If you watched “60 Minutes” tonight, you probably saw Leslie Stahl interview FaceBook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerburg. I watched it with my children, ages 7 and 9, as part of my intentional and carefully planned process to introduce them to social media. One of the things they discussed was the planned launch tomorrow of a new profile page layout for FaceBook users. You can learn a bit about it in this video.
(If you cannot see this video, click here.) Of course I have not seen the new layout personally outside of this video, so this post will likely be supplemented later this week after I have a chance to use the new layout myself. From this video, though, there are at least three things small business and independent business owners should keep in mind as they use the new layout, if they are using their profile page for business purposes:
Personality plus. The new layout features a larger space to display your avatar. It will also display your bio at the top of your wall. For a personal page to have personality, and therefore, appeal, it should display a picture of the person who maintains the page, and all of the bio information should be filled out to showcase you as a business leader. Small and micro-business owners now using a logo or a product photo as a personal profile page avatar should strongly consider swapping it out for a photo of himself or herself. It is also wise to use your real name at the profile page.
I've never been comfortable accepting friend requests from “ABC Bottle Company,” and now that profiles focus more heavily on the person behind the page, that discomfort will be magnified. As people become more and more interested in doing business with people they can trust, it will be more important for customers and prospects to be able to see your smile than ever. Save your logo or your product photos for your business page.
If you don't have a Business Page, please get one, and use your logo and/or product photos as your avatar there to create a clean distinction between you as a business leader and you as the maker of the products you sell. (Here are some of my best tips for using FaceBook Business Pages for your small business.)
FaceBook's profile pages have always been about who you are and what you bring to the table as a human being. The new page layout underscore this focus.
Always be camera-ready. The new layout will feature the last five photographs you posted to FaceBook, or the last five photographs you have been tagged in. From the video, it seems like you will have the choice. My preliminary suggestion would be to default this setting to display only the photos you add to FaceBook. Let the tagged photos default to your wall. This allows you to remain in total control of the photos that will appear at the top of your wall.
As a small business owner, I hope most of those photos will be of your products, your customers with your products, or you with your customers with your products. If you have not already done so, download the FaceBook app for your smart phone. If you don't have a smart phone that is compatible with the FaceBook app, give yourself one for Christmas.
Prune your “likes”. The new profile page more prominently features the pages you “like,” with an apparent new focus on sports teams. (I'm thinking this new emphasis on sports has something to do with selling ads — the SuperBowl is just around the corner. But I digress)
Upon arriving at your page, depending on the level of visibility you choose, people will be able to more quickly discern what you like. Presumably, this makes it easier for them to determine whether or not to friend you, or accept your friend request. I hope you will be able to select which “likes” are at the top of the list so you could put your own business page at the top, but we'll have to wait and see.
One thing that stands out to me is that FaceBook will continue to add new ways for us to connect as people, but will probably add fewer new ways for us to connect as business owners. For example, you as a business cannot “like” my business page; only you as a person can. And if you decide to maintain only a business page on FaceBook, but no profile page, you cannot like any business pages at all. Over the years, the lack of ability to like other businesses as a business page (as opposed to as a personal profile page) has resulted in frustration for many people, including me.
I think the reason FaceBook has chosen to do things this way is because if you could like things as a business, and like different things as a person, the way they sell ad space would be skewed. FaceBook cannot push an ad to a business, but they can push ads to people (individual consumers) and to people who own businesses. If you could like different things entire based on which hat you were wearing, I'm not sure FaceBook could help ad buyers target demographics as well as they do under the current ad program.
You can learn more about Stahls interview here. I look forward to updating this post after the new pages are unveiled — that's supposed to happen tomorrow so stay tuned!
Question: Do you have any thoughts about the new pages, or FaceBook in general? Or Mark Zuckerburg, “Toddler CEO”?