Nikole Gipps is the face behind the superhero character at That PHP Girl, a web development company that specializes in WordPress, Premium WordPress Themes, and PHP Programming. She posts non-tech small business tips over at her blog, Small Business Essentials. A California native with a degree from the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (Ithaca, NY), she now lives in Oregon with her husband, 2 children, dog, cat, and the garden that she loves.
If you are a business with a Facebook Page for your business, Facebook’s news of changes to Facebook Pages might sound important to you, whether or not you know what it all means. I have been reviewing the changes this week and experimenting with them on my own Facebook Pages, and I have found that some of them are great, while others could still use some improvement but are still a step in the right direction. Want to learn more? Here’s a rundown of what I have been experiencing with the modifications to Facebook Pages:
Facebook Alerts: The Productivity Killer
This week, I have been getting a ton of e-mail from Facebook. As Facebook is now notifying Page admins of every comment on their Page, I feel both informed and suffocated by this new surge of inbox activity. I’m listed as an admin on many Pages due to the nature of my web development work, but I don’t interact with fans on my clients’ Pages so I really don’t know who these people commenting are! I find myself checking Pages I don’t need to check, or using a lot of my time dealing with the additional e-mail. If you have one Page that you are an admin on, it should not be a big deal — but if you have multiple Pages or a high-traffic Page, you will end up with a lot more e-mail than you bargained for. In this case, I would recommend turning off your Facebook e-mail alerts and use the HyperAlerts service to monitor the page in a digest format. To turn off your e-mail notifications, go to Account (on the top right) » Account Settings » Pages » Change email settings for individual Pages. (See screenshot below.) Uncheck all your Pages (or however many you don’t want to hear from) and then click Save.
Goodbye FBML, Hello iFrames
iFrames are the new way to display content on your Facebook Page content tab. iFrames are already in use on many sites — you may have used them before to embed a YouTube video, a newsletter signup form, or a Google Map in to your website. What makes them nice is that you can make them with simple HTML, so you don’t know specialized programming (FBML) or add static FBML applications to your profile to get professional-looking Facebook Pages. Another benefit is that you can host the content for your tab on your own site, making you able to change your content directly from your website or track visitors for your content.
There are some problems with this system however, such as making Facebook scams easier to pull off. There are also some losses of functionality, such as making Facebook Reveal Tabs an impossibility for most average users because it would require tapping into Facebook’s programming interface (API) to set these up.
Surfing Facebook as Your Page
One of my favorite new features is the ability of a Page admin to interact with other Facebook Pages. You can now go up to your Account tab and select Use Facebook as Page. This will bring up a list of Pages that you are an admin for, so that you may select which Page you want to be. This feature may be confusing when you use it initially, but as long as you keep track of what picture you are seeing in the top left, you’ll know who you are and you shouldn’t have a problem of posting something in the wrong place. The huge benefit to the feature is that small business owners can interact with each other as their company profiles (their Facebook Pages), not as their personal profiles — you can comment on other Pages, Like other Pages, and network through your company name. This makes it much easier for people to keep their business profiles and their personal profiles separate on Facebook.
Adding "Profile" Pictures to Your Page
Pictures added to your Photos now show up in the five boxes just like your personal profile page. They are nice to have — I added a bunch of screenshots of my work to have them appear up there — but they still have the same problem as the personal profiles in that you can’t easily control or choose which of your photos appear up there. However, you can remove certain photos from that area by clicking on the X that appears when you roll over the image, and only your photos appear there (not fan photos or things someone else posted on your wall).
Changes to the Page Look & Feel
The original design for Facebook Pages had a light blue bar across the top of it. I used this in my Page and logo designs to give the illusion of a transparent image in a profile many times, as shown here in the old Page formatting:
Now that the formatting has changed on the Page upgrades, I will have to go back and fix all those graphics, as they will just look like they have an odd blue bar hanging out at the top. The new design has a flat, white top with the navigation moved to the left sidebar, as show below.
Have you upgraded your Facebook Page yet? If so, do you like the new features?