Date: Monday, March 05, 2012
Picture this: You get into work first thing in the morning and open up your department’s Facebook page. Staring back at you is a scathing comment from a citizen. They leave no e-mail address, no phone number, no way to contact them.
You want to respond, but privately, so you don’t release sensitive details about an incident. Up until last week, you could only do that from your personal Facebook account. For most of us, that was a little too much mixing of our personal and professional lives.
But Facebook page changes unveiled this past week will now give us the option to privately message with people as our respective agencies! It’s one of the best Facebook updates ever, in my opinion.
As of March 30, this and several other changes will go into effect for Facebook pages. In short, they’re basically making their business pages look like the personal pages. So if you have a personal Facebook page, it will look very similar.
But don’t worry if you’ve seen the notice on your Facebook page, but don’t know what it means. You have a whole month to learn about the changes, preview it, and fiddle with some of the updates to see what you like.
Here are some of the big changes I’ve discovered so far. And I think the best way for your agency to look at them is as opportunities for bettering your communication efforts with your community and your department:
I can’t say enough good things about this option. Yes, it’s great to publicly converse online, but everyone knows there are times when you need to “take the conversation offline” or at least out of the public’s eye so that you can talk a little more freely. But for those who aren’t ready yet or need to figure out how it will be managed, you can hide this option.
2-Better visual layout.
The new design lets you highlight certain items, like your photos or videos, in more or less prominent locations, with bigger fonts and frames. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand fonts what and frames are. All you need to know is that this new design is more eye-catching and visually pleasing to people online. This means people will see more items on your Facebook page and, hopefully, surf around your page longer than they did before.
Another good visual is the banner-style photo that will stretch across the top of your page. It’s a great opportunity to showcase something really cool about your agency or just a really neat photo that relates to your department.
3-Approving wall comments.
Facebook has changed this setting several times in the past few years, but with this update, we now have the ability to approve wall posts before they appear on our walls. I know negative and inappropriate comments are one of the top concerns for law enforcement agencies so having this option will be a great help to those dealing with inappropriate commenters or just starting out and wanting to get the hang of things before opening themselves up to comments.
4-Real time analytics.
For those of us that monitor the page insights/analytics to figure out what people like and look at the most on our pages, this will be quite helpful. This new feature will give us this information as it’s occurring in real time. While they numbers/statistics may be hard to understand, if you study your analytics, you can reach even more people with your information, which is the whole point of social media.
For more information on the updates to Facebook Pages check out the new Guide to Facebook Pages