Facebook’s Makeover Kills Tabs, But Sales Should Live On

fbpagesFacebook is rolling out a redesign for brand pages, while removing the tabs that were at the top. Marketers have been employing the tabs to create visibility for their shopping apps, contests, and other offers. According to a spokesperson for the Palo Alto, CA-based social site, brands will instead now use links on a page’s left-hand side underneath their picture or logo.

But retail brands shouldn’t see a significant dip in their Facebook-driven sales, said Wade Gerten, CEO of 8th Bridge, a Minneapolis firm that has created shopping apps for Land’s End, Delta, and Hallmark. He said non-marketers would be surprised by what a scant number of Facebook users actually notice the tabs.

“Most of the volume of transactions and shopping takes place in the newsfeed,” Gerten said. “People don’t go looking for shopping opportunities on brand pages. Rather, the shopping comes to them.”

While the changes were leaked in December, brands can begin activating the redesigned versions of their pages today. Generally, the redesign (see image above) is intended to make pages look and act more like user profiles. On that note, companies can now interact and cross-promote with other business pages. Brand reps can “like” other pages and post comments on them.

Page admins get a little more control over what posts appear above the fold. For instance, they can determine that their “likes” see posts from friends, mutual connections, and/or popular posts at the top. Of probable interest to SMBs, page admins can receive e-mail notifications whenever a “like” posts on their page.

Mike Lazerow, CEO of Buddy Media, said the redesign represents a technological shift from Facebook’s mark-up language, FBML, to iFrames code, which should help marketers create more engagement. “Because the Facebook page tabs are iFrames,” he explained, “everything you can do on the web you can now do in a Facebook page.”

Additionally, there are now two wall filters instead of three. One is used to show posts by the brand, while “Everyone” will include posts from “likes.” Gone is the “Brand X + Others” filter.

And mirroring how user profiles were recently changed, the “Information” box on the left-hand side of pages has been scrapped. Companies can now list information about their brand at the top of the page in a similar fashion to how profile information appears for Facebook users. Page admins can also showcase photos at the top.

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