Facebook for better or worse has always tried to enhance the user interface to benefit their users. It's almost always meet disdain until people get used to it and go back to enjoying their daily interactions on Farmville. I've loved almost every single iteration of the user interface, as each has been a much needed face lift; until now. I don't like the new user interface for one reason: Fan Pages are ushered to the back of the bus to quietly rot away -- and groups have prominent placement? (Groups will be an entire other post. Fail.)
Small Business Fan Pages Sample Use Case
For most small businesses fan pages were used to connect user with that businesses product & brand value. Pages status updates, links & photos could be shared with the entire community and slowly but surely you could keep constant interaction with a growing fan population.
For the business I work with we would update our status almost daily. We would talk to our clients and provide tips and tricks to enhance the service they received or will receive soon. Each of these interactions generated a news story on Facebook and in turn generated pages views and more fans.
We asked current clients to join our Fan Page on Facebook, most had already joined and they informed us that, "because stories were created in my news feeds I was reminded to make an appointment." Awesome.
Great, now we are generating revenue & brand awareness...then things change.
Change Is Good?
I was excited when Mashable broke the story regarding the UI change. Without testing it I thought it would help put Pages (FB Mail) Updates in a more direct location. After a week of waiting I finally received the update and was astonished to find that most of the pages I fanned seemed to be missing from all of my feeds. I could only see random Fan page updates inside the home page under "Most Recent."
I am a highly organized Facebook user, in fact, I have over 25 friends lists to organize who I interact with. However, I know that I am in the minority of people who even use friends list. Which means that if your clients, customers or users want to catch a fan page update they must be on the "Most Recent" tab on the home page OR create a friends list for your pages, assign pages to the list and remember to check it for updates.
Those two solutions won't fly. Users are not going to change their browsing behavior. =( If you're a small business you are going to see a large dip in traffic to your page and perhaps to your website from Facebook until something changes.
So here is my solution for small business owners who need to promote their goods and services on Facebook.<
- Redefine your marketing goals with Facebook put greater emphasis on generating action outside of Facebook.
- Continue to update trying different peak times for your target audience so that they'll see you in the "Most Recent" column.
- Create an App or Interactive Page to move people to your website
- Focus on using Facebook Connect to facilitate communication interaction on your website.
- If you create a Facebook App -- make sure it has a Bookmark feature for easy access on the left Dashboard.
- Focus on getting user to sign up for Email Campaigns or RSS updates. (ugh)
- Encourage Brand/Business Employees to bring your message to their circle of friends and clients.
- Talk to your Marketing folks, I follow a lot of them and everyone has a few good ideas.