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March 12, 2012

What the new Facebook Pages mean for Public Relations

Come 30th March all Facebook pages will have to make the change whether they’re ready or not. Pages will adopt the Timeline design that users already but with added analytics. But it’s more than just a facelift.

There are a number of different types of post that you need to get your head round to be able to best exploit the Timeline. Pinned posts are for the most important pieces of news. They remain at the top of your news feed for up to seven days meaning that they will not fall lower down the page as you update it and also allows the conversation to develop over that time, instead of having to be restarted by having the same story posted again the next day. Posts can also be starred, which stretches them out the full width instead of just half of the timeline. Like pinned posts, it is done to make the post stand out, but will drop down the timeline with more posts. Milestone posts also allow for bigger pictures and more space to tell a story instead of just sharing information.

One of the most noticeable things about the new look will be the cover photos. Facebook has laid down strict rules on what is not allowed to be used in the cover photos, meaning that brands simply have to design a cool picture with the logo in and little else. Brands cannot have any prices of promotion of products, contact details or pleas to ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ their page. On the subject of promotion, however, brands can post offers for their products that can sent straight from your newsfeed to your inbox.

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It is now possible to send direct messages to the page instead of simply posting on their wall and, unlike Twitter, it doesn’t require the user to be following the page to be able to send them. It will be possible to block this, but that would only be recommended in extreme cases. Cutting off a communication link between the brand and the consumer will look weak and defensive and strengthen the reputation of those brands that do deal with their customers.

Now when you look at a brands page you will not only see what they are putting out, but also what other users are saying about them although they can choose to either moderate them or turn them off altogether. This will allow for the brand to choose what messages that customers will be able to see instead of just cutting them off completely.

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All in all there is a lot more to do than before. The amount of new information that there is to screen will mean that those that are able to dedicate more time to the pages will pull ahead of those that can’t. Essentially it becomes about who can offer the best level of customer service and deal with the new influx of messages and posts. Isn’t that all everybody wants?

For a full list of the new terms of Facebook Timeline check out allfacebook.com.

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Comments

  1. For all the cover images and post pinning I wonder if many people will bother visiting the actual page. I remember seeing some number last year that showed a very tiny percentage of fans ever bothered to visit the brand page – instead they just stick to seeing whatever makes their newsfeed.

    • Agreed. From personal experience I can say I don’t actively visit most pages unless something appears in my newsfeed that draws me in. I’d imagine it will still take things like giveaways to get people to the page.

  2. Chris Norton

    I have to agree with you guys – people tend to get the news from their newsfeed which is why it is important to share interesting stuff as if it doesn’t get many likes or comments it is likely to not be seen at all. The pressure is on us to be engaging.

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