Facebook's fan page facelift diminishes brands

Facebook's fan page facelift diminishes brands

Summary: Facebook, you make me cry.Today the social network introduced it's new homepage layout and a new look and feel for its fan pages, aka the pages that many brands and their customers are using to interact with each other.


Facebook, you make me cry.

Today the social network introduced it's new homepage layout and a new look and feel for its fan pages, aka the pages that many brands and their customers are using to interact with each other. Fan pages originally had a nice quality about them. They looked clean and were customizable and showed a streamlined feed for information that companies fed into them. If brands wanted to, they could have interactive dialogue via the wall without compromising the flow of news that other members of the fan page wanted to see. Applications, if the brands chose to use them or even pay to develop them, were visible. It was attractive. Did I mention clean?

Now that's all gone.

Facebook's new "public profiles" replace what the "fan pages" were. I believe as of this writing Facebook users can only preview this on the pages they manage (which is what upset me -- my company's fan page was great before) but Facebook listed out a slew of already sacrificed fan pages on it's blog post announcing this news.

According to Facebook:

The enhanced public profiles, formerly called Facebook pages, now resemble the look and feel of Facebook user profiles allowing them to share all types of content to an unlimited number of users. Updates can be brief messages or may include photos, videos, and notes and will soon filter into News Feed, which streams and organizes real-time messages about what people you care about are doing, thinking, saying, watching, photographing, reading and more. Facebook users can easily make connections, comment on posted content and join the online conversations with the famous via their public profiles - just as they can with a family member, friend or colleague.

Awesome. The only problem is that they are ugly. And did I mention, not clean?

Case in point. Here's a very pretty fan page from HubSpot:

On the other hand, here's a very ugly page from Stanford University:

Now Stanford actually looks like a student of Stanford rather than an established university. It can even update its status message. And look, in the middle of all of the quality information it is trying to share, is a wall message from a future student. This could get out of hand real quick (note: previous fan pages had walls but those conversations did not interrupt news flow).

I understand that Facebook has to sway in the direction of the majority and that is, in fact, a more consumer, personal audience. But for businesses -- especially B2B types -- that are trying to derive value out of social networks and trying to create a presence in line with the culture of their company, this small change creates a big hurdle. Not to mention, it diminishes brands, by making their pages look more alike and less differentiated.

What do you think?

Topic: Social Enterprise

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  • Why Facebook?!

    1) My facebook page (along with everyone elses
    apparently) is currently broken. That means my
    thousands of fans can't get to us right now.

    2) The new page definitely diminishes our
    branding to a degree.

    3) No one liked the new facebook profile pages
    when they came out in the first place? What
    made them think that changing something people
    did like (original page design) to this new
    layout would be ok?

    • Eep

      I didn't realize that downtime was an issue, too. I am sorry. :(
      Jennifer Leggio
  • RE: Facebook's fan page facelift diminishes brands

    I completely agree!
    I was much happier the old way.
    I'm going in and reworking all the business pages I had created for clients and not very happy with it!
    : (
    • Sigh

      I can't even bear to look at ours. I'm not sure how to make it better, quite frankly.
      Jennifer Leggio
      • Sigh #2

        I feel your pain. Really hoping FB will give us the option to retain old style pages, but fear they won't as everyone will stay with them.
  • WASTE of time and privacy invasion...

    Fools blast their private data and pictures all over the sewer of the Internet today. With Russia/China/Africa/Europe full of hackers with no laws only an idiot uses this garbage.
    • And a Ponzi scheme

      everyone get on board to read about me then we can read about you to and you and you (me)
      Col Mustard
    • What privacy would you be speaking of?

      <i>Fools blast their private data and pictures all over the sewer of the Internet today. With Russia/China/Africa/Europe full of hackers with no laws only an idiot uses this garbage.</i>

      Well, in America the 3 credit card agencies and pretty much all marketingagencies will sell your information for a price )(and it's not very expensive). Granted, you probubly don't have a creditcard or use banks, retail estabishments (stores) or anything like that. And the great thing about it in America is that we can sell your information for a profit without compensating you! We can even tie the 3 credit records together once we have your Social Security number and build a fairly accurate profile of you. Just ask <a href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_John_Bardo>Robert John Bardo</a> how easiy it is (and has been since at least the 1980's). And that was before everyone was on the Internet!
      • all true, but

        [i]Fools blast their private data and pictures
        all over the sewer of the Internet today. With
        Russia/China/Africa/Europe full of hackers with
        no laws only an idiot uses this garbage.[/i]

        Even without the 3 credit cards and Robert John
        Bardo, that statement is still true.
    • Fools speak on that which they no not...

