Every time you log on to Facebook, you may notice a subtle change… or a massive change! This post serves to address a few of the smaller changes you may not have noticed yet, and also to let you know about a couple of major changes coming in 2012!
1. Hide the Ticker!
If the constantly-moving river of activity on the top right of your home page is terribly distracting to you, good news – you now have the option to hide the ticker! Just look for the teeny wee arrow in the upper right corner of your ticker and click to hide your ticker. It’s a toggle on/off, so just click again to show your ticker any time you wish. See screenshot below:
If you tend to view your ticker as part of your chat sidebar and you wish to reduce the size of the ticker or hide it all together, just click the line in-between the ticker and chat area and drag to where you want it.
2. Hidden posts and comments “not spam”
I’m sure the meaning of the “grayed out” comments on both fan pages and profiles/Timelines is not obvious to many users. These are comments flagged as spam by Facebook’s algorithms. These types of comments shaded in gray, are known as “hidden comments” and are only visible to the person who made the comment and the page/profile owner.
Now, to unhide bona fide comments, as an admin of your page, instead of having to click the small “x” in the upper right corner of the comment and then click “Unhide Post”, you just click on “Not Spam” and voila the comment is displayed. See screenshot below:
(By the way, the post above is from my fan page wall, and Victor brought up an excellent point about posting frequency per industry. See the post and my response here).
I’m particularly happy about this small, but significant change on my Timeline as previously when you clicked the “x”, that automatically deleted the comment without any other choices. Now, it’s real easy to unhide with the “Not Spam” link on the comment itself.
Subscribe to my Timeline public updates here:
While on this subject of “not spam,” make sure you are checking your Hidden Posts on your fan page every day. You might be missing gold in this section. Just like the grayed out comments, these are all wall posts Facebook has flagged as spam and they are not visible on your fan page wall to anyone but you and the person who made the post. Access your Hidden Posts area by clicking the link directly below your Wall link:
When you look through your Hidden Posts, to unhide any bona fide posts (which puts them back on your main wall, visible by anyone), just hover over the top right of the post and either click the little globe icon (for wall posts) or the little gear icon (for @ tags), then click “Unhide Post.”
3. New photo viewer
You may have noticed a brand new photo viewer “lightbox” that is now darker in the shadowing, and has a much more compact view. It seems Facebook designers changed up the layout so as to maximize every bit of real estate above the fold. Thing is, some photo features have now been relegated to the small “gear” icon at the top right. You’ll want to click that to access the rotation right and left, and the download link.
Now, it seems Facebook likely changed up the photo layout in order to have room to display ads. But the ads show on some photos and not others. Many of my Facebook fans thought perhaps the ads showed only when there weren’t any comments to display, but I’ve seen ads on photos both with comments and without. I am not seeing ads on any of my own photos, though. Only on other people’s photos. Hm, odd.
4. Private messaging between fans and business pages!
You may recall that Facebook nixed the feature to be able to send your fans a private message en masse, otherwise known as an “Update.” Invariably, these Updates all ended up in the “Other” email inbox and were rarely seen so, of course, were not that effective at all.
However, good news! Facebook is currently beta testing a hot NEW feature for page admins to be able to email fans/visitors to their page and vice versa. The feature is being tested in parts of Asia. I’m super excited about this one and look forward to seeing the impact this has on businesses of all sizes. For instance, imagine the impact of a prompt, personalized, private response when a customer or prospect has a grievance – how quickly and easily this can be turned into a positive situation and a customer for life. (Of course, you’d still want to indicate on your wall next to the person’s comment that the situation is being resolved).
Consumer facing businesses will find the [private messages for business Pages] feature particularly useful as it enables more personal communication with individual customers, opening the possibility of a greater level of customer service on Facebook. The move is also likely to cut down on the pain of off-topic comments on company pages and reduce communication lost when Facebook fans fail to take their comments to customer service channels outside of the social network.
The move isn’t an all out opportunity for business to contact customers, however, as communication must be initiated by the customer. However, once that has been done, the conversation is open to both parties. ~TheNextWeb
[HOT TIP: Make sure you and your team begin discussing now how you will integrate Facebook Page messaging into your marketing plans and community management, in what circumstances you'll respond privately, and who on your team will be responsible for managing incoming email.]
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5. Timeline for fan pages?
Last but not least, rumor has it that Facebook will be announcing Timeline for Fan Pages at the first ever invite-only Facebook Marketing Conference in NYC on February 29th, 2012. Take note, from BusinessInsider.com’s source:
Timeline is coming to Brand Pages. Many marketers remain ignorant of how it’s going to work and how it may affect them. Most people don’t even know.
Hmm, stay informed, stay tuned! At minimum, Facebook Timeline for Business Pages will likely have the large cover image. Now’s the time to get discussing with your marketing team how you will make best use of this prime real estate (that may take the place of custom landing tabs?), how often you’ll change it up (to tie in with promotions, seasons, etc.), and more.
My guess is custom tabs will remain, but will be visually displayed very differently. Possibly in the small “box” display like personal Timelines.
Now, what I would REALLY love to see on fan pages is a SEARCH (and/or ARCHIVE) feature. Imagine the absolute goldmine of posts on your page wall and how awesome it would be to have indexed archives that can be easily searched by your Facebook community. (Facebook Groups have this search feature). But then, fresh content and fresh engagement is (currently) the name of the game.
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I trust you enjoyed this post and picked up a few valuable tips!! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, particularly on the new Timeline for Business Pages coming soon, and the private messaging between Facebook users and business pages. I’d love to hear from you.