In case you didn’t notice, Facebook just released some dramatic changes to the way Pages work. It’s a massive upgrade that I see as something that makes it much easier for brands to use Facebook (even pharma and healthcare brands). I’m going to try to run through these changes and show you what’s new and how to use it. There have already been some good overviews of the changes (here’s Facebook’s official release), so I’m going to try to inform you of a few things that I haven’t seen talked about much and also give you a couple of tips I haven’t seen yet. I’ll also throw in a few new tricks too.
Note: This is more of a “white paper” than a post, so if really long blog posts make you nervous, you can download a PDF of this post from this link: Facebook Pages Just Got Easier for Brands
Here are a few tricks I’ll reveal in this post:
- A way to embed a Like button and other social programs into any tab (no more arrows pointing to the like button at the top of the page)
- A potential way to pre-moderate (i.e., review before they are posted) every user comment left on your Page
- How to comment and Like items on Facebook as your Page and not just as you personally
- Better control the order of your Wall posts and how users see the Wall
Beyond changing how Pages work, Facebook also changed how applications can be coded. FBML (Facebook Markup Language) is going away and now developers can now use iframes. Without going into too much detail, this will allow people to code Facebook applications (and therefore custom “tabs”) using standard coding languages that have more flexibility than FBML. It also allows for some tricks that haven’t been possible before. Stay tuned until the end of the post for one of the biggest ones I’ve noticed, adding a Like button to a tab.
We’ll be using the Dose of Digital’s Facebook page as an example throughout (feel free to Like us now).
Here’s what new Facebook Pages look like (click to enlarge):
Two big things you’ll notice right away. First, there are no more tabs along the top of the page. Second, there’s a new strip of photos along the top of the page. Your tabs have been moved to the left column. Here’s what it looks like:
Of note, while this upsets some page owners who like tabs and think this will confuse people, recall that personal profiles have looked like this for quite some time. So, people are used to seeing Facebook’s navigation work like this. I don’t see it as a major issue. As the page owner, you can change the order of these links too. Just click on “More” and then “Edit” at the bottom of the expanded list. You can remove any links and drag and drop to reorder them. Make sure your top 5 or 6 are up towards the top because that’s what most people will see by default and they won’t click “More” in most cases.
There’s also this new banner of pictures across the top of the page. It too is just like the newly designed personal pages. Of note, you cannot do some of the tricks you can do with your personal profile by carefully ordering the images via tagging them in a certain order (see here for examples). For whatever reason, these pictures seem to randomly ordered and selected from all photos posted in all albums on your Page. As the Page owner, if you don’t want a particular picture to show up, you can roll over it and click the “X”. Remove as many as you want. Note that this only removes the picture from the photo bar. It does not delete it from your albums. If you decide later that you removed too many or the wrong one by accident, you can reset the photo bar and all the photos you removed will be back (showing five at a time in random order). The way to do this is to go to “Edit Page”, select “Profile Picture” and then click the “Unhide All” button at the bottom of this window.
EDIT: Thanks to David Sanger for pointing out that if you tag images with the Page, they will show up selectively in the photo strip. That is, if you tag five photos with the Page, then those will be the only five that show up in the photo strip. However, they will still be displayed in random order. But, if you want to control which specific images show up in the photo strip, you can use tagging to accomplish that. One bit of caution: we noticed that after you tag an image, when it appears back in the strip it seems to be adjusted up and to the right (i.e., it’s no longer centered in the frame). This makes all the photos look a little odd. Either they look odd in the strip or you can correct them to account for this shift, but then they look odd if people open them. Not ideal in either situation. I’d guess that this shifting is a temporary bug though.
Also in the left column are a few other changes. The number of fans is now reduced to just a number (e.g., “1297 People Like this” in the picture above). It used to have a handful of pictures of people who have liked the page. More on that in a minute. This is followed by “Featured Likes.” As the Page owner, you can dictate which five other pages show up here. For example, this may include the pages of your other brands or corporate accounts. You can only have 5 at a time, but you can set as many other Featured Likes as you want and Facebook will rotate them. The way to do this is to go to “Edit Page”, select “Featured” and then click the “Add Featured Likes” button. Pick the Likes you want to rotate here. If you want to add more Likes than the ones you see here, there are a few ways to do this. The simplest is to navigate to the page you want to Like and in the bottom of the left column click “Add to my Page’s Favorites.” From the pop-up, you can then pick which page you want to Like this new page from a list of all the pages you admin. More on this in a minute too.
