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February 14th, 2011

New Facebook Pages: What Features You’ll Actually Use & What’s Still Needed

Facebook has been releasing new features and functionality on what seems like a weekly basis lately. Everytime I would get used to something, it gets tweaked or updated completely.

Not many of these recent features have been substantial or particularly advantageous to me personally, or for the work I do for clients.

It wasn’t until the launch of the new [personal] profile pages, introduced in December, that I thought an update was worthwhile. New profile pages look cleaner and give user profiles more personality with the inclusion of user’s basic info at the very top, additional photos and a look at a user’s friends.

With that said, I was pleasantly surprised with the consistent look on the new Facebook pages unveiled last week. In addition to the refreshed look, they offer a great deal of new functionality. Here’s a quick snapshot of what’s new:

  • Tabs are now located on the left-side of the page and cut down from 520px to 493px wide (the reduced width was a bug, tabs are now reverted back to 520px). A max of six tabs will display before the fold. You now have the ability to build Page tab apps using iframes rather than FBML.
  • The featured profile image is reduced from 200 x 600px to 180 x 540px.
  • The info box that was below the profile pic was moved to the info tab.
  • Pages can now “like” other pages. Those pages are now listed on the lower left side, like how friends are listed on profile pages.
  • A new strip of random images, pulled from the most recently uploaded album will appear at the top of the page. You have the ability to hide images from that strip.
  • An admin box shows at the top right of the page with insights, a link to promote your page with Facebook Ads and suggest the page to friends. There’s also the very important addition to “Use Facebook as [insert your page name here].” I’ll expand on this below.

Here’s a little more explanation on the features that are most valuable for me, working on client pages.

As an admin on old Facebook pages, you weren’t able to comment on or like another page. If you did, the comment/like would be associated with your personal name. Obviously not ideal when it’s the brand that needs to respond or engage in a conversation. You were only able to “favorite” a page, but it wasn’t a highly utilized feature. Now you can click the “Use Facebook as [insert your page name here],” as shown on the Voce page below. From there, you can “like” other pages – you’ll notice the Voce page “likes” our client pages.

For clients, liking partner or customer pages is a simple courtesy to show support. You’ll also get notifications for your page, the same way would do on a profile page – comments/likes and new likes on your page.

Once you’re logged in as a page, it’s easy to switch back to your personal account. You can either click Account > Switch back to [your name] or “Use Facebook as [your name]” – shown below:

The new moderation filter is probably my favorite addition to the new pages (under Manage Permissions). For one client page I help manage, this is a huge time saver. You can add whatever words to filter, and any comment containing the word will be marked as spam. Admins can see these comments (they appear in grey), but the public won’t see them. Of course, I still need to keep an eye on page comments, but this gives me peace of mind because the page inevitably is unattended for periods of time.

So what’s missing?

I was really hoping for in-line reply functionality to be rolled out on pages. The way commenting is set up now, it’s almost impossible to reply to a question if your page receives substantial number of comments. You have the ability to “like” a comment as a page, so it seems that commenting on a comment would be the likely next step. The lack of this simple component drastically weakens engagement, although Facebook says, “These new features will help you manage communication, express yourself, and increase engagement.”

What features are you using on the new pages? What do you think is missing?

About the Author
Melissa Walker is a client executive at Voce working on many high-profile client programs. Melissa plays a key role in Voce's successful social media programs, supporting those programs from both a strategic and tactical point of view.

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