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The Big Facebook Upgrade

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Late last week, Facebook rolled out a major upgrade to Facebook Pages. Here at Mandate Media, we thought we'd summarize those changes for you - and point out some of the strategic implications for political campaigns and nonprofit organizations.

Facebook is giving page owners until the end of the month to upgrade, at which time all pages will be automatically bumped. Here's what you'll find:

The first thing you'll notice is a new design layout. Like personal profiles, the new page has a strip of photos across the top.

TO DO: Make sure you have at least five photos uploaded, and better yet, you've selected five photos that tell your story.

The new pages include a feature that answers the most common question we get from our clients: "How do I post on my page as myself, not just as my page?" This was once impossible, and Facebook's now made it easy - if you just change one setting.

TO DO: Go to your page, click on "Edit Page", then "Your Settings" and uncheck the box for "Always comment and post on your page as [the page] even when using Facebook as [you]." (And while you're there, decide if you want email notifications whenever someone posts or comments on your page - that's another nice new feature.)

Your Facebook page can now have a life outside the page itself, dramatically boosting your ability to get organic fan growth. That's right -- Senator X or Americans for Z can now wander around Facebook clicking "like" and commenting on other pages. (For now, just on pages - not personal profiles.) By engaging people on other pages, you'll be raising their awareness of your page and bringing in more fans.

TO DO: Try this out. On the menu bar, in the upper right, click on the "Account" pulldown. Then select, "Use Facebook as Page" and switch to your page. (Just don't forget to switch back later, so you don't accidentally comment as your page instead of yourself!)

TO DO: Find a page for another organization or candidate - and find something to click "like" or comment on.

While you're using Facebook as your page, take note of a few new features:

  1. In the upper left corner, you'll now see little red counts for new posts and new fans.

  2. In the lower right on your page, you'll see "Recommended Pages" - a rotating series of pages that have big overlaps in fans. Use this to figure out where you should be hanging out, clicking "like" and posting comments to engage with people and win more fans.

  3. On the left sidebar of your page, there's a link to "admin view" - which will show you your Wall in chronological order, which is probably the best way to review and respond to the latest posts from fans.

And that highlights another change: Your Wall is no longer in chronological order. Much of the criticism of these latest changes is about this shift - which attempts to show Page visitors the most interesting stuff. (It emphasizes your posts over fans' posts, and emphasizes posts that have more likes and comments - especially from that visitor's friends.)

This change is a positive one - since the people who visit your page are most likely new visitors, and you want them to see the best stuff. Pre-existing fans mostly interact with you when your posts appear in their News Feed. So, don't sweat it.

And finally, one more big change: You can now identify the people that manage your page. This doesn't make sense for candidates, but for organizations, it can be a great idea to help your fans make a personal connection.

TO DO: Click on "Edit Page", then "Featured". Then, "Add Featured Page Owners". Select the page admins who should be publicly listed as "page owners". (Note that this is also the place where you can publicly endorse other pages by featuring them as well.)

There are some other changes as well, but this covers the big ones that have strategic implications. Have fun, and remember: Facebook is a conversational medium. Don't just speak - listen and respond.

And as always, feel free to drop us an email or pick up the phone if you've got a specific question or problem. We're here to help you change the world.

Posted on February 18, 2011 in
facebook.