Since Facebook introduced their new Facebook profile page layout a few months ago (to the upset outcry of many), it has been just a matter of when they were going to update the pages as well. Since a few days ago, Page administrators have been able to preview their Facebook pages with the new design (which will be applied automatically in early March).
I typically go ahead and update when Facebook lets me because I know that I eventually will be updated anyway. I see no point in trying to put that day off as far as I can but instead go and try to make the most of the update. This was also the case with the new profiles.
Pages Are Social
The new pages do offer new features which are very lucrative in terms of communicating. First of all you can now browse Facebook as your page. This means that a page will act pretty much like a profile, everywhere else on Facebook which it previously couldn’t. With this you can leave a comment or like something as your page instead of as your personal profile.
Interacting as your page not only gives you the added advantage of better branding, but it is now easier to separate your page with your personal profile, should you want to. For many of my friends, this will be very helpful and should end the complaints about the new personal profiles being less business friendly since they now do not need to be.
As an additional feature, your fans will be able to see the connection between “You and *Page Name*”: How many friends you have in common, Pages you both like, etc. I think this could be a good addition to help build pages into an even better place to interact with fans/customers/potential customers.
FMBL Tabs are Kept
It would have made zero sense for Facebook to do away with the FBML pages (HTML-driven pages) that we could create and add before. The major difference here is that they now act more like Pages than Tabs. No functionality seems to be gone here, but just that they have been placed in the left column instead of at the top, making them a bit harder to access.
Personally, I don’t have anything against this change. Sure, I don’t use the different tabs that much on my pages, But I must say that they could have been made to stand out a little better on the page. After all, this is the primary navigation for the page you are on.
The Photo Stream…
Ever since the new personal profiles came out a few months ago, I have been wondering whether Facebook would decide to implement the photo stream at the top of business pages as well. For profiles, this stream makes a lot of sense, both for your personal page or for a fan-page for individuals and maybe some businesses. However, it is very hard for me to see the benefit for me to have the photos that I upload at the top of the Bernskiold Media page for example. Why could this simply not have been a place for an additional branding image that was easily uploaded and configured? Unless you want the photo stream of course, in which case you should be able to have it.
Wider Ad Column
With the addition of extra views in the right column ad space has also increased. This is very good for Facebook which can now earn more money, but not so good for pages who would prefer not to have more and larger ads on them. I cannot help to think that this just is a very sad change…
The Conclusion – Positive or Negative Change?
Overall it must be said that Facebook has done a good job with the Pages update and I think it has been overdue for an update as well. With the profile update it became clear what Facebook had as a goal for the different pages and since then, managing your identity has been harder than ever before. With these new pages, I am inclined to think that the same will be much easier than ever before thanks to the new social features. It is just sad that we have to endure more ads and some other changes that may work for some pages, but far from all.