In a move that wasn’t expected (at least from us) until the middle of the year, Facebook has just opened up the public beta (i.e. opt-in) for the new TImeline view for Pages. You’ll be forced over to the new style on March 31.

If you don’t know what that is, this is what the old Page style is:

Our friend Prakky's Page!

And will now look something like this:

Starbucks' New Facebook Timeline Page

Big difference, hey! Timeline will encourage more users to engage and interact with the Page content and provides new opportunities to manage branding (love the Cover Photos!) and how you represent yourself – notice that the about/bio section (below the logo) will now allow you to put in a full sentence or two rather than about 100 characters.

But that’s not all. Facebook has now released Messaging for Pages and a new moderation option. Both are available in the Page Settings:

Available in the Facebook Page Settings

As you can see, you can now enable Messaging, which will allow users to ‘chat’ with you as the Page. This is a really handy feature in some senses : it’s an easy way to manage customer service enquiries immediately and not in the public sphere, but also comes with risk of adequately resourcing it and providing an avenue for people to potentially send risky content to you (e.g. self-harm related messages).

Additionally, there is now an option to only show moderated friend activity – this is when people ‘mention’ the Page on their private profiles. Due to the way that Timeline operates, these updates get equal ‘cred’ and space on the Page Timeline as the updates from the Page itself. Now you can moderate them, giving you some control of how the brand is represented in that public manner.

Next up, there has been a change to filters. Where you use to be able to view either posts by ‘Everyone’ or just the Page’s updates, you now have 4 options:

  1. Highlights: looks to be a combination of popular (i.e. highly engaging) posts from the Page, relevant posts mentioning the page or brand from friends.
  2. Friend activity: mentions of the brand or Page by friends
  3. Posts by Page: similar to the old setting
  4. Posts by Others: similar to the old ‘Everyone’ setting

Finally, you’ll also notice that there has been a change to any custom tabs you might have created for your page. The area you can use now pops up to fill the screen and is about 700 pixels wide rather than 500. So any old tabs will look a bit funny until they are changed to suit the new width:

Our Page's Welcome Tab

And also there isn’t the ‘tab layout’ you used to have – now there are the large icons next to the About/bio section under the logo.

We’re going to be frantically changing the syllabus / resources for our upcoming social media ‘Boot Camp’ training courses (details here) to reflect these changes, so it’s all systems go!

It’ll be interesting to see how things change as we move forward. I expect that Facebook will iterate a few more features and widgets to make things a bit more like the ‘old Pages’ but otherwise:

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