Heads Up! Facebook is rolling out lots of new changes
Some of the changes are “available” now…meaning, they are live. You may have already discovered some of them, either with joy or consternation.
If you don’t see these changes on your page yet, just keep this as a reference, because they are coming. Or maybe not…some changes are based on the category that you selected when you created your page for your local business!
Let’s cover 3 changes that are immediately apparent right on your Facebook cover.
- CREATE A FACEBOOK USERNAME
This should be a great help for people wanting to find your business on Facebook, especially if your name is very common–or very long. Now you can create a unique username.
This option was not available, at the time of this writing, on about half of the pages we are Admins on…and these pages cover a variety of page categories. Not sure if it will be in the future or not. So for now, we are showing a different page as an example.
But if you have the option, this is what you do:
Click on the link “Create Page @username”
A pop up window will appear that allows you to type in the username of your choice.
Some of the tips that Facebook provides include (our comments are in italics)
- You can’t claim a username someone else is already using. so if you want your name, act FAST
- Choose a username you’ll be happy with for the long term. Usernames are not transferable, and you can only change your username once. TRIPLE check your spelling!
- Usernames can only contain alphanumeric characters (A-Z, 0-9) or a period (“.”).
- Periods (“.”) and capitalization don’t count as a part of a username. For example, johnsmith55, John.Smith55 and john.smith.55 are all considered the same username.
- Usernames must be at least 5 characters long and can’t contain generic terms or extensions (ex: .com, .net).
- You must be an admin to choose a username for a Page.
- Your username must adhere to the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.
Once you have successfully created your Facebook Username you will get a pop up window that says “You’re all set!”
Your page can now be found by visitors by putting the following into the URL: fb.me/YourUserName (in this example that would be fb.me/NaturePhotoDigest)
If a potential visitor is already on Facebook, they can enter @YourUserName into the Facebook search field and find your business. Again, if your business name is long, or common, this can be very helpful.
People can also send your page messages at m.me/YourUserName
- ADD ACTION BUTTON
When you click on this button a popup appears that allows you to Create a Call-to-Action Button.
You can select any of the actions in the list, and that action will come up on your Facebook page, where the “Contact Us” is shown above. The Contact Us button gives you an opportunity to link to your Website’s contact page
This feature can be great, for example, if you want people to be able to easily call you—choose the Call Now button. If you want someone to be able to book an appointment you can link to your scheduling page so the potential patient goes directly there by clicking Book Now.
The Send Message function allows someone to send a message to your via Facebook’s messenger. A word of warning: consider your business needs and your schedule before you decide to go with this one or you may find yourself inundated with messages, or be taken away from your other important tasks. For folks who want instant messages from clients and who can handle the work themselves or via staff, this can be a great tool.
Shop Now is another button that can take someone to your website. This may be great if you are a services business that also sells products. If you are a store, you may prefer to have a different Shop function that creates a virtual store on your Facebook page.
Sign Up is another button that can take someone to your website, you would direct them to your opt-in page.
3. USE AS MY PAGE IS GONE, GONE, GONE…sort of
One of the things local businesses have been frustrated about is the fact that Facebook has taken away the “use as my page” feature. (If you still have it, enjoy it…it won’t last!) There is a workaround for much of this, and it is under the 3 dots next to the Message box.
Click on the 3 dots and you will have several options including
View as Page Visitor, which lets you see what someone else sees when looking at your page. We think this is pretty neat. Sometimes as the Admin of a page you see things that you don’t want other visitors to see. This button allows you to double check that that is what is going on, or give you the opportunity to make changes if visitors are seeing things that you’d rather they did not.
The “Like as Your Page” action is for when you find a page that you want your business to like (rather than liking it as your individual page)…so in this case, we’ve found a photography magazine page that NaturePhotoDigest would like, so on THAT Facebook page, we click “Like As Your Page” and then if you are Admin on more than one page, you will see this message
Now you simply select the correct page from the dropdown list…note, if you don’t see your page on the list, it is probably that you have already liked it!
Going back to YOUR page and the 3 dots, there are other functions that you will be able to do from here, such as view your page’s Insights and even create a new page.
Of course, those features won’t be available to you for pages you aren’t Admin on.
Hold on to your seats. There are lots of Facebook changes that local businesses should know about in store.