Have you gotten any official emails from Facebook recently? We sure have, and the reason is that Facebook is again changing several key parts of how its business pages work. In this case, there’s an important choice to make about your business page template, and some more news about how Facebook is treating local businesses. Sarah, Ashley and Aleks are going to break down what this means!

The Business Page Template Shift

If you read Facebook’s email (which went out in August), you’ll know that Facebook is dividing business pages into two primary templates, and that it wants you to choose which template you like best. The first is the standard template that Facebook already uses. The second is a new “Services” template that’s more oriented around activity and exploration, which introduces a number of new features to the page and changes the layout.

If you ignored this email, Facebook chose whichever template its algorithm felt best matched your business (although you can make the switch whenever you want). But even if you are currently sticking with the standard template, it’s still worth looking at the changes that Facebook is making – and why.

Facebook Updates Changes

All right, let’s take a closer look at the additions Facebook is making. We break them down in more detail here, but for a summary:

  • Recommendations: Recommendations are like mini testimonials that customers can now create, including text, photos and tags. This is probably good for SEO, and definitely good for generating leads from Facebook. However, like most of the changes, it’s particularly useful for local businesses that make it easy for people to post photos.
  • Actions: Businesses can now create Action buttons that directly offer one of their services to customers. Actions include things like making an appointment, ordering a pizza, or writing one of those fancy recommendations.
  • Visibility of Stories: Stories will now be accessible just by clicking on the main page profile photo.
  • More customized information: Businesses will be able to feature information sections like hours of service, menus, upcoming events, and special offers.
  • Event: Facebook is adding ticket sales and Event Ads to help businesses market their events.
  • Jobs: The ability to advertise openings and accept applications through Facebook is now available to everyone.

“Keeping Things Personal” Has a Cost

So, why exactly is Facebook making these changes? Remember, Facebook’s recent changes have not been very business friendly. Lately, they’ve been responding to complaints that the news feed is too filled with business posts, and tweaking their numbers so that people see more posts from friends and family, and fewer from brands.

That’s not exactly good news for businesses, and it’s not surprising that businesses started pulling away from Facebook and looking at platforms that were friendlier to their marketing. These new changes are, in a way, Facebook’s response. “Look, we still care about you! These are all the new features we are added! Your user experience is better than ever!”

Are the changes worth the cost of less visibility on the News Feed? That’s up for each business to decide. The most important factor is probably how much you use Facebook and how active your audience is on the platform.

Local Businesses Have More Reason to Use Facebook than Ever

All right, let’s sum it up: Facebook is making a number of changes with the goal to encourage more business activity on its business pages (and, conveniently for them, away from the news feed). Some of these changes are general, but they are primarily designed to help interactivity with local companies.

This is good news for smaller companies that don’t have complex websites and would like a digital space where they can conduct more business and interact more closely with customers. If you are such a business, these changes are an excellent reason to start spending more time on Facebook, get to know the new features, and start encouraging customers to make the most of them!

So what do you think? Are you more interested in using Facebook with these new changes, or do you have issues with Facebook’s business services? We’d love to know what you think – you can contact us on social media @21handshake! If you loved this episode, take a moment to rate us 5 stars on iTunes or share with a friend! Until next time!