Posts Tagged ‘Facebook Pages’

Don’t Go Back In Time With FacebookTimeline: Business Pages Are Sure to Follow

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Back to the Future Clock TowerAs with anything shiny and new the introduction of Facebook Timeline and a slew of other new features has businesses and marketers rushing to find out how they can use it for their business. I have already seen a number of small businesses sign up for a developer account just so they could create a branded Timeline on their personal account, but I’m left to wonder why.  I have spent years battling with clients and local businesses to convert from a Facebook profile to a Facebook Page to create a better user experience and greater engagement opportunities for their business and even with a shiny new Timeline, my advice hasn’t changed.

Facebook has said for years that they want users to have a seamless experience on Facebook focused on a fluid user interface, and while some may say the numerous changes they have made over the years have made things hard, they have still had that in mind.  Yesterday Mashable posted an article that looked at what advertising pros might do with a Facebook Timeline if it were applied to a Facebook Page and in return received some really well designed and branded Facebook Timeline’s for brands like McDonalds, the New York Yankees, Coca-Cola and a number of other brands.

In the article, a Facebook rep suggested that Facebook was looking at the evolution of Facebook Pages in addition to the recent changes to user profiles.  “Consistency in both functionality and appearance is really important to Facebook, so we hope to make Pages more consistent with the new Timeline in the future,” he said.

As I pointed out in an article I wrote for Plastic Surgery Studios about early adoption of Google+, good things come to those who wait.  We saw what happened to businesses who adopted Google+ too rapidly, their pages were taken down and they were placed on a waiting list to try out the, still yet to be publicly released, business pages.  If you already use your Facebook profile as a business account, then first I’d highly recommend you convert to a Page, but if not by all means have at it.  Otherwise, don’t send your Facebook social media efforts back in time by engaging your fans via a profile.  Remember profiles require you to accept friend request, you don’t get Likes and your content can’t be easily shared.  All that extra effort definitely isn’t worth the shiny new Timeline feature for your business.

In 4 Days Your Facebook Page Tabs May No Longer Exist

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

OK, it’s not really as dramatic as the title makes it out to be, but in the chaos surrounding all the new Facebook changes it seems that may people were left unaware that something bigger was coming down the pipe.  Earlier this year Facebook announced OAuth 2.0 and HTTPS Migration in their developers section.  With it came an October 1 deadline that required all page tabs and apps to be complient with the new rules.

To be compliant by October 1, the following items must be addressed:

  • all Website and Canvas apps must exclusively support OAuth 2.0 (draft 20)
  • all Canvas and Page Tab Apps must use the signed_request parameter
  • an SSL Certificate is required for all Canvas and Page Tab apps (not in Sandbox mode and not FBML)

A lot to absorb with just a few days left to comply.  Fortunately, if you are unable to address these issues in such a short notice your content will still be available, however Facebook users will be greeted with the message below.

Facebook Secure Browsing

While this isn’t due to roll out until October 1, I saw at least three instances today where a person was already being served this warning in place of a Facebook Page’s welcome tab.  If you are using a third party service or app to generate your Facebook tabs on your pages I would highly recommend contacting them to ensure that your tabs will survive the October 1 change.

SSL certificates are easily to come by and are offered by most hosting providers or domain registrars.  Certificates vary in cost, so do a cost comparison to get the best value, especially if you are only utilizing the SSL certificate to manage your Facebook Page tab or apps.

In some instances hosting companies offer shared SSL for free, where you can host your content under a subdomain on their main domain instead of on your own personal domain.  This too is a viable option if it’s available to you.

How Bogus Likes Help You To Lose Your Edge

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Lately the hype about Facebook has surrounded the introduction of the new news feed and Facebook Timeline.  Yesterday I posted an extensive outline of the recent Facebook changes and how they impact users and their profiles, but today I want to get back to the business of Facebook Pages.  If you’ve read this blog for any amount of time you know how much I stress that social media is not a numbers game. In my post Like Me and I’ll Like You Back I stressed how numbers mean nothing if the followers of Likes you are generating don’t really care about you and your message.  However, with more companies out there pushing their products to gain you hundreds Likes for a nominal price, I thought I’d share how services like this hurt you more than help you.

Facebook’s EdgeRank

Before we get into how these services can hurt you, let me tell you a little bit about EdgeRank.  EdgeRank is an algorithm utilized by Facebook to determine if your content is worth showing to its users.  It creates an affinity score between your page and a particular user by gauging how often you and that user interact, adds a content type-specific weight (is it a link, a picture, status update, etc), and then adds an age factor to round things out (How recent is it, when was the last engagement with the content, etc.).  The second you post something on Facebook the score is determined and is then increases based on interactions.  The more people interact with your content, the higher your base EdgeRank is.  If people aren’t interacting with your content, your affinity score drops and essentially your content will show up less and less, or not at all, in that users News Feed.

