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New Changes to Facebook Fan Pages

// December 16, 2009 // Public Relations, Social Media // 8 Comments

* Update: Facebook made some NEW “new changes” on April 19, 2009. To get the full details visit this post on the new Facebook changes and what they mean for marketers.

Facebook is making new changes to its fan pages next month and all of us social media marketers are abuzz with anticipation. This is big stuff. Apparently the news that Facebook was changing its fan pages was actually released back in October, but somehow it’s only now catching on. (Strange considering the implications the new design has for companies on Facebook). Below is a summary of the changes, what these changes mean, and why they are happening.

Changes to your Facebook fan pages

New changes to facebook fanpages• Your boxes tab is disappearing – and possibly any custom content currently housed under the boxes tab. Some are saying that the majority of your content will just be moved into tabs on your fan page, however there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on how this will happen.
New changes to facebook fanpages app• Your application tabs are changing – The tab width for all those custom tabs will shrink from 760 pixels to 520 pixels. This means, if you have built a fan page with application tabs right now, you are going to need to re-design them…pretty much immediately. No word yet as to whether un-shrunken content will be immediately deleted, or will just look strange and broken.
• Your ability to talk to your fans via their news feed is changing – your updates will only be inserted into your fans’ feed if your Facebook fan page is being visited often and if you have lots of likes and comments. Facebook has created an algorithm  which will measure engagement and, rumor has it, how much Facebook advertising you purchase.
• You can get your fans’ email (kinda) – There is a new email API that allows you to collect email addresses from your fans. However this is only if you are building your own app – for now at least.

What do these new changes to Facebook fan pages mean?

In short – it means you need to step up your game. You will be able to rely less on the custom content as Facebook continues to refine their policies. In fact, I’m guessing this won’t be the last time they make changes, so I wouldn’t put all your eggs into the “customization” basket. It all comes down to your status updates and wall posts, and they are going to have to be good. Update less often and make sure that when you do, it is something people will respond to. I’d go with making your fan page entertaining, as these days it seems people are on Facebook more and more for entertainment and less for info. (That’s what Twitter is for).

Why is Facebook changing its fan pages?

Yes, many will be upset, but Facebook is doing what it always does – looking out for its users (while trying to make a profit…hey, it’s a business after all!) Facebook was never originally about companies, and the fact that they’ve let us play at all in their sandbox is far from where they originally started. Facebook is making these changes, because they want to be different than Myspace. After Myspace was taken over by companies and intrusive advertising, it literally died. Facebook is protecting its users by making sure their feeds aren’t inundated with companies’ updates and their platform isn’t cluttered with custom content. And at the end of the day, they are also watching out for their bottom line – something I think any company can understand.

So what do you think? Are you up for the challenge that these new changes to facebook fan pages will bring?

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    8 Comments

    1. Definitely up for the challenge! Change isn’t easy but if it helps improve the look and feel and the way businesses can interact with fans, then bring it on.

      Thanks for the valuable information.

    2. Hi Abbie,

      Thanks for the comment. Glad to hear you are up to the challenge and that you found the info valuable :)

      Best,
      Callan

    3. I don’t think Facebook is protecting its users from commercial fan pages. The argument contradicts the fact that they want to make profit. Facebook has to serve those who (do/may/will) pay. But it has to build and maintain its medium. If it dies out, then nobody will spend any money on it. So, although Facebook changes a bit too often, I think what they do is just stay in the game (and possibly often lead it). Myspace i dying for two reasons (imho): a) it always was extremely ugly and b) it remained all too boringly the same for a long time. Facebook is the exact opposite. It’s like a rolling stone. One could see it as a strategy; I see it as an attitude. And I like it.

      I agree though with you that Facebook is more about entertainment than information. I also agree that Twitter has managed to create and maintain the profile of the main breaking news dispatcher, to such extent that a statement like “if it is not in Twitter, then it is not happening” could be considered as close to truth for a great number of subjects.

      I believe that infotainment will revolve around Facebook for a long time. The landscape is unexplored. Social media is just being discovered (despite the long lists of self proclaimed social media experts). We don’t even know if the term is right. I believe in keeping the ball moving and I’m really curious to see where all this will lead the web in the coming years.

      Thanks for the write up.

    4. Hi Russo,

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment. Agreed with your thoughts on Facebook’s changes to stay in the game and I like the idea of calling it an Attitude vs a strategy. At the end of the day, I say why I don’t always personally love the changes Fbook makes, I think they are darn smart and I don’t think they are going anywhere anytime soon.

      Thanks,
      Callan

    5. I noticed the filter’s aren’t working today. Let me guess, they got rid of those too! IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT!

    6. I’m still waiting for the application tab shrink to happen. I build pages for companies and when this goes into effect I will have re designed pages ready. Hopefully this will continue to be pushed back.
      .-= chris olbekson´s last blog ..Facebook Fan Pages for Businesses =-.

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