What to do with the New Facebook Page Layout
So you've been hearing about this new format for the Facebook page layout for a while now. Maybe you even clicked the link that popped up on your page - you know, the one that made it seem like you were going to get the new layout right away, but took so long that you actually forgot there was a new layout. And then -BAM- your page changes and you're not ready! Not to fear - your existing users won't notice a difference, since most users who have liked a page never return to it. That being said, you still want to make a good impression to those potential new likers who come to your page directly to check it out before clicking 'like'.
My page changed last week and while I had a mental to-do list of changes I needed to make, I was still caught off guard. Facebook gives you the option of converting to the new layout right away or leaving everything as-is until June 5th, when all pages will be automatically converted. I am, however, always excited about anything new and different, so I clicked to convert even though I wasn't *entirely* ready.
Changes to Cover Area
The first thing to notice is: it looks a lot like a personal timeline. I imagine that there is some psychology behind this that will make users feel more connected to business pages knowing that they look similar to personal timelines. For myself, however, the design difference was the fastest way for me to spot companies doing business from personal timelines, which is a no-no for a variety of reasons (seriously, I can't believe people are still doing this).
Also, the large admin dashboard, which I was constantly scrolling past or hiding on desktop is now gone. The information can still be found under the links at the very top (activity, insights, settings, build audience) and in a small bar beside the cover image.
And speaking of images, the cover and profile images are the same size as they were before, but the profile picture has been repositioned slightly and now takes up more of the cover image real estate. If you've designed your images to flow together perfectly like these, you may need to open up your image editor and start tweaking.
Tabs are gone! Well, not really. Many arms were raised in protest when previews of the new page layout began leaking out, but a) they work more-or-less the same as they did before, b) now you don't need to customize those annoying little 111x74 tab cover images (oh wait...crap), and c) remember: most users who have liked a page never return to it. The 'Timeline' and 'About' links are mandatory, but you can reorder any tabs/apps that you have installed, keeping in mind that only 2 more links will be displayed and everything else will fall under the 'More' drop-down.
Changes to Content
You now have a single column of posts with a sidebar. The sections, which previously appeared on the right hand side and interfered with the actual posts, are now on the left hand side. It's a cleaner look, and I didn't appreciate it fully until I began scrolling through the timelines of pages that haven't yet switched over.
Just like your personal timeline, all of the sections (except for People and About) can be re-ordered to show off what you think is most important for your page, and are a vast improvement over what the sections used to look like. I won't list every single section here, just the ones that have changed enough that you may need to modify your settings, or that I believe are a big improvement.
The about section still displays your short description as well as -GASP- your website address and phone number! Previously you had to add these to the short description to get them to display. If you're a physical business it will also display your address, hours of operation, and a Google Bing map.
Posts to Page
The text and profile pics of posters have been enlarged. You can also comment or like the post without having to click on it to view the whole thing.
A gallery of the last 9 images is shown instead of just the 1 image that used to display on the tab under the cover.
Liked by this Page
Again, the text and profile pics of pages have been enlarged, but the number of pages displayed has been reduced from 5 to 3. If you like to set your featured likes, you'll need to pare it down!
Apps...tabs...same thing mostly. These are the non-Facebook-default tabs that you used to display under your timeline cover. They are still there, under the "More" drop-down. But now they display in the 'apps' section, complete with annoying handy tab app cover.
Changes to Posts
There are two significant change to posts. The post columns used to be about 400px wide, and now they can display at up to 504px wide, so if you are using a template to create Facebook graphics you may need to tweak it to account for the larger image size. As well, highlighted posts do not make the posts bigger, they simply add a bookmark graphic to the corner which has zero functionality as far as I can tell.
Bonus: Here is a handy guide to the new image guidelines!
Changes to Page Settings
[ETA May 29/14]
I also noticed that my post privacy/targetting was suddenly gone! After some browsing through the settings I found "Post Targeting and Privacy" and turned it on.