How Buying Likes Can Hurt You

With the idea of EdgeRank fresh in your mind, let’s imagine that you went ahead and paid someone $100 for 100 new followers.  In most cases these Like’s are provided by Facebook accounts created solely for the purpose of inflating the number of people that Like Facebook Pages.  They will never like your content, they will never comment on your content, and probably never visit your page again.  Their lack of interest in your content and Page instantly impacts the long term growth of your Page’s EdgeRank and the probability of your content showing up in the News Feed of legitimate followers.

Finding Legitimate Likes

The key to keeping strong EdgeRank is the focus on quality Likes.  Much like backlinks for SEO, it’s not the quantity that’s important so much as the quality.  To gain quality Like’s you need to give people a reason to Like you.  Create an experience that will make existing fans interact and draw attention of other users.

  • Start Close To Home – Get your employees, existing clients, vendors, partners, friends and family to Like your page.
  • Share Unique Content – Videos, images, and updates that people won’t find anywhere else.
  • Post Content That Require Action - Ask questions, run polls, etc. Post things that make people click and interact.
  • Say Thank You – When users post on your wall, thank them and interact with them. Show them that you’re listing.
  • Integrate Social Media Into Your Business - Ultimately the more you entwine social media into your business culture the more fans you’ll cultivate.
    • Post signs in your business, “Join the conversation on Facebook”, “Find out about our latest specials on Facebook”, etc.
    • Have receptionsts end calls asking, “Have you joined the conversation on Facebook yet? Visit Facebook.com/YourNameHere”.

In conclusion, the number of Like’s you have doesn’t matter.  Build and maintain a quality fanbase that is willing to share your content and interact with it.  Your goal should be to become an influencer with content people enjoy and share, not a Facebook Page with 1,000 Like’s.

New Changes to the Facebook Pages Interface

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Back in early February Facebook announced a major Facebook Pages update, the changes were pretty significant and took some time for businesses to adapt to.  Today, it appears that Facebook is at it again.   This time making minor adjustments to how you navigate pages and get data about the pages you admin.

The Divorce of Pages and Ads

Prior to today’s update Pages and Ads were always tied together when navigating Facebook, however it now appears that these will finally be separate entities.  The image below shows the icon as it appeared prior to today and how it appears in the new navigation.

Instant Page Stats

Another big change appears the second you view Pages from the new navigation.  You can now view Likes, Weekly Actives, and Notifications all from the main pages screen.  This is great for Page admins who want to keep tabs on engagement without having to dive too deep into the data.  Below is a screenshot of the new admin section.

On Page Notifications

Finally a new Notifications drop down appeared in the upper right admin section today.  Mari Smith tipped me off to this particular change earlier this morning.

While these changes are small in comparison to the kinds of changes we saw in early February, this shows Facebook’s continued dedication to helping their products and services evolve.  Overall I welcome the change and think it helps to improve overall navigation and visibility of some of the more common features Page admins are using.

The Real Impact of The Facebook Page Update

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Yesterday I shared the announcement regarding Facebook Page Updates. In it I outlined a number of new features that would help Page admins interact with their fans and other Pages directly without using the persona of the admin. While these changes were welcomed by page admins with open arms, the biggest change could be more crippling than helpful.

The Removal of Facebook Tabs

For internet marketers and Facebook users alike, tabs have been an integral part of the brand experience on Facebook. Many major internet marketing campaigns have been hosted with the aid of tabs, displaying pertinent information about current campaigns, promotions and more. With the latest Facebook Page upgrade the once prominent tabs have been shifted to the left hand side of the page below the Page photo, making them much less noticable.

Featured Photos

Another new feature with a big impact is the featured photos section that appears at the top of the page. Based off of the profile photos update Facebook released last year, the new featured photos section displays a main image and 5 smaller images at the top of the page. While this is a nice feature for the more photogenic businesses and celebrities, it creates a problem for brands who display few or no images on their profile.

The Facebook page for mobile app Kik Messenger quickly added a handful of generic photos of its product earlier today following the Page update, something many Page admins will surely be scrambling to do before the March 1 global push.

Overall Impact

While the overall impact is yet to be determined, I would imagine that until Facebook users get used to yet another Facebook change, many internet marketers and Facebook Page admins will see some definite changes in user behavior. With the features that were once housed in tabs at the top of the page being less prominent, I would imagine we will see a decrease in clickthrough to these sections while users adjust. Another factor that could have an impact on clickthrough is the icon used to display what was once nothing more than text. Tabs created using specific apps now display the app’s icon next to the name. Finally, businesses who fail to upload additional images to fill the featured photos section will be left with a void of blue squares affecting the overall quality of the page and perception of the brand.

At the end of the day the overall changes to Facebook Pages are good for both consistency in Facebook user experience and for Facebook Page admins to interact with their fans. Unfortunately during the transition phase many Facebook campaigns may be negatively impacted.