If you don’t use Facebook Business Pages, you may still find the lessons helpful. Strategic Sense has a division called Small Biz Creative we help start-ups and small businesses with the nuts and bolts of getting online by building Webpages, Facebook Landing Pages and online design work. Yesterday, we learned a little more about Facebook changes then we expected. Let me explain..
We were prompted to do a Facebook Merge of Pages and Places
Some background: August 18, 2010 – Facebook rolls out Facebook Places. Some business locations are now showing up as ‘Community Pages’ on Facebook. Some Facebook Business Page administrators will be given a small notice at the top of their page with a match-up between Facebook Pages and Facebook Places asking “Is this your location?” Then prompting them to ‘claim’ that location.
December 1, 2010 – Steps on a customer page – - > first shocking, then scary, now the long wait to see what’s going to materialize…
- We “Claim the Facebook Place” – Innocent and worked like a charm – NICE
- We are prompted to Merge the Facebook Place with the Facebook Page – Curious and want to learn more
- We clicked on “Learn More” the Facebook Help Page and FAQ to see if this is a good idea – It said; “The core content, such as Photos, Videos and Events from your page will remain, as well as any custom tabs or vanity URLs” –>Risks appear limited, we are not given any indication the page will be completely different with exception to the addition of the location and map.
- We discuss with Client and make a decision to move forward because we believe Facebook has a pretty cool idea….Geo locations for targeted ads for customers who “already” have visited and like the business – brilliant! –>Location and map available on a Facebook Business Page to find the business easily – brilliant.
Give Customers a comprehensive understanding of the risks involved. Making someone feel comfortable with change is about being transparent so their decision is really an informed one – you will get buy-in a lot faster.
What followed next freaked us out! (And I won’t kid you, we went into freak-out overdrive!)
- The first page is now called the “profile” including the address, phone number and map filling the space once home to the status update and tabs.
- Default tabs disappear –but eventually propagate over as navigation links on the left sidebar.
- The default landing tab options cannot be found in permissions. – this is where the Business page was set to land on a custom tab if folks do not already “like” the page (yet to determine if these are returning)
- The left sidebar appears to be reduced in width as our picture is cut-off to the right.
- No clear explanation is given for creating custom landing pages for this new page format.
- A new FBML application can still be created, we ran a test and where there was once a tab, it now is a navigation link on the left sidebar as well.
- So, we added the custom landing page here – it is slightly cut-off to the right, making us think this is less than the 520px width (a recent change we had to make not long ago).
- We no longer see people’s profile pictures who“Like this page” in the sidebar, Instead it shows a numerical example of “500 people like this” with a “show all” link.
Provide customers with a comprehensive set of support references and contacts. When customers hear nothing, see no way to contact you, your documentation is confusing, all over the place and only allows you to search questions someone else has thought of it can be maddening.
While Facebook Claims this to be a “Richer” design, the jury is out on that as we await the “7 days to propagate” to see what “materializes.”
So we began doing research….Right now our concern is for our many clients who are utilizing the current custom pages and who were lined up to have one made. We have seen only unfavourable comments here, and here and here, but have not yet found any positive comments. The only thing we can find on Facebook Help is this and this (which say exactly the same thing).
One article suggests that all Facebook Business Pages will be moving over to this format, but we have heard nothing official from Facebook at this time.
Respond to your customers, especially upset ones. If you are hearing a whole lot of screaming, upset, negativity AND you are ignoring it then people will begin coming to their own conclusion about the problem. They will also assume you do not care about them. A company might be very big but change happens at a rapid pace and alienating users or customers could eventually harm a company.
Recommendation to businesses considering the merge:
Wait, as with most Facebook Changes, until the dust settles. If you are prompted to “merge” your Facebook Place and Facebook Page – keep them separate for now – you will thank me. We love Facebook and the exposure it has given our businesses, waiting until resolved will keep you feeling that way too.
Why should Facebook Care, it is a free platform?
Facebook is free to people who sign up and create a personal profile, yes. For businesses, however, it is far from free if they are doing the following:
- Purchasing advertising on Facebook
- Paying the huge fee required to run contests and promotions on Facebook (new policy as of December 2, 2010)
- Hiring someone to manage their Facebook presence
- Paying designers to customize the site
- Paying website and social media professionals to link to their Facebook presence