Usually, when a social media giant like Facebook, makes a big change, a lot of us are scared it might hurt our business there. And we all know that Facebook can take actions that will decrease our ability to reach our fans. That’s why many might be weary of Facebook’s new Page Timeline redesign. But worry not – this is not really going to change much for you and if there is an actual change, it is going to be a positive one. And (spoiler alert) there is one small change in the admin interface that might be quite useful after all.
This redesign is actually an optimization
First of all, let’s set the context. Facebook never implements design changes out of the blue – they test everything meticulously and make sure that any change they implement globally is something that increases engagement with their website. This change has been brewing for more than a year now and if you have been keeping up with Mr. Zuckerberg and co., it should come to no surprise. The good thing in this case is that unlike updates to the News Feed, Facebook’s interests align perfectly with those of Page Admins. Facebook wants higher engagement and if you are viewing a Facebook Fanpage, the main way to engage with Facebook would be to interact with the Page’s content, so Facebook are likely to implement updates that will increase your user engagement. So even if the new look of your Page feels a bit awkward, don’t worry, if anything – it’s for the better – tried and tested by the Facebook team who know what they’re doing.
So let’s keep that in mind when examining the actual changes, their effects and what we should do. But first something significant to keep in mind – the lack of significance here.
It will not hurt your reach
Let’s be real – your Fanpage Timeline is by no means a significant channel for reaching your fans. It might be a source of a few new likes, but that’s it. People see your posts in their News Feeds and hardly anybody bothers visiting pages to see what they’ve posted. So the change is going to be almost immaterial. It doesn’t change anything significant, doesn’t add or remove functionality, so it’s just something cosmetic. When people that haven’t liked your Page already are taken to your timeline for some reason, they are going to look at how attractive your pages is, evaluate the content and decide if they feel like liking it and possibly getting updates for you. So good or bad, this is by no means the end of the world and something that should make you worried.
What are the changes?
There are things that are refreshed both from the visitor and from the admin point of view. They aren’t that many and it’s mainly moving things around and not adding or removing new ones.
1) Posts are displayed in a single column (on the right)
The old page timeline used to display your posts in two columns. It didn’t look bad and it made an efficient use of screen real estate, but in the end, it was a bit confusing. Facebook are moving to a more consistent look of their website on all kinds of devices and this dual column post display was simply not mobile friendly, so they are doing away with it. Now all of your posts are going to be displayed in the right-hand column in chronological order. The only feature we would miss would be the ability to highlight a post and make it full-width spanning both of the old columns. The up side of it all is, that your posts will appear on your Page, the way they appear in the News Feed, so everyone can benefit from a little bit more design consistency.
2) The header looks different and the tabs are hidden
Something that might be a bit of a pain for some and that might actually require for you to tweak your page after the redesign hits you, is the general look of the page header. The new design is actually much more compact. The Profile Photo covers a bit more of the Cover Photo and your Page’s name and type are actually now overlayed on top of your Cover Photo in white letters. So now you need your Cover Photo to be dark at least in its lower section for the Page’s name to be readable and for things to look good. Additionally, Facebook got rid of the square tabs that used to be under the Cover Photo and now your apps and tabs can be found under the “More” menu. If you relied heavily on apps that might be drawback, but as far as I know, most of the Fan Pages out there didn’t really utilize those that much, especially from their timeline. And you can be sure that this is so, because Facebook wouldn’t hide them, if they were useful. Additionally, there is a very useful angle to this – the header section has become more compact, so now there is more attention drawn to your actual posts which is what you want anyway. So it’s a win. Even if your Page gets a lot of traffic to a tab or app, it would most probably continue to do so and your Page’s Timeline was probably never the main source of engagement for that. So my advice is not to worry and to embrace the changes here with an open and positive mind.