I mentioned that the images of your “fans” had been removed from the left column. That’s been moved to the right side now. It now shows each user’s relationship to the page. That is, all the friends a user that Like the page you are on appear here. Also shown are pages that you Like that the page Likes. For example, the Page has ShareThis as one of it’s featured Likes. Since I also like ShareThis in my personal profile, it shows up here.
And finally, the Page profile picture size has changed. The maximum dimensions are 180×540 px (w x h). Most pages don’t use this space as effectively as possible. There’s no way to “brand” your Facebook Page Wall like you can your own website, but if you use the maximum space for the profile picture, then you own a lot of the space on the page. Think of it more like a banner ad and less like a profile picture. You can change it whenever you want maybe to highlight a new promotion, for example.
Those are the big cosmetic changes. There are also some big functionality changes too that page owners should know about. First, the Wall now shows posts differently than before. Previously, you could sort the pages with three different views as a user (and admin): just the page’s own posts, a mix of users’s and page’s posts, or just users’ posts. Like this:
That’s different now. Now there are only two views for users: Everyone and the page (“Dose of Digital” in the image below). The names are pretty self-explanatory.
As the page admin, you can control which users see by default. Head over to your “Edit Page” area and click on “Manage Permissions”. You’ll see this:
In that red box, you can select “Only Posts by Page” or “Everyone”. Whatever you select here will be what shows up as the default setting for the Wall. If you select, Only Posts by Page, the Wall posts will be shown in chronological order and will only include posts created by the page (smart naming, right?). However, if you select, “Everyone” here or a user selects “Everyone” while on the Wall, all bets are off. The big change is that what displays for “Everyone” is not in chronological order, but in order of “popularity.” Facebook doesn’t define what this means, but suffice it to say that it probably uses some version of the algorithm they use to order posts in your personal News Feed (read this for more info).
Some page owners are really upset by this, as they’ve become quite used to having a certain order to their Wall. However, this change does favor users. Many people want to see what everyone else finds interesting (that’s how the “Top News” setting works on your personal News Feed), so this works perfectly for them. As the page owner, you cannot change the order of the posts in the “Everyone” Wall display except by deleting posts (which you do the same way as you always have…roll over and click the “X”).
Now, if your Page has a lot of user comments, it can be difficult to manage since the posts aren’t in any logical order. This makes moderating a real challenge. Never fear, Facebook has a solution for that. Over in the left column, under Wall, you’ll see an “Admin View” link (only if you’re an admin of that Page, of course).
If you click that, you see this (note: I captured only the top of the page):
You’ll notice you can select “Most Recent” and “Hidden Posts.” Most Recent is just what it sounds like…every post from both the Page and users in chronological order. Moderate or respond to user posts here to make sure you haven’t missed anything. Clicking on Hidden Posts shows you a different list. These are posts from users that currently are not displayed on the Wall to users. This Hidden Posts view might contain a few things: posts that have automatically flagged by Facebook as potential spam, posts you as an admin have flagged as spam, and any posts that contain words from the Moderation Blocklist. You can restore any posts that have erroneously been pushed to the Hidden View tab here as well. Click the “X” next to the post and select “Unhide post.”
Wait…Moderation Blocklist? What’s that? Good question…it’s new.
Under Edit Page, select “Manage Permissions.” You’ll see this:
This is a really handy feature for any brand that’s been wanting some way to “pre-moderate” posts by users on Facebook. That is, a way to review posts before they are published to the Wall. Prior to this Page update, there was no way to do this. Now you have somewhat of a way to do it. Somewhat because you can’t pre-moderate everything, but you can do it for posts that contain words that indicate a specific topic that present an issue for sure. For example, for pharma companies, if you have an unbranded page that cannot mention the brand name of your product, you can include your drug name in the Blocklist and have all these posts held in moderation for review. Theoretically, it’s possible to pre-moderate every comment that comes in, but you’d need to include every word in every language in that box. If you want to give it a shot, here’s a list of common English words (in comma separated form). This wasn’t really the intent of the tool, but you could use it like this if you want. This list of words would catch a big proportion of posts from users. Might be an interesting solution until Facebook comes up with a way to pre-moderate every user post. If you do attempt this, just remember that people can post in any language. Also, let me know in the comments how this works for you.
You can also block profanity here including selecting how conservative or aggressive you want to be. This list comes from what Facebook has gathered from people flagging posts all over Facebook as offensive.
Okay…a couple more features before I get onto my big trick.
Under Edit Page and “Your Settings”, you can now do two things that many people have been asking for for a long time.
