Facebook’s new pages for businesses, brands and organisations has been dubbed by Facebook’s product team as “mission control” for brands on Facebook. Going well beyond basic profiles and custom tabs, the new pages include stronger branding attributes, better options for communication with fans, timelines, and access to Facebook’s new Reach Generator and Premium services.
On 30 March custom landing tabs will be phased out and all Facebook visitors will land on a brand’s wall (no more fan gates). They’ll see cover art, a timeline, and if the brand has opted to include them - important updates pinned to the top of the timeline and an option to directly message the brand. It’s certainly mission control for brands on Facebook, and it’s increasingly becoming mission control for brands online - the messaging feature may take some quick response communication away from Twitter, and the new pages layout gives brands an interesting and accessible channel for telling a story.
The storytelling focus is fantastic. Through the page timeline brands might be encouraged to look back and talk about their history more often, and using the timeline to tell authentic stories will be a powerful internal communication channel as well as external. Old photography from head office walls now has a second place to live. Ben & Jerry’s has been giving the scanner a hiding - I just checked out what they doing at the Vermont plant in 1985. I’d doubt they’ve had this depth of company history online before, and it’s awesome to see it.
Reach Generator provides a greater level of reach for brands. Currently about 16% of fans see organic content posted by brands, and Reach Generator can shift this to a guaranteed 75%. Premium provides a new service offering across web and mobile for engaging fans and potential fans with advertising and stories. Premium ads and sponsored stories on the right-hand side are typically 40% more engaging and 80% more likely to be remembered than all previous offerings (source: Facebook). Here’s a basic overview on Premium.
While these changes are great, paying to reach fans through Reach Generator reinforces a principle of owned vs earned vs paid media: when you don’t own the media space, you’re renting attention. And the lines are blurring.