What I love (and loathe) about the Facebook pages upgrade

New Facebook features

Last week, Facebook rolled out another change. Like most of their updates, this one was a big “SURPRISE!!” to the majority of users, not to mention those such as yours truly who administrator several dozen Facebook pages for our agency’s clients.

The new update makes Facebook pages for business look more like personal profiles, which were revamped in December. A quick glance at the new pages for business shows the familiar lineup of recently uploaded photos across the top and left-side navigation instead of tabs.

The reaction for most Facebook changes over the years has been a knee-jerk “Nooooooo!” and, given the company’s issues with privacy, it’s not an unfair response. But I’m happy to say that THIS update is a much-needed game-changer in how business can interact with customers, users and other businesses online.

That’s not to say, of course, that the update doesn’t have some issues, both technical and practical. Let’s break down some of the changes, both the good and the bad.

What I love:

-You can now “Use Facebook as Page.” In my mind, this is the most exciting new feature. I can now switch from my personal profile to our client, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, and go about Facebook “liking” pages and writing on walls as that page. This is important because it enables direct interaction between a business and other Facebook users throughout the platform – before, the only real place to have back and forth conversation was on your own Facebook wall.

-You can set your page’s category. Before, if you picked the wrong category or decided you wanted to change it down the road – tough. You had to delete the page and start all over. Now, there is a handy drop-down menu of options on the back-end of your page (click “Edit Page” then “Basic Information”) that can be adjusted as necessary.

-Email notifications for page activity. Apparently this was a much-requested feature, and it’s easy to see why. Instead of having to constantly check in on your page to make sure your fans are behaving or that all comments are getting a response, you can get an email notification when someone posts on your wall. This feature can be turned off for larger pages that get a lot of traffic, but for more manageable pages it’s ideal.

What I don’t love:

-Wall posts are no longer reverse-chronological. Instead, posts appear in the order that Facebook thinks is relevant. Posts with many likes or comments or by your friends will appear higher than others. You know your personal account allows you to filter your stream by “Top News” or “Most Recent?” The new business page wall ONLY displays “Top News.” While admins can view it in chronological order, there’s no way to select an alternative option for users. This is frustrating because if someone sees an update and wants to go check it out on the page later, it’s hard to know where on the page to look.

-Remember how great that option is to set a page’s category? It would be even better if it actually worked. At least recently, pages were defaulting to the “Appliances” category and efforts to change it to another category (like “Small Business”) were not reliably sticking. Hopefully Facebook will get that bug worked out quickly.

-Bye-bye tabs. While I don’t necessarily dislike having the tabs moved into a list of options below the profile photo from a visual standpoint, it does make them less obvious to users. As the blog Inside Facebook puts it, “As tabs are no longer front-and-center, the redesign could reduce the frequency with which users visits tabs other than the default landing tab.”

There are other changes, but those are the ones that I was particularly excited and/or irked about. For more good info, check out The Social Path’s Facebook Page redesign: 10 things admins should do RIGHT NOW and Inside Facebook’s Facebook Page Redesign 2011: All You Need to Know.

What do you think of the Facebook pages upgrade?