Facebook has been rolling out the “timeline” update on the newsfeed and on profiles. Will fan pages be the next update? It is the logical progression. Since the fan page update at the beginning of 2011, Facebook has been updating the layout of the fan page in conjunction with the profiles. The main goal being consistency in the user experience.
The latest update for the profiles was not only a dramatic visual change but also a UI (user interface) change. It is changing how users are using Facebook. In fact, the new timeline profile is deepening the emotional connection between Facebook and its user. If Facebook updates fan pages as well, it has the potential to have a similar emotional effect.
The cover image will be a great opportunity for branding, with the profile image being the “face” of your engagement. The more graphic display will really encourage fan pages to post more dynamically using significantly more photos. Beyond using more photos, it will encourage businesses to use a more cohesive and truely graphic based brand strategy. The page itself will be like an interactive page from a magazine. It has the potentially to be incredible.
No profiles have gone public yet. Below is a mock up by the New York Agency Skinny of a potential fan page. The branding opportunity is incredible! Of course this means that people will need to strategically implement their fan page design, which means that marketing firms need to embrace social media design. The game is changing…and getting more aesthetically pleasing!
A mockup of the Burberry Fan Page by New York Agency Skinny. Click the image to see more mockups.
There have been a lot of updates on Facebook fan pages over the past year. Some of these helped us out and some did not. One feature that was removed was the ability to suggest your page. But that is now changing, well kind of. Just like anything Facebook does, the update is not putting things back the way they were, rather it is improving on the original idea. Or at least trying to.
It use to be that you could suggest your page to your friends. It was a button at the bottom of your left nav menu. You clicked “suggest page” and you could send suggestions to all your friends. At one point this was a great way to spread the word very quickly about your page. If you were able to get someone who was influential on Twitter to suggest your page you could get literally hundreds of new fans over night! But then Facebook changed their notification system. So instead of seeing your page suggestions, they were buried in the Facebook matrix. This essentially left page suggestions completely impotent.
From that point the only way you could suggest a page was to post on your fan page and ask your friends to spread the word about you. Does this work? Yes, well sometimes. A lot of people don’t know how to “share” a post, or they are just not interested in doing PR for your fan page. Though the suggest a page is not being brought back, Facebook mainframe is now going to actually help fan pages network with each other.
When you use facebook as your page you will now see 2 rows of recommended pages. The first row are generally recommended pages, based off of other pages you like. Then below that is another set of recommendations. These show pages that your fans like. Giving you the opportunity for your page to like pages that your fans like. This can be a big boost for engagement. By helping you find other pages that your fans like you can then like that page. It is safe to assume that if a lot of your fans like the same page that there might be other fans of that page that have not discovered you. So if you go on there and engage with posts, you might be able to capture some of their targeted audience.
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.
Is your Facebook Fan Page helping your SEO?
SEO (search engine optimization) is not just for websites. You can also optimize your Facebook Fan Page for better search results. Not only will this help your searches inside Facebook, but it will also help with traditional search engines like Google and Bing. Plus, you’ll increase brand visibility for your Facebook Fan Page and the total visibility of your brand.
70% of brands have not optimized their Fan Pages and are missing out on some great search engine ranking opportunities.
How to boost your Facebook SEO
- Get a vanity URL
The number one thing you need to do is get a vanity URL. This means that your URL is www.facebook.com/brand instead of, for instance, www.facebook.com/page/brand=87465249. >Tech Tip: If you can’t get your actual brand name, get a vanity URL with your most used search term.
- Link to your Facebook Fan Page
Linking to your Fan Page from your website will let you capitalize on the SEO done on your website. It gives you an inbound link which will help boost your FB SEO. In fact, link from all your pages. The more links, the better the SEO boost. >Tech Tip: Make sure your anchor text is something like “Brand Name on Facebook” and link it to your vanity URL, e.g. www.facebook.com/brandname – not www.facebook.com/brandname=sk?872635
- Use your brand name in your post
Search engines scan the content of your page. If you use your brand name it will help boost the SEO for name recognition. >Tech Tip: Now you can tag the text in your posts for added SEO boost.
- Get links to your posts
Get people to Like your posts. The more people share and Like your posts, the better the SEO value – Likes count as links! >Tech Tip: Post things that ask for social engagement; comments, sharing and Likes. This will drive up your engagement and thus your FB SEO
- Use Fan Boxes
Facebook lets you put Fan Boxes on your website that can show your fans and feature your recent posts. This is a good way to build engagement and drive more fans to your site. >Tech Tip: If you don’t have many fans yet, set your fan box to show recent posts until you get more than 25 fans.
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.