As a Facebook user for several years now I’ve become pretty numb to the hysteria that greets each new major change of the user interface. I suppose all the “1,000,000 Strong Against the New Facebook” groups gave people a cause to live for for a while. I usually try to assume the best about a new interface on a major on a major application or site, believing that there is too much at stake for the developers to put a major screw-up out live. Sure, there will always be bumps and mistakes, but for the most part I see each of Facebook’s upgrades as adding value to the site.
So I was pretty excited earlier this year when Facebook announced that its Pages feature was getting a similar major overhaul. First peeks at the new Pages interface did not disappoint. Pages now worked more like personal Facebook profiles, with the Wall feed front and center. Best of all, from a marketing standpoint, Wall content would now be pushed out automatically to all fans of the page, meaning it would appear on their newsfeeds as well, increasing the chance that new potential fans would see it. Brilliant!
Well…while sitting today having my mind numbed by a “Facebook for Business” webinar I’d signed up for*, listening to the presenter get all bubbly about the positives I’d mentioned above, I found myself thinking, “Yeah, but…” every few minutes. Here are some of the Yeah Buts I’ve discovered about Facebook Pages:
- The templates are way too limiting, especially in the blanks for “info.” For one client I signed up for a “non-profit/charity” page. The only contact info allowed in the form was a street address and web page URL. No email address?!? Is this 1982? Wait….1982 is too contemporary; there’s no place to enter a telephone number.
- While putting the Wall front and center was a good move, there is little else you can do to the front page, other than place some apps in the left sidebar. I blessed the day I found the Notices – FBML app so I could finally post a campaign ad for the organization next to the Wall where it might actually be seen. You should be able to place customized content on your front page without having to install a third-party app.
- This I think might be the worst: There is no benefit to your page whatsoever if someone “shares” something you posted on your Wall. Facebook seriously needs its own version of the ReTweet for its Pages. As it stands, if someone shares something you posted, it appears on their wall as if they found it and posted it themselves.
- UPDATE: Just thought of this one – Facebook is much more “closed in” than other social web sites (FriendFeed, for example). It doesn’t encourage sharing outside its own network. How much is that a hurt to the usefulness of Pages for marketing?
Have those of you who have been using the new Pages for these past few months found any other no-brainers that are no-shows on your Pages?
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*Aside rant: I want to shoot my brains out over how many social media webinars or presentations I’ve sat through where three-quarters of the time is spent on noobie basics. “Now, to sign up for your Facebook account, type your name where it says, ‘Your Name:'” Just shoot me now. Post a link to a Facebook or Twitter or Whatever 101 page for the noobies and get to the announced topic!