Today at Facebook’s® first ever fMC, the company revealed exciting changes to Facebook Pages, which is the centerpiece for a brand’s presence on Facebook. These changes will require marketers to re-examine how they express themselves on Facebook, and how and where they tell their stories on the world’s leading social network.
Facebook will have businesses switch to the new Facebook Pages by March 30th. To help marketers get ready for these changes, here is our assessment of what these updates mean:
The Facebook Page Becomes Your Campaign
Say what? Marketers see the current version of Facebook Pages as a destination for housing marketing campaigns and a way to aggregate conversation and engagement around a brand. But the changes announced today present some pretty cool new campaign capabilities for Facebook Pages that aim to evolve marketers’ perceptions of what a Facebook Page is and what it’s used for.
Stop thinking of the Facebook Page as a collection of separate apps and campaigns. Start thinking of the entire Page as the campaign.
Long rumored and much anticipated, the new Facebook Pages are similar to timeline and cover photo treatments found on Facebook profiles for users. But it’s actually much more than that.
– The layout, compared to the former Page layout, is visually more interesting and provides significantly more real estate to “brand” a Page.
– The tab structure (the navigation menu to other tabs on your Page under the profile picture) and default tab option have been eliminated in favor of a unified Page experience that combines timeline events with wall posts, company information and applications.
– New features go beyond the wall and applications to give businesses more tools to spread brand messages, encourage engagement and facilitate direct interaction with the brand.
These are all opportunities to promote your campaigns in a way that encompasses not only new creative real estate but integrates the latest social endorsements from fans in the form of user posts, Likes, comments and shares – aka People Talking About This. All of that now influences campaigns and their success, in real-time, in the same environment.
What is it?
Let’s explore the new features that make the Facebook Page a campaign environment itself.
– Larger Stories – The new format is a great opportunity for marketers to publish and feature multiple stories about a campaign using rich and engaging media formats like photos and videos, and then highlight important stories with a star icon.
– Premium on Facebook – This new ad offering includes the Reach Generator tool that enables you to select your most engaging Page posts to be featured as a premium ad. Premium distribution includes 1) the Facebook homepage to the right of the News Feed, 2) in the News Feed on desktop, 3) in the News Feed on mobile, and 4) in the logged-off experience. This helps marketers supplement a Page campaign with paid media and distribute that content to Facebook’s most engaging environments. Doing so could maximize reach to 75% of fan base and double engagement according to Facebook’s beta partners.
– Real-time Insights – Something very cool for marketers, you can now access data and metrics for engagement on your Page in real-time. This gives marketers the ability to quickly supplement a campaign paid media or additional posts to capitalize on post performance and maximize audience reach and the volume of stories and people talking about the campaign and brand.
– Milestones – This allows marketers to publish new events or milestones to a company’s timeline as well as fill in gaps in the past with significant events and content – like “new car model” or “limited release celebrity shoe” or “hit 10,000 customers”. By publishing interesting content in engaging formats like photos or videos, marketers can drive further interest and engagement in the future long after a milestone has passed.
– Scheduling of Posts – Marketers can now plan ahead and schedule posts for future publishing, which is perfect for announcing news like the phases of a contest and publish buzz messages to drive more entries and votes.
– Pinned Post – Similar to sticky posts in online forums, marketers can now pin a post to the top of the timeline which is a great way to surface important campaign content and drive awareness and engagement with any people visiting the Page. A pinned post can stay pinned for up to seven days.
– Cover Photo – This grand, new real estate is perfect for creative to advertise campaigns. And not only can the photos rotate for, say, the different phases of a contest, they can quickly be swapped out for the next campaign after that contest ends. The cover photo becomes artwork for the new “default tab”, the Page itself.
– Views and Apps – While one app campaign is being promoted front and center on a Page, marketers can still promote other campaigns and apps with visual logo art instead of text tab links right below the cover photo. This should assist app discovery and views.
– Friend Activity – As your campaign progresses and people talk about it, stories including Likes, comments and mentions are surfaced on the Page. Facebook has integrated user wall posts more organically with other Page elements.
– Messages– And as a campaign progresses, people can message a brand directly with questions about the campaign without leaving the Facebook environment and marketers can directly respond up to two times per user. This will help promote stickiness and increase engagement rates. The brand can only respond to a user when the person messages the Page first.
What’s it mean for marketers?
These new features can all be used separately to drive reach, story generation and engagement across the Facebook fan base, but really it’s about the power of these features combined that will turn the Facebook Page into the campaign. Whereas campaigns had limited real estate on tabs within the former Page format, branding is now organically integrated into the overall environment and along with it, all the stories generated by fans.
What Do Marketers Do Now?
Grab social marketers, community managers, designers and app developers, web analysts, PR managers and digital marketers and brainstorm how to take advantage of the new environment and features to develop a more cohesive and expressive awareness for brands and campaigns right on the Facebook Page.
Reexamine app strategy and experiment with app discovery. Find ways to focus the experience in the simplified Page and identify what kind of apps drive the most engagement for a brand and customers, including campaign-based, single-use apps like contests or polls and/or more evergreen apps that encourage engagement on a daily or regular basis.
Revisit best practices on publishing, app strategy, campaign management and social ad strategy based on real-time insights and analytics. Can teams respond as quickly to changes in social performance as the SEM team can? Now the data exists to do so and can mean success or failure for social initiatives that rely on capitalizing on trends and people’s behavior and interests.
Adobe Social Marketing Tools
Acquired by Adobe earlier this year, Context Optional, the leading social media management platform, has already begun exploring the new capabilities and will begin developing new features and tools on top of Facebook’s latest APIs once their available to help marketers manage and administer the new version of Facebook Pages for businesses.
– Our Publisher tool will be updated to publish pinned posts, cover photos and milestones on the timeline.
– Our Applications module will continue to work seamlessly with Facebook Pages and we’ll enhance functionalities specific to the timeline view.
– Our Analytics dashboard will integrate the powerful real-time Insights data into our industry-leading Post Analytics and Page Stats.
And there’s more coming…
To stay up to date on new features and availability, sign up for updates at or visit www.contextoptional.com for more information.
A lot of great news from Facebook for marketers today, all designed to help marketers extract more value and ROI from your fan base. Good luck!