You may have noticed that Facebook is allowing Page admins to preview to upcoming changes to Page layouts, coming into effect on August 23rd (read Facebook’s announcement here). Don’t worry, only Page admins can see these changes. If you have already been designing FBML tabs for the new 520 pixel width, you should be fine. But what about the standard Facebook tabs that come with every page as default applications (Notes, Photos, Discussion, Reviews)? You should take a look at the new layout for these stock tabs and see how you can best utilize them in your page marketing strategy.
Take a closer look at the Notes Tab…
This blog post will focus specifically on Notes, a blogging feature built in to all Facebook Pages and Profiles. Today I noticed the new Notes layout on Pages:
The HyperArts blog is currently being imported via the Notes function (see tutorial for this below). You can see that now the Notes tab is a central column, nested between Facebook ads on the right and the HyperArts profile photo and page info on the left. The layout has changed a bit, giving readers a preview of each note, a link to read more, and any comments left on each note.
Write a Note?
There is also a new button in the top right corner, “Write a Note,” which confused me at first. Can I write a note on someone else’s Page?
I looked at a Page that I do NOT admin, and saw the same button.
Well in fact, this button does not allow you to write a note for the Page you are viewing, but rather, takes you to the Notes tab of your own PROFILE. You are taken to the new Note editing interface, which has more features than the standard Facebook note or message-writing interface.
Notes Tab becoming more like a Blog
Now you can add basic formatting to your post (bullets, text formatting, etc) and preview your post or save as a draft. Facebook is really trying hard to make it easy for us to do EVERYTHING on Facebook, even blog! This seems like their newest strategy for keeping us happy within their network.
Do you even need to have your own blog anymore, if you are just going to import it into your Facebook page anyways? That’s a question for another post 🙂
Another interesting change, is the new box in the left column, under the profile photo:
Facebook suggests that you stay within the realm of Notes and visit the Notes of your friends, or Pages that you follow. If I click on “Page’s Notes” I get a stream of all the Notes written by any Page that I have “liked” on Facebook! Then, I can even choose to subscribe via RSS feed to this mega Notes stream:
Notes Search Function
In addition, there is a search field where you can find specific Notes of friends or Pages just by searching like you would in the top navigation search bar. Facebook will kindly auto-fill suggestions for you:
It is important to notice how these changes in Facebook will make your Page easier or different for users to navigate. Does this new formatting make you interested in using the Notes feature now for importing your blog?
There are some pros and cons to this method, as detailed below in the following tutorial. You should look at all options, maybe try out different applications, and see which is most user-friendly for your fans.
Tutorial: How to import your blog via Notes
To feed your blog posts into your Facebook page (to show up on the Wall and in the Notes tab) you can use the default blog import function. Follow these steps, and then I will discuss the “pros and cons” of this method, compared to other applications or the manual method:
1. Go to your Facebook page and click “Edit Page”
2. Scroll down to the Notes section of your editing interface, and click “edit”
3. On the right side of the page, you will see a gray box titled “Notes Settings.” Click on the link “Import a Blog” if you are not already importing a feed (you can only import 1 blog at a time)
4. The next page you are taken to will explain how to import your blog, which is as simple as typing or pasting in your blog’s URL, clicking the box to assert that you have rights to this content, and clicking “start import”
5. You will be shown an example of your feed, and if you are satisfied, click “Confirm Import”
Pros and Cons
Now, there are some benefits and some disadvantages to using this free application feature:
- PRO: Each blog post becomes a post on your wall automatically, so your fans can “like” and comment and share your blog all within Facebook. If your post is popular, it can dramatically increase the visibility of your content across not just Facebook, but the web.
- CON: Each post is imported into Facebook, and so fans can read your content without actually visiting your blog’s site. If your goal is to increase traffic to your blog (rather than get your content seen by more eyes) then this might not be the best solution for you.
- PRO: The Notes section of your Facebook page becomes a mini-blog, with all of your posts and any comments made by fans on the posts. The clean and easy-to-use interface is free of ads, unlike some other applications.
- CON: The Notes import feature can take a while to actually post your content. Sometimes a few hours, sometimes a day or two. This can be an issue if you are regularly blogging and then Notes pulls in 3 posts at once. Or, if you are blogging on topical issues and time-sensitive information, and you want to share this with your fans immediately.
See in this image, how comments and “likes” are preserved within Facebook, but do not benefit your actual blog. There is a link back to the original post, however.
Your other blog importing options include third party applications and manual posting of blog links on your wall, which guarantees that they will show up when you want them to! See this previous blog post for more information about third-party apps and importing RSS Feeds in FBML tabs.