Part One: A PR Practitioner’s Guide to the New Facebook Pages

February 18, 2011

Many public relations professionals are managing brand pages and helping to “own” the social media sphere for their clients, so it’s especially important that we adapt to the new changes Facebook announced last week, and understand how it affects our pages.

Here’s a sampling of what you need to know about the changes (effective March 10, 2011):
  • Posts will no longer be in reverse chronological order. Instead, posts will be sorted as “most relevant” when looking through the “everyone” filter. The “page” filter remains chronological. For those of us managing pages, that places less importance on constantly updating our walls – but more of a reason to provide interactive, thoughtful material that can bounce to the top.
  • Pages will look more like personal profiles. Facebook will feature five of the most recent photos on top of the page. The navigation has moved to the left, instead of tabs at the top of the page – Facebook says this will help people navigate the page as they are comfortable with the personal profile layout. The elimination of tabs makes a custom landing page vital to helping your fans get the most out of your page.
  • Facebook is eliminating FBML (Facebook Markup Language). On March 11th, Facebook will move completely to an iFrame/CSS motivated developing system. Those tabs created with the static FBML application will still work after March 10, though we are not sure for how long. Pages will not be able to add the static FBML application after March 10. So, if you’ve been using FBML to create custom content, make sure it’s either evergreen or start developing a plan B for moving to iFrame – that may involve hiring someone primed in CSS.
  • Administrators will see the pages’ “likes” in personal newsfeeds. To show appreciation for other companies or affiliated brands, pages used to be able to add “favorite” pages. These pages are now “likes” and their updates will appear in all administrators’ personal newsfeeds – so there is more chance for interaction and sharing. Along with that change, there is a new option to offer five “featured likes” on the left sidebar of the page to demonstrate affiliations to fans. This is a great way to highlight partnerships with other brands or retailers.

And that’s only half of the changes! Check back on Tuesday for more of what will affect us. Until then I recommend getting up to speed on the changes by creating a “dummy” page and learning the differences by “doing.” Have fun!