      If you actually used Facebook, you would realize that you can lock down information. You can choose whether Friends, Friends of Friends, or Everyone can see it. And since you choose who are friends...
  • RE: Facebook's fan page facelift diminishes brands

    I agree the new Fan pages are fugly but what's more frustrating when having both a personal page and a company page is that you cannot have a separate login to your company page. The first rule of having your own company is to keep business and personal life separate. It is impossible to login directly to your company page and you can't take advantage of any of the numerous content update tools available for Facebook because they all go to yoru personal page when you want them to go to yoru company page. Lame.
  • RE: Facebook's fan page facelift diminishes brands

    FB's Page makeover is a big step backwards, a real head-scratcher. I agree with you about how "...it diminishes brands, by making their pages look more alike and less differentiated." Now company fan pages look like cheap personal profile pages. When I wrote about Dell's Facebook page a week ago, I was impressed with several of the features and it had a nice look and feel (see www.ioncorporation.com/blog). Compare that to Dell's Facebook page today: http://www.facebook.com/dellsocialmedia. Not even close--you're right, something a college (or high school) student would put up. Dell's branding gets lost completely. Catering to the audience is one thing but doing this to business customers is another. What was FB thinking?
  • I made a few contacts from school and let it go.

    My Profile was a happy Supercross facebook. Noone really likes Motocross at the level of Advertising Agency; like Riches, sudden death and young women to talk about.
  • RE: Facebook's fan page facelift diminishes brands

    I feel the pain too -- we heard the rumor of a Pages redesign the same day we launched our last big Page project for a big brand. Sucks for us (and for them.) The problem was the way the rollout was handled, not that it happened.

    The plain truth is that the old Pages didn't perform their objective very well -- creating a conversation between a brand and it's customers/fans. All the metrics that we had been seeing were low, plus the virality of the messaging from the brand was questionable. If you looked at the top 10 pages, most of those were very simplistic badging experiences -- "I like Pizza!"

    Our clients have been looking for a way to keep customers talking about them, to introduce new content, and to create a real social space for their brand. Facebook was actually trying to solve these problems, which it probably did, to an extent. The personal profile redesign from last year was extremely unpopular with the vocal segment of users -- but increased Facebook's user engagement across the board and accelerated its adoption. This might do the same for Pages -- if you adapt how you manage the page to the new reality. This is a constant task in the Facebook world. Painful as it is, it might be why they are still relevant 5 years after founding.
  • At what point does everyone abandon FB?

    Everything these bozos try to do they F**K up. Their management team have no clue and their founder is just a punk. A rich punk but still just a punk. They will do whatever they have to to monetize the member's personal information. Their intentions are made clear every time they change something and them have to change it back because of user outrage. How about being so outraged that you stop using Facebook. That's the only language they will understand.
  • RE: Facebook's fan page facelift diminishes brands

    I'm thinking it must be a slow news day...
  • They should consider *options*!!!

    one of the top rated ways of getting more people? is to offer more than 1 option...

    really, when I saw the new profile layouts, I didn't like them (I still don't...), but I even saw a group that pointed out how they only changed the front-end... they changed the client-side code!

    they could always have a setting in there where you could *pick* which layout you would prefer, but it seems they're unwilling to even realize/acknowledge this fact, forcing "more connection" instead!
  • I see what you're saying...

    but, doesn't the page owner have the same control over all that just like I do on my own page?
  • RE: Facebook's fan page facelift diminishes brands

    I agree 100%. We have 4 facebook pages for TV shows and I feel everyone of them will be doomed once the changes are public.

    I don't know why Facebook insists in annoy their users. Is almost like they're trying to convince us to quit.
  • Design Objectives

    I think it is a case of using the tool as it was intended to be used - to interact and build relationships with other Facebook users. If you are there to create pretty web pages, you are in the wrong place. All that pretty stuff is novel once, but doesn't entice people to return and interact or build a relationship.

    My take: people build relationships and interact with other people, and they have opinions and emotional responses to brands; Facebook is about relationships not emotional response, so the design follows the objective.