First, email notifications. Check this box and you’ll receive an email when someone comments on your page. Handy. You used to have to set this up via third-party applications, which in my experience were always a little spotty. Alternatively, you could have used a Facebook management platform like Buddy Media and Vitrue, which had notifications as a standard feature. You get it now for free. One important thing to note is that you’ll get an email after every comment with this new Facebook feature. So, for a Page that gets a lot of comments, that’s potentially a lot of emails.
The second setting here allows you to switch around the way you comment and Like things on Facebook. By default, when you comment on your Page, you comment as the page and not as yourself (i.e., your personal profile). If you uncheck the Posting Preferences box (and Save Changes), you’ll start commenting on your page using your personal profile. To switch back to commenting as your Page on your Page, you can either go back to the Edit Page settings and check that box or go to the “Account” link in the upper right and select “Use Facebook as Page.” Like this:
If you select “Use Facebook as Page,” you’ll see a pop up with all of the Pages you admin. Select the one you want to use. From this point forward (until you switch back in the same manner), you are using Facebook as if your Page was a person. You can comment on and Like posts from other Pages and Like Pages. You still cannot make friends with people as a Page. That’s still reserved for humans only. You can also post on any Page’s Wall. This latter ability is sure to result in a massive amount of spam early on as people figure out some informal etiquette for using this new ability. That is, I guarantee you’ll see some Pages commenting all over the Walls of other popular Pages in hopes that they might get a couple people to clickthrough and like their Page.
Don’t do this. If you have a legitimate comment to make and it makes sense to do it as a specific Page, go for it. Don’t use it to spam the Walls of every other Page I guarantee it won’t work out well in the long run.
You’ll notice that when you switch to using Facebook as a Page that the top bar of Facebook changes.
Instead of showing if you have new messages or if people have commented on your personal posts, it shows the number of followers (the “1K” in this image). The number next to the earth icon will show recent activity on the Page that you’re currently using.
Okay…here comes the big trick. Thanks for sticking around.
You’ve probably all found yourself on a Facebook page and have seen something like this:
(Try it out on the BMW page for yourself).
This is the default landing page for anyone who has not already Liked the page. You can set this by going to Edit Page, then Manage Permissions. Select the tab you want to be the landing tab under “Default Landing Tab.” Note that there is no way to change the default tab for those who have already Liked the page. They go to the Wall by default.
It’s a good idea to have a default landing tab. It can increase the conversions of your visitors to Likes. An additional tactic is to require that you Like a page before you can get access to additional content. They’re often called “reveal tabs.” There’s one on Dose of Digital’s Facebook page on the tab for new publications. [If you want to know what a reveal tab is and how to do this, then check out this great post from All Facebook.]
I want to show you a better way to get people to Like your page on these tabs besides the big arrow pointing to the Like button at the top of the page. You can do it now since iframes are supported in the tabs. One word of caution. I’m going to give the very simple explanation of how to do this, but even this will be a bit complex for some people. I’ll do my best.
Most Facebook tabs now use the Static FBML application from Facebook and are written in FBML. You can’t use iframes in this type of tab. What that means is that you can’t embed any of the Facebook Social Plugins into your tabs. This includes the Like button, which is why Pages are left putting a big, unsightly arrow on their Page tabs to show you the way. With this new update, this is no longer true. You can make a tab that has a functional Like button right in the tab. Like this (see red box):
You do have to code the page a little differently, but the good news is that you can use basic HTML, which is really simple and every programmer knows. The challenge is that you cannot use the Static HTML application. You have to create your own Facebook application. This sounds really hard, but you’re not creating Farmville (thankfully). Applications can be really simple and consist of just a few lines of code. Here’s how you do it.
First, let’s code our application. We’re going to make this as simple as possible…just a few words and the Like button. You can make it as complex as you want once you have the basic idea down. Get out your favorite coding program. For something simple like this, try out Notepad + (it’s free and works great). Again, as basic as possible, here’s an example of what you can include in your file:
Hello. This is my Facebook page. I love it. You should too.
To access some great content, be sure to Like our page before you leave.
Just click the Like button below and head over to the Wall to say hello.
<iframe src="http://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?href=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fdoseofdigital&layout=button_count&show_faces=false&width=450&action=like&colorscheme=light&height=21" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="border:none; overflow:hidden; width:450px; height:21px;" allowTransparency="true">
Save your file with the name “index.php” (be sure to save it as a .php file type).
