Though most of you won’t ever notice, but Facebook is removing yet another feature from Fan Pages. You will no longer have the ability to update your fans via email. I am sure many of you are saying, wait! I had the ability to email my fans? Well, yes you did. It was possible to send an email updating all of your fans about events or happenings on the page. You could even target these updates based on location or gender.
But you are probably asking yourself why you have never received one of these updates? Well, it is likely that you have and did not know it. When Facebook updated their email service, they created their version of a spam box. It is a file on your email called “Other” this is where Facebook puts any email that it thinks is likely spam or unwanted. Of course this means any email from a fan page. They only way around emails not being filtered into this other box was to go into your email, open up a message and then move it to your “messages” box. Of course non of us ever did that. In fact, most of us never even go into the other box. Writing this post promoted me to go into it for the first time in over 6 months.
Since all fan page emails get shoved into other as soon as it is sent, Facebook has decided to remove the option entirely. Often times when a big update goes through, like Facebook email, certain things don’t function the way they were anticipated. Though Facebook wants people to use their network as a primary email address, most people are not. Very few people look at Facebook as a way to communicate with people not on the social network, and they definitely do not view it as a replacement for their primary email address. So the spam filter is under utilized and generally ignored.
They will be removing the update fan option on September 30th. So there is still time to send emails that no one will see.
Facebook is always trying to find new and interesting ways to promote content and make it more easily accessible. Social share features have increased the reach of Facebook, by integrating them with websites and encouraging people to share sites on their wall and on their friends’ walls. To further increase their reach, Facebook has announced that they are adding a new feature: RSS feeds for fan pages.
RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It is usually reserved for blog posts. It’s what allows you to receive updates in blog readers like Google Reader, where you can easily see all posts by their headlines. Many people use RSS readers for their favorite blogs, so they can keep up with them without having to go to the blogsites. Some readers allow you to receive blog posts in your email, sending you the contents of the posts. But why does Facebook want to add an RSS feed to fan pages?
In theory this will let someone essentially subscribe to a fan page. Not only will you be able to see updates in your news feed, you will also be able to receive posts in your RSS reader. This is good for people who need to monitor certain pages, like politicians or large corporations. If you are closely watching what a competitor is doing with their social media, this creates an easy venue in which to do it. However, the RSS feature is not likely to be valuable to people who are not using Facebook for professional reasons.
Some of you may be thinking: Facebook had an RSS feed for pages already, so why is this news? You are right, they did. But recently Twitter and Facebook quietly removed their RSS feeds. Now Facebook has added it back in, along with a link on fan pages to subscribe. Will Twitter follow suit and bring their feed back? Good question. I think they will. An RSS feed provides another way for people to consume content, and ultimately that is key to social media social media success.
Yesterday the new Fan Page dropped for all Facebook users. The early adopters helped pave the way for the roll-out. Many of us converted our Fan Pages in February, when we were first given the option, and because we did we experienced the highs and lows of what the new version was about. In fact, we even started an online rally against some of the negatives regarding the Fan Page wall. Our cry to bring back chronological posts on the Fan Page wall was a success, and now that the issue has been fixed, my feeling about the changes are pretty good.
Your Fan Page is visually more like a profile now. This will make it easier for people to engage with your page, because familiarity breeds comfort.
You also have the ability to use your Fan Page identity as you build relationships on Facebook. This is a great feature, which allows you to interact with other pages, post on their walls and comment on their posts. This will dramatically help your communication and networking. Previously, you could only interact with other people as your Fan Page “self” or brand if you were on your own Fan Page.
The best part of the new functionality is the notifications. When someone comments on a post, you will receive an email (if your settings are set to do so) and you will see a notification alert just as if you were normally using Facebook. This is a great way to know when people are interacting with you, so you can respond. The notifications will also let you know when you have a new fan. You’ll still see your number of Likes increasing, and now you can discover who recently Liked you. This is great for demographics and networking.
No doubt there will a lot of discussion about the new Fan Page as it is released for everyone. Stay tuned!