About 20 minutes ago a number of Facebook Brand/Like/Fan Pages transitioned into a brand new format. A few minutes later, all of these pages reverted back to their traditional format. I'm guessing that someone at Facebook accidentally upgraded a new page format that was still in development.
Update: Facebook has since confirmed that this was an accidental release of a prototype.
Luckily, I was able to spend a good couple of minutes playing with the new Facebook Brand Page offering. Below please find a few of the changes I noticed.
- The brand pages now look just like personal pages. First impressions, the page is more open and light.
- While the page's creative tabs appear as items in the sidebar, core page functionality such as photos and videos appear as links at the top of the page, much like on personal pages.
- While the brand page I viewed did not have Facebook Questions enabled, this link appeared at the top of the page. If this becomes a default link, this could open a new world of forced interactivity for marketers.
- Custom tabs have been relocated to the sidebar.
- Page admins can now comment and like content on the page as an individual.
- To comment as the brand, page admins need to click a secondary log-in button at the top of the page. Page Managers: do not forget to properly disclose your material relationship with the brand in your comments from your personal account.
- Speculation: This dual login option may speak to the ability for page admins to post as the brand on pages other than their own.
- You can now choose your page avatar independent of your header graphic. This is already available, but Facebook now prompts brands to update their imagery.
- Once you log in as the page manager, you will see notifications for all of the people who have commented on your page much like any individual would.
- To switch back to your personal account, you will need to click the Account button on the top of the screen and choose to switch back to your personal account. It is now really important for page admins to remember to switch back to their personal account before they continue interacting with their personal friends Facebook.
- I cannot seem to locate the option to filter posts on the Wall. It looks like the only display option shows posts by the brand and our fans. This would place a premium on brand responsiveness and community management, as all visitors would now see all wall posts by default.
- For whatever reason, a number of apps don't seem to be working on a few of the brand pages I visited (but do not manage). I wonder if there isn't a technology specs update in the works.
Please note that this was likely an incomplete product that was accidentally released. A lot can change by the time this release sees the light of day.
The most important takeaway from this brief window in this unreleased-released-unreleased update is that brand pages are going to become far more human-like in design, placing a far higher premium on conversational engagement on the wall. As I didn't get too deep into the app management dashboard before the pages reverted, I cannot tell you whether or not this "lighter" page features more real estate for creative in the sidebar tabs.