When I walked into the office this morning, Justin yelled, “Are you ready for big news?” I wasn’t, but now that I’ve had time to look into the issue, I have to admit…it is big news: Facebook is rolling all Facebook Pages over to a new design on March 30, 2012.
If you’re a company, you probably already have a company Facebook Page (or at least you should), so this update is especially significant. Luckily, Facebook is giving Page administrators a chance to preview the changes, so you should be able to avoid any last-minute switchover panic. Read on to view the main points of the tour.
The first thing you can do is preview what your Facebook Page will look like after the launch. The first thing I noticed is that the design looks and feels a lot like the timeline that many people are using for their personal Pages.
You actually have the option of publishing the new version of your page right now, but I would suggest taking the tour first, or at least reading the rest of this post.
You’ll now have the option to choose a cover photo. This is a large banner photo that functions as a visual selling point. You shouldn’t put a blurry, off-center photo here or anywhere, for that matter, unless your company specializes in blurry, off-center photography or something similar. According to Facebook, the official dimensions of a cover photo are 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall.
The cover photo is a new addition, but you will still need to provide a small, square image to function as your main profile picture. Your profile picture shows up everywhere and represents your Page on all other parts of Facebook.
One feature of the new layout is that photos, likes, and apps are now at the top of your Page, which means they’re a bit more accessible than before. You should make sure your photos are relevant and eye-catching, because they’re in the first spot by default. However, other apps can be rearranged, so you can put your most important ones first.
3) Star, Hide or Pin
You can edit “stories” on your Page by clicking on the star or pencil icons.
The star makes the story wider and more prominent, whereas the pencil allows you to hide, delete, or pin a story to the top of your Page.
4) Admin Panel
The Admin Panel lets Page administrators moderate their Pages more easily.
You can view your Page’s activity, insights, and interactions by clicking on the Admin Panel.
From within the Admin Panel, you can also manage your Page and users, invite people to your page by email, create ads, and visit the Help Center.
Your company Page’s followers or viewers can now contact you by sending messages. You’ll be able to view any new messages you have received in the Admin Panel as well. This is a more personal way to interact with people who have specific questions or need additional information.
Changes to Your Facebook Landing Pages
One of the most important Facebook Page updates is for landing pages. According to research, you’ll still be able to send people to landing pages by using their specific, individual URLs, but you won’t be able to change the default landing view. This means you won’t be able to create a custom Welcome page for people visiting your Page…they’ll always see your timeline.
All Page admins should take the official new Facebook Pages tour before the launch next month, or at least log in and explore the preview. As I mentioned, the Help Center can be found under the Admin Panel, and I highly recommend reading some of the articles.