and hopefully this is one of the tweaks they will make, giving admins and users, the opportunity to toggle between various wall content settings. Currently he “Everything” tab shows users what Facebook calls “the most interesting posts first.” I’ve looked at a lot of pages and have yet to figure out how “most interesting” is determined. Whatever algorithm they are using is in need of work. There has been quite an outcry on Facebook’s feedback pages about this, and in fact it’s the one feature most users are adamant about. As a result I wouldn’t be surprised if this is fixed fairly soon.
One note for admins: while your fans can’t see things chronologically, you have the ability by clicking on “Admin View” in your left sidebar tabs. You will then see everything chronologically. Across the top you also then have the ability to see “Hidden Posts”. Since there no longer seems to be a spam folder, I’m assuming this is where you might happen to find spam. I’d suggest you check it about once a week just in case.
There are some other smaller changes, but these are the ones that will affect most people. How do you feel about the changes? Anything else you’d like to see added in terms of functionality for either users or administrators?