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The new Facebook timeline is good for privacy and Reputation Management
So Facebook has pulled the rug from under developers and businesses – the format of fan pages and business pages has radically altered. Previously ingrained marketing tools such as landing pages have gone. Overt incentive advertising on the front of your business page is no longer allowed. People are tearing their hair out.
But should they be? We’d say no. The new page timeline feature for Facebook pages could be a vast improvement in the long term for both marketing and reputation management.
No more landing page does not equal no more like gates
To deal with the first vexing issue. No more landing pages. This seems to be reading for many people as no more fan gates or like gates. But that isn’t so. The guidelines from facebook state that for cover photos pages cannot add images that use arrows or text to direct people to visit tabs or take particular actions. However, it says nothing about application photos. Therefore you can still add exclusive or ‘gated’ content on an application tab. The only change to the tab is that the page has widened to 810px. So don’t despair, your gated content is still there, it just isn’t on the front page.
Some lateral thinking and a creative approach can take advantage of this. Take a look at Manchester United’s “sign for united” page button on their Fanpage: http://www.facebook.com/manchesterunited – which leads to this gated paged: http://www.facebook.com/manchesterunited/ . A slightly different approach – but one which will lead to much greater interaction. Tiffany – who’s fanpage has been lauded as an example by Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/Tiffany still has an effective like gate on their “True Love” tab here: http://www.facebook.com/Tiffany/app_165260936869226 , which goes to show that fan gating is still alive and well.
The tabs as such have gone and been replaced by up to four much bigger tabs or buttons beneath the large banner picture. From left to right, the info/about box, then likes, then three other boxes which are made up of apps. These can be chosen, removed or swapped around. The pictures can also be customized to any image which is 111×74 pixels. There are full instructions on how to customize the images here.
Canny developers such as this one: http://www.facebook.com/hsgaccounting and this one have realized that if you remove all but one of the application tabs, the Facebook Page defaults to Photos, Likes and the single application tab when then results in the Info/about section expanding. This can be exploited to allow room for a phone number or website address, or both – a massive boost for SEO. Add this to using the Map application as your one app, and this combined with a local phone number will give the page a massive local search SEO boost.
Design wise, both Old Spice – https://www.facebook.com/OldSpice and Manchester United http://www.facebook.com/manchesterunited have realized the potential of a massive picture or massive video on the timeline to attract traffic.
And traffic, SEO, and improved search engine position are all crucial for Reputation Management and burying defamation on Google search listings. Facebook’s changes have had further positive knock-on effects for reputation repair and have at long last made creating a vanity fan page a really worthwhile exercise.
Via the Manage Permissions tab, you can now moderate content – a major improvement on the previous design. You also have much more control over the visibility of posts. Interestingly, page admins can now interact and send messages to fans – not previously allowed – will this interaction put off anonymous cyberbullying and page stalkers – it will be interesting to see. There’s further information on the privacy changes here. Also, the functionality for banning Facebook users has been slightly improved – something which might help avoid bogus reviews and malicious comments. The key factor here is the increase in two way communication should lead to more transparency and openness between users and Facebook pages – and the one thing harassment bullies don’t like is the prospect of being exposed.