A couple of things to note. The code for the iframe you see here will produce a Like button for the Dose of Digital Facebook page. You’re welcome to keep that in your tab, but if you want your own, just grab the code from here. Select how you want your Like button to look, click “Get Code” and copy and paste the iframe code (not the XFBML) in place of mine. Also, note that I added the line “head over to the Wall to say hello.” This is intentional. If someone clicks this Like button in the tab, it will be recorded instantly as a Like, but the Like button at the top of the screen will still be there. Like this:
EDIT: I’ve now got a semi-simple way to create this it so that when you do click the Like button, the Page automatically updates. It’s a bit more complex than the process outlined here, so I’ll save it for another post when I can detail it out. If you really need to know right now how to do it, then use the contact form to let me know and I’ll send it to you.
EDIT of EDIT: Here’s a link to a post where I explain the technique to set up the Like button in a tab so that the Page automatically updates after you click it (as I referred to in the above EDIT). The Right Way to Use the Facebook Like Button.
Save your file. Now you need to host it somewhere. That is, you need to host the file somewhere on a server. If you’ve got your own hosting account, use that. If you don’t know how to host a file, then I’ve probably lost you already. Sorry…can’t make it any simpler. You can get a hosting account from any one of the millions of providers. If you don’t have an account anywhere, try out iPage. It’s simple and cheap. They also have really good help via live chat, so they can talk you through the entire process.
Once your file is hosted somewhere, make note of the full path to your file, something like this:
Next step is to create the application on Facebook. Go here and click “Set up New App” in the upper-right (note: you’ll have to give permissions before moving on, do this).
On the next screen, name your app and accept the terms, create the app. Get past the CAPTCHA.
You’ll now see your basic app information. Here you can add an icon if you want and include a description. The icon will be used in the left column list of “tabs” on your Page, so it’s probably worth having.
Click on “Facebook Integration” in the left column. I’m not going to explain everything on this page except what you need to know. Remember, this is just the basics. First, the Canvas area.
For the blank next to “Canvas Page,” this can be anything. The only rule is that it can’t be something anyone else has used. It’s the unique URL that points to your application. Come up with something unique related to your Page if possible. You’ll get an error if you select something that’s already taken.
For “Secure Canvas URL,” you need to put in the full path to the folder where the file with the code for your page will reside (you got this link in the previous step and I told you to make a note of it).
The path you want to put here should direct to the folder where the file is located, not the file itself. So, it might be this:
http://www.myhostingsite.com/facebookstuff/app/, but it shouldn’t be:
http://www.myhostingsite.com/facebookstuff/app/index.php. Leave off the file name. Be sure that you include the trailing slash or this whole thing won’t work.
Head down to the bottom of the page to this area:
This is where you’ll define what the tab will be called.
Tab Name is up to you. This will appear at the top of the tab within your page and also in the left column of your page, so make it something good. You’ve only got 16 characters though, so make it brief too.
For Tab URL, this is where you will put in the file name that has the code for your application. So, if this is the full path to your application,
http://www.myhostingsite.com/facebookstuff/app/index.php, then just put “index.php” in this box (without quotes). Leave off everything else.
You can leave Edit URL blank.
That’s it. Save Changes. You should be on a page that shows your new app name at the top and three zeros across the middle of the screen. If you don’t, go here and select the app you just created from the list in the left column. Click on “Application Profile Page”:
In the left column of the Application Profile Page, click “Add to My Page.” Select the page to which you want to add the application we just created.
Next, head over to the Page you just added the app to and select Edit Page. Click on “Apps” in the left column. Find the name of the application you just created. Click “Edit Settings” under the app.
In the pop-up, you’ll see “Available (add)”. Click “add”. There will now be a new tab consisting of your app in the left column of your page. Earlier in this post, I showed you how to reorder the list of tabs, so do that if you want. Also, if you want to make this new tab your default landing tab for those who haven’t Liked your page yet, you can do this too. I showed you how to do this earlier as well.
That’s it. Knock yourself out and edit the code however you want to include images, style it however you want, and include whatever text you need. One more note (thanks to Mari Smith for pointing this out)…the Like button will only be there if someone views the tab using their personal profile. If they view as a Page (we noted how you do this earlier), the button won’t be there. This seems to be true of all Facebook Like buttons and social plugins. Probably a short-term issue, but you never know. The main Like button at the top of the Page works fine.
There are definitely some things to get used to with the new Facebook Pages. You have until March 11, 2011 before every Page is changed automatically. You can decide if you want to switch over before then. Best of luck. If you run into technical problems with any of this information, leave a comment and I’ll try to help out. If you found this helpful, why not Like Dose of Digital on Facebook: