Facebook recently announced that fan pages will soon receive an upgrade to include additional features and a new layout. This upgrade will go into effect for all Facebook fan pages by March 10, 2011. In the meantime, on your next visit to your page, you may be prompted to upgrade early. Before doing so, Facebook offers you a preview of the new page layout, and allows you to take a tour of all the new features associated with the upgrade.
The upgrade include changes to the following features: tabs, photos, fan display, and administrative access. The new layout features page tab navigation (links to access the Wall, Info, Photos, customized tabs) on the left hand side of the page, underneath the profile picture, and a display of the five most recent photos across the top of the page. The new layout also removes the random fan thumbnail display; instead, fan count is listed on the left hand side of the page. Administrative access changes include settings, page likes, and using Facebook as the page (instead of as your personal profile).
What It Means to You
While the new page layout and upgrades may take some getting used to, overall, it’s a better user experience for fans. The tab changes and most recent photo display make navigating and using the page more similar to navigating and using a personal profile. (The photos that will be displayed are the most recent photos that you, page admin, have posted to your fan page wall and/or tagged your page in. This will not include any photos posted by fans. You can always opt out of displaying a particular photo by rolling over the image with your mouse and x-ing out of it.) The fan count feature will help to alleviate concerns about fan/page privacy.
The most beneficial change for fan page administrators is the administrative access upgrades. Once upgraded, page settings can be altered so that you can select to receive email notifications for fan interactions and activity on your page (you can select not to receive these notifications, if you prefer). To edit these settings, go to Edit Page then Your Settings. You can also select to post to your page and interact with other areas of Facebook as yourself or your page (for example, instead of posting with my personal profile, I can post and comment on my page and other pages as CooperVision). Change your access level by going to Account (at the top navigation of Facebook), then select Use Facebook as Page.
With the upgrade, your pages’ Favorite Pages (other fan pages on Facebook you selected as your Favorites) are considered Likes instead of Favorites. You can now select which pages appear in the Likes section. These changes can be made in the Featured section (accessed through Edit Page). The upgrade also includes some added privacy settings for the page – to access these, select Edit Page, then Manage Permissions.
Overall, the changes give page administrators more flexibility and grant fans a better page experience. Happy Facebooking!