Facebook Brand Pages: Making Brands Human

Today, a big change came to Facebook brand pages, and will require your attention to fully harness the new opportunities for your page.  Brand pages are a highly visible part of your interaction with customers, and Facebook has made changes that will help you improve your ability to interact.

Cover Photo
First and foremost, you will need to bring your attention to the cover photo on your page, which will replace the current 5 thumbnails. This image is a great opportunity to draw in users from the moment they arrive.

Timelines
Like personal profile pages, brand pages will now have timelines. You can add milestones to showcase the company history and even pin important posts at the top for up to 7 days so important news doesn’t get buried.

About Section
The about section has moved, along with other landing page tabs and will blur the lines between ads, company content and likes. They will now be on the right. You will be able to order these tabs as well, and hide the likes tab if your like numbers are low.

New Content and Organization
Added to the mix is Facebook Offers, which allow brands to distribute coupons to fans directly on their timeline, more visible apps to graphics vs text links, and a highlights feed, which can be customized and moderated.

Direct Fan Communication
Fans will now be able to contact a brand directly vs post on their wall, which requires more monitoring time, but could keep some negative content off your page.

Admin Panel and Insights
Finally, the admin panel has been reconfigured to have everything in one place. The stats will be real-time, and non-admins will actually have access to the data about a particular page through the Likes box.

We strongly recommend you begin making updates to your page before Facebook moves to the new design on March 30, and as always, let us know how we can be of assistance.

Links to articles about the new Facebook Brand pages you may enjoy:

10 changes to Facebook you need to know
Facebook Timeline Branded Pages Are Here
Facebook Timeline for Brands: The Complete Guide
Facebook Brand Pages: 4 ways to humanize your brand

 

Financial Industry Is Slow To Get Social, Restrained by Regulation

Series 1 on Social Media in Highly Regulated Industrieslocked keyboard

Some in the financial industry think it simpler to abandon social media, but for most, they are stuck in a difficult juxtaposition as they are expected to grow their book of business, but then told they cannot use all the tools available to do so. My Edwards Jones money manager is forbidden to use Facebook for business, and the company won’t allow her to have access to the site from her office.  Merrill Lynch just recently began allowing their employees to use LinkedIn, but under strict guidelines.

With social media in full swing these days, what is it that keeps the highly regulated industries from swimming with the rest?  The difference might be in the government regulations rather than in the social medium.  Banks are regulated by the OCC, investment firms are regulated by the SEC and other industries like legal and real estate are heavily regulated at the State level.   The biggest challenge is that companies would need to monitor online activity for all of their employees and make sure no laws are broken, or invest in social media training as a matter of prevention. This costs money, but does the cost outweigh the benefit? Facebook and Linkedin have already been shown to be rich oil fields of prospects and clients, so how can these companies maneuver safely and confidently within those realms?

For several years, I worked with a large family owned real estate company headquartered in Connecticut, where we immersed more than 2000 agents in social media training. This occupation is about relationships, yet agents were fearful of the platform, mainly because they could not grasp how to use it. I heard more than once, “I don’t want people to know my phone number, my address” To which I replied “isn’t it the same as posting a sign with your face and phone number in front of your customers’ houses?”

On a similar level, companies are fearful of employee missteps online where everything published can be tracked.  Every highly regulated industry has guidelines for conduct, but now these guidelines must be extended to social media channels.  Training on acceptable use of social media, and monitoring, must be implemented to ensure those guidelines are followed.

Social media has already knocked on the door of each and every company and will not go away. Time will tell who manages to work within strict regulations to take advantage of the growth opportunities of social media, and who gets left behind.

Thanks to contributing writer Lori Vintilescu.