Gotta admit, the new Facebook Page look is not something I was wanting. A couple beloved features of mine are now gone. Since I work in social media and create its strategies for my client’s, I’m on Facebook Pages a lot. I’ve created numerous Facebook Pages to date and manage anywhere from 5-10 at any given time, so I’m writing from that perspective and experience. While I am still hanging onto the original style, the change happens for all pages automatically by Friday, June 13th. The news of this new look has been like a foreboding, “condemned building” sign on what has become an effective favorite! Okay…I realize it isn’t that dramatic, but I want you to get the point. Like any change to a system or process that is being used effectively for umpteen people in the world, there’s the pro’s and the con’s and usually, the con’s is what you here about. I’m going to write here just an overview of the new Facebook Page layout and what I believe are its pro’s and con’s so far.
Let’s Start with the Good!
Along the left-hand side, you now see featured things like your number of Likes, Apps, a preview of the latest photos you’ve uploaded, pages you like and other activity you’ve been up to. It’s pretty nice and at least here the Apps, which are also known as Tabs, can still feature a custom hyperlink and image (see more about that below).
Key features, like the panoramic cover photo and profile photo are still the same. A new follow-along menu bar in the upper right highlights your progress that week – things such as page likes, post reach, notifications and messages that you access as an administrator of the page. This is a great new feature and I love how it stays alongside that right side as your scroll down. While I don’t think it’s either good or bad, the Page Manager area for admins is now gone with easy to use simple tabs in one row along the top. This takes admins and page owners to overviews of their activity, insights, and settings.
Facebook had recently added a fantastic feature: scheduling capabilities for posts. They’ve maintained this on the new format, which is super helpful. At the same time, I still use and highly recommend scheduling tools like HootSuite (my personal and professional favorite) and some other tool for scheduling across multiple social media platforms.
Not So Great…
I absolutely loved custom tabs on Facebook Pages. Now they’re gone! These were those small boxes along the bottom right of the cover photo along the top of the page. By default, photos was always first (and as far as know, is still first). From there, you could arrange the order of other tabs, bust most importantly, you could customize them with your own image, your own title, and a hyperlink so that when people click on it, the other site you want them to see can either be within a Facebook Page frame or redirect the viewer to the site completely. This is great for directing people to your website, a blog email sign-up, a donate button, or even more. As referred to above, these are also known as Apps and yes, while they’re now featured further down on your page and you can still customize them with a hyperlink, they’re only listed as a their name under the cover photo and a viewer has to click “more” to even see what additional and custom tabs you may have available and the creative, eye-catching opportunity of having an image displayed is less optimized. As you can tell, this is my biggest disappointment with Facebook about their new changes…I just don’t get who came up with getting rid of such a great feature.
Second con on the new layout is that it resembles personal profiles on Facebook even more. The area for status updates and seeing the page’s timeline is switched from left to right, just like our personal profiles on Facebook exist. From an administrative perspective, I miss the page manager because it made it clear and obvious where I go to “Use Facebook as ‘My Page'”, versus now where you have to go to the very top right hand corner and find that setting under a small down-arrow that opens a sub-menu…which is not even titled. While before the Page Manager took up space along the top of a page for an admin, it could be hidden, so that even an admin would only see a single row with the option to expand. Yet the Page Manager gave views of excerpts of your messages and notifications from followers and visitors, helping you know what you needed to respond to.
Overall, it seems like pages have been simply “dumbed-down” and made to look and work just like personal profiles….what’s the point of that? I for one, would like continued differentiation and clear, attractive distinction between pages and profiles. Pages have not gained anything and only had fantastic features taken away. Facebook says that the new format is for admins to access the page tools easier – I don’t think the new layout does that, especially considering what’s been taken away at that cost. While I’ll adjust to the new changes and make the most of it, I have to say that never have I experienced so powerfully the truth of the old saying “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”.
How to Work with It?
I think Facebook pages are still great for marketing and engaging one’s clients and even employees as well. Using what is still available of customizations, like with custom tabs, is a great tool. More than anything, make content the number one priority, which was and is still key, whether the layout had changed or not. And great content has to be paired with consistency – keep up good practices on a weekly basis to accomplish daily posting and being prompt about responding to engagement with your followers.
So how about you? How do you use Facebook Pages? What do you like about the new layout? What do you not like? If you have questions or need help, let me know here. Thanks for reading and remember to share!