Facebook Pages Changed For the Better

Because I never write about Facebook (#sarcasm), I decided tonight would be a great opportunity to discuss an exciting new change that the social media network started to offer yesterday. It is definitely a game changer for people who depend on Facebook for communicating/marketing when it comes to their company, business, or group.

I have anticipated this move for a long time and finally timeline is now available for Facebook Pages. While timeline has been available for personal pages for several months, Facebook Pages were still stuck with the archaic straight vertical type format.

Yesterday I went into work and on all of my Grizzly Athletics FB pages I had the option to upgrade to timeline. Because I had prepared myselffor this change all the way back in October, it took me really no time at all to convert the eight different official pages I run for Griz Athletics (one for the main department account and then one for each individual sport) from the old format to timeline. In October I created a general cover design that every official page in our department would adhere to and then personalized each individual sport page with pictures, Twitter info, and head coach info. For example, here is what our main account looks like, here is what our football account looks like, and here is what our women’s basketball account looks like.

The new features for page administrators with timeline are pretty cool. Whenever you go to a page that you administer, at the top  (only visible to you) is an administrative panel that immediately gives you all the pertinent info about your page. It displays all of your notifications for that page, displays your insights, shows the new people who just liked your page, and shows you any messages that you have. See, the message feature is a really cool thing that has come out of the timeline version for Facebook Pages. No longer do users have to stumble around a page looking for information on who to contact or post an awkward question on the wall to reach the page creators. Now, all they have to do is click “Message” and they can get in touch with the page administrators immediately and in complete privacy from other users.

With timeline for Facebook Pages you can highlight stories by making them take up more space. For example, we just hired a new offensive coordinator at Montana. If I was working on timeline at that time, instead of having the story just take up a small square one column section of the page, I would have enlarged it to be a rectangle that extended across two columns of the page. Also, you can “pin” stories/pictures/news that will make it so that content will stay at the top of the page regardless of the new material that you add.
Just a couple more cool things about timeline for Facebook Pages:  Besides the option to message the page, users can now easily see who the page owners are. Of course this is up to us as administrators to decide if we want to reveal this information. I believe it is a good move though, it adds a “face” to the page so to speak. You decide who the page owners are. You could have ten different administrators for a page but you might only want to include two as the “page owners” for the public to see. Another cool feature is that there is an “activity log” that only administrators can view. You can go to the activity log and see every single thing you did on the page and see the likes and comments that each page got. It is very informative.
On March 30, all Facebook Pages will be automatically converted to the timeline format. If I can give advice to you, convert your Facebook Page over to timeline right now! Get ahead of the game and show the people who “like” your page that you are innovative and tech savvy. Besides the image you will portray as an entity that is with the times, by converting you are just going to give yourself much more important information about how people are interacting with your page as well as more opportunities for these people to interact with you.
If you do want to wait until the very last minute to convert to timeline, be sure to be ready come March 30. By this I mean have your cover photo already designed and have a good grasp on how the new version of Facebook Pages work. Nothing could be worse than having gray space taking up your cover photo and confusion dominating your page once the conversion takes place. Do your homework.
Of course I do have a couple concerns with the new version. While we can do all we can as page administrators to make sure we are not confused/caught off guard by the new changes, the same can’t be said about the people who “like” the page. Since I made the conversion on all of our Facebook Pages at Grizzly Athletics I have been pleasantly surprised that I have received no negative feedback or questions about what the hell happened to the pages from our fans. However, like my friend reminded me, lots of interaction with Facebook Pages take place on the newsfeed, where the new design is not reflected. I also fear about how corporate some of these pages are going to get with all of the new real estate that is available via the cover photo. Should be interesting.
All in all though, my concerns are completely overshadowed by my optimism for the new era of Facebook Pages. With an increase in the possibilities of both creativity and interactivity with the new version, it is a good thing. Time to get excited about the new stage in Facebook marketing!! Don’t Blink.

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