Facebook Apps – 4 Changes Small Business Need To Know

Facebook AppsFacebook recently rolled out a new update – Timeline for pages. This update includes a new features and design elements to that small business owners can use to manage their presence on Facebook.

Small businesses interested in using Facebook as part of their marketing mix often use Facebook’s application (Facebook apps) feature to customize their pages and to tie their page in with their website and other online channels. The latest update made several changes to the applications feature. If you are using the applications feature, make sure to review your page to make sure it still functions as you intended. Here is a list of 4 things to look for:

No more tabs (sort of) – While page tabs will continue to function, it’s looks like Facebook is slowly fading them out. Rather than seeing the tabs along the left hand side, Apps are now available on the right side, beneath the cover photo. Make sure to update any instructions (written or oral) that you give to customers and prospects on how to find your app.

No Default Tab – This one may be the change that upsets small business owners with existing apps the most. Facebook will no longer allow default landing tabs. Again, if you are used to telling people “just go to my Facebook page and you will automatically see…”, you need to change those instructions.

Facebook recommends using another new feature, the ability to pin a post to solve this problem. When a post is pinned, it remains at the top of your page and has a  little flag displayed next to it. The idea is you can post a link to your app page and then pin it so it remains on top. Be aware that  pinned posts remain pinned for 7 days, so if you take this approach you have a new task to add to your weekly routine.

Fewer tabs can be highlighted above a “See more” option, but all apps benefit from larger thumbnails.

Larger Images – App images can now be 111×74 pixels instead of the 16×16 pixel favicons used previously, giving you a little more opportunity to communicate something meaningful about your app via the image.

Speaking of images, the cover photo guidelines state pages cannot add images that use arrows or text to direct people to visit tabs or take particular actions – so don’t get into trouble by doing that.

More room – Apps themselves can now be up to 810 pixels wide. Apps  render as a new page with a header, a link back to your page, and menu of other tabs are also displayed. A Like button also appears if the visitor hasn’t already liked your page.

Facebook’s latest update introduces many other features in addition to the change in apps. My friends and fellow Duct Tape Marketing Consultants in Fort Worth put together a nice webinar about the Facebook Timeline for Pages. You can view the recording of the webinar here.

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