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.

Dramatic Facebook Changes

If you are someone who gets rattled when Facebook makes a site change, you might as well delete your account right now.
Supposedly, sometime this week the brand new Facebook will debut. Last week, thanks to a friend, I got tipped off on a way to make the new version reflect on my profile. I am currently under the new Facebook and let me tell you…it is different! But I definitely mean “different” in a good way.
The upcoming new changes to Facebook have probably been one of the worst kept secrets.  Then again, I really don’t know if it really was a secret to begin with, as the f8 conference in September (a yearly conference held by Facebook to discuss the company) detailed the new timeline format that would debut soon.
When these new changes go into effect for the general public, people are going to flip. Believe me, it is not one of the typical Facebook version changes where something might be moved to a different place or the newsfeed is tweaked. We are talking total makeover, wholesale type changes. It is going to generate a lot of  discussion across the nation and I know a lot of people are going to be pissed. But after they take the time to look over the new format and see what it has to offer, I hope they see that it is much better (click here to see what I wrote about the previous Facebook changes).
Facebook is now going to offer a timeline profile. Now you will have the option to go back in time to any period when you had Facebook and see all of the posts, status updates, and pictures from that era. I guess you could kind of do that with the current version but you would have to click “older posts” about 500 different times and it would take you probably three hours to get what you were looking for. With the new version, if you wanted to see what you were doing in the Facebook world on, let’s say, March 19, 2008, you would just have to click once or twice and you would be there. Right when I got the new timeline version I decided to go back to early 2007 when I first got Facebook. I could not believe how young and immature I sounded! I had stuff from a former girlfriend written on my wall that I would never let fly these days. It really did bring back a lot of memories, much in the same way that my journals do when I decide to go back and read past entries. Also with the timeline profile, you will be able to add pictures and information from the days before Facebook. Starting with when you were born, you can tell your life story through pictures and words.
With the new Facebook, you now also have the ability to “feature” certain posts. Let’s say you just got engaged, you can “feature” that and it will make the news the focal point of your profile. I can’t wait to do this for all of my blog posts.  It really just makes everything so much more customizable. No longer do you have different pages lined up vertically on your profile. Your info, friends, likes, pictures, etc. are all shown horizontally across the top of your page. Your actual profile with all of your posts from friends, added pictures, status updates, recent activities, etc. is organized in a double column format that fits the timeline theme. It confused me a little bit at first on where previous posts would be placed after a new one was added but I now understand it much better.
The feature that I absolutely love about the new Facebook is the ability to make “covers”. Your cover is a large 840×310 pixel space at the very top of your profile that you can design to fit your personal brand. People’s creative juices are going to be flowing as they make their various covers. Graphic designers are going to have a complete hay day as companies are going to look to them to make the slickest, flashiest one possible. That is how prominent Facebook covers are on profiles. I designed my cover to have my Twitter name and my blog URL on it. Of course, my life motto is also centrally placed on my cover.
This is my cover that I created for my profile.


This week at work I will be spending a lot of time designing covers for the various Facebook pages I run for Grizzly Athletics. Once these Facebook changes take effect, I am going to be ready for it. I said that a lot of regular Facebook users are going to get a little crazy when they wake up to find Facebook dramatically transformed but I also predict the exact same type of reaction from the corporate world. Facebook as we know it is going to change and I am going to be very interested in seeing how various businesses, companies, and government/educational institutions adapt to it. One thing is for sure, Grizzly Athletics will be in with the new the second the changes take effect.
I would say that I am a little surprised that Facebook introduced new changes just a month ago considering they are rolling out the major redesign this week. I guess it is kind of tough to see the point of doing so but I also can kind of see Mark Zuckerberg smiling at driving the world that is so dependent on his creation absolutely crazy. 
So here is my warning to all of you. Get ready for change and get ready to embrace it. The new Facebook will give you the opportunity to further your own personal brand and tell the story of “you” much more effectively. While other people take the time to complain about it, you should take that time to learn everything there is to know about the new Facebook and become very proficient at it. This new version is here to stay and it is going to rock the social media world. Be ready. Don’t Blink.