3) The general info about the Page is on the left now
Now, this is a refinement, that also makes sense. The guys at Facebook have uncluttered the space below your Cover Photo, so now the general information about your page has been moved to the narrower left-hand column. The first thing that many will notice is that the number of likes your Page has is now here and it is not displayed in full digits but rounded down. I did get annoyed with this at first, because it doesn’t display the full number and I’ve worked so hard in order to gain every single like – I’m proud with each one and I this number is a badge of honor. But then I gave it a little more thought and realized that it makes perfect sense and it’s not a bad thing if you have a quality Page with quality content. Having the exact number of likes a Page has at a central location placed a lot of value on this metric which in turn removes some of the value and attention placed on the actual content that the Page publishes. And if you are reading this, chances are you are putting care and effort into the content you share, so this is actually going to make your more competitive. Let’s compete on the quality of our posts, not on our ability to purchase likes or to attract useless ones. So in my book, this is a change for the better, even if it might be unpleasant at first. On the whole, your business information being displayed on the left side of your posts is not a bad thing and you should leverage this. Make sure that all of the information displayed is relevant and that everything looks good with the new design. This is the second thing that might require some tweaking, but let’s make the best of it, right?
4) The Admin functions are more accessible and streamlined
The admin section of your Facebook Page used to be a huge chunk of clutter that was situated right above your Cover Photo and that took an enormous amount of space. It provided some useful info, but it was kind of an awkward solution compared to the much more refined design that comes with the new refreshed look or your Fanpage. It might take you some getting used to, but it’s a much cleaner solution that I for one appreciate. The nicest addition is the little rectangular box that you get on the right of you cover photo called This Week. It gives you just a few vital stats about how your page is doing, but in my opinion those stats are the perfect thing to focus on. A lot of use are worrying quite a lot about single post reach because this is something Facebook displays quite prominently after every post of ours. But in the end, it is not something that can really be used to measure the health of our Page on the whole. So the combined “Post Reach” that we get here on the right is exactly the type of stat the we should be monitoring and it’s the exact type of stat we should all care about. Of course, we should make sure that post with commercial value have the highest individual Post Reach possible, but if we want to know how our Page is doing altogether, this weekly reach is what we should concentrate on. Good choice, Facebook!
So what to do – here is your Action Plan:
The action plan is going to be pretty short and this is a good thing. Don’t worry too much, do what you have to do and keep focusing on posting valuable content for your fans and keeping them engaged – just as you used to before this refresh.
Update your Cover Photo and Profile Photo so they look good with the new layout. – Make sure the bottom of your Cover Photo is dark so the white text with your Page’s name is clearly readable.
Make sure that you are making the best of your Page Info that is displayed in the left column – Check what is being displayed. Use the spaces available to make the information that you care about more prominent. If you see something that is not useful or doesn’t reflect nice on your Page, edit it out right away.
Stop worrying and get back to crafting great posts! – Don’t forget that this is a minor change and even if it scares, bothers or annoys you, most of your fans will not see it and would not really care about it. So don’t devote to much time to it and don’t waste any energy on negative emotions. Be positive and concentrate on the content and let Facebook worry about the website design – they know what they’re doing anyway.
The one change you should care about
Every time Facebook changes anything, I worry and I’m sure you do too. But this change comes with a bonus that is going to be beneficial to our mindsets as Page Admins, so we should embrace this with an open mind. The most common metrics that were pulled in front of our eyes by Facebook about the success of our posts were the Post-by-Post Reach and the Talking About This metrics. But now the accent is going to be placed on This Week and our Page Reach as a whole for this period. This is a much more important thing to concentrate on, because the information it provides about our success or failure is much closer to reality. No matter if we are running a business page or if we are trying to monetize our page, this is the one thing we should all care about the most. We want our posts and our page in general to reach the widest audience possible and now we are going to constantly see that metric on the right of our Cover Image.
So let’s summarize:
Facebook know what they are doing.
This is not a big change so no worries.
Make sure your page looks good with its new layout.
Take advantage of the useful Weekly Reach metric on the upper right.
Don’t stress about this and concentrate on your content.