Facebook’s Major Redesign: What Does It Mean for Your Business?

Friends' lists that used to be under the "Most Recent" drop down menu are now on the left side of your news feed page.

Facebook introduced a few changes over the last couple of weeks, including: “Subscribe;” Share features (public, friends, custom); new Update Status tool; Fine Tuning your news feed; adding New Lists for us (thank you very much); view who is sharing your posts; Smart Lists; and a “Needs Review” function. (Click here to see a photo gallery explaining each new functionality.)

Now Facebook plans to unleash a major profile upgrade on Thursday. Most of the upgrades are unfortunately geared for personal profiles and one major industry. But there is some good news for the small business owner.

Two Major Changes

The first upgrade, Mashable reports, is that Facebook wants to make profiles “stickier;” or friendlier so that users stay on the profiles longer.

Here at In Touch Promotions, we wonder if this stickiness will extend to business pages. After all, Facebook has in the past made other upgrades that are still not functional for business pages. For example, the photo “tagging” functionality Facebook added in May 2011 still doesn’t work well for business pages. We can’t tag many of the pages we “like” to our photos. When we try, we get a list of odd suggestions like “Dr. House” and other pages that have nothing to do with us or the pages we like. (Click here to see our initial Facebook biz page photo tagging experiment.)

Until Facebook fixes these glitches, business pages will not be able to effectively use photo tagging. And tagging is becoming more important as more startups like Stipple emerge to help businesses use a photo labeling function to sell directly from their tagged, licensed photos.

But, if Facebook can figure out a way for your fans to “stick” longer on your business page, you will have a better opportunity to connect with and sell to your fans.

The other big reported upgrade is Facebook’s new “music and media platform,” which will use partners like Spotify to stream music for you from within Facebook. Facebook may also partner with someone like Netflix to stream video – so far we do not know when that will be launched.

What does this new functionality mean for businesses? Well, if you’re a musician or a movie star it’s good news because every time a user listens to your music or watches your movie, their status will be updated, all their friends will see that they are listening to you, and their friends will have a link to your music too.

But, if you’re a small business trying to make a go of it on Facebook, we don’t yet see how you will benefit from the new Spotify partnership. This new upgrade seems to help big business but leaves the little companies behind.

Advantages for Your Business

CNN Tech added to Mashable’s report: Facebook may be moving into a larger “social ecommerce” platform. Okay, CNN, we call it F-commerce. You know: selling on Facebook. Setting up a shopping mall on your Facebook business page. F-commerce.

Two aspects of Facebook’s new F-commerce push: Facebook will increase their marketing of Facebook credits and will add mobile platform “Project Spartan.” This is great news for small e-commerce businesses.

But, if you sell on your website, and want to sell on Facebook too, you can do that already. One easy and free platform we use for our clients is Shopping Mall by Payvment, which adds your products to your Facebook page and ties them into a shopping cart using PayPal for checkout. An added bonus: your products get listed in the overall shopping mall, too!

The advantage to the new upgrade is that Facebook will endorse F-commerce now more than ever, and encourage people to purchase from Facebook pages on a larger scale. So if you haven’t already, now would be a good time to think about selling on Facebook. Contact me anytime – DonnaSaliter@InTouchPromotions.com – if you have any questions about how to set up your F-commerce site.

6 Ways Facebook Can Help Small Businesses

If Facebook wants to be more business friendly, it’s going to have to make business pages more functionable. Some first steps we’d like to see Facebook work on:

  1. Improve our ability to tag other businesses in our photos.
  2. Let us comment on outside blogs as our business pages instead of having to change to our personal profiles.
  3. Pages should have lists, like personal profiles do, so we can sort and segment other pages’ posts on our news feeds.
  4. Put our own “recent activity” posts at the bottom and our wall posts at the top of our wall pages so that those of us who actively engage with other pages can do so without our own posts being hidden on our own walls.
  5. Send us notifications when others comment on a post that we commented on so we can continue the conversation.
  6. Give us the ability to edit posts instead of having to delete them when they need editing.

We should start sending Facebook our list of wants and needs. In fact, I think I’ll do just that. What other features or improvements do you want to see Facebook add for your business page?

Facebook Upgrades: A Photo Album

Here are the changes Facebook made during the last two weeks in August, 2011 and the first couple of weeks in September 2011. Today we heard these changes are a mere foreshadow of a complete Facebook overhaul. We look at the upgrades here to get a glimpse of what’s ahead.

The “Inline Privacy Control” change was rumored to be an attempt by Facebook to get ahead of its newest rival, social media platform Google+.

Inline Privacy Control

This feature rivals Google+ “circles,” in which you can share a post with one, several, or all of your circles of friends, colleagues and family.

“New Lists” also help you segment your friends better.

Facebook added "New Lists" for us.


Two New Lists that Facebook added for me are “Close Friends” and “Lakeville Area” (Lakeville is where I live).




Now dubbed “Smart Lists,” they take information from your friends’ profiles and adds them into your New Lists for you. So your family, college classmates, coworkers and so on will be auto-populated to your new lists.

New Lists include "Smart Lists."

If Facebook thinks you need to review something, they now notify you on your wall. I got a notification that one of my friends added me as a family member. I was asked to review and approve her addition.

You can review when you're added to a smart list.

Funny thing, though: she added me as a “family member,” and I had to input what the relation was – sister? cousin? daughter? before Facebook would accept my approval.

Facebook won't let me "approve" without choosing the exact relationship.

The “Subscribe” function is a move to directly compete with Google+, where you “circle” others to follow them.

You can now "subscribe" to ... well, others' posts.


Facebook even makes suggestions for you:

Facebook suggests I subscribe to their CTO and Director of Product.








This is a cool feature. The only problem here is that I don’t know these people. Why can’t I subscribe to Dorien Morin van Dam of More in Media, Leigh Beckett of Leigh Beckett Digital Marketing, Susan A. Katz of EarthWhorls or administrators of any of the other 1,000+ pages I’m already a fan of?

I saved the best for last :). This is a great upgrade, and I hope Facebook continues improving these type of features, which will really help small businesses advance using the platform:

You can now view how many have shared a post with their friends or fans.

If you post a really cool post and others share it, then everyone will see, right in the post, how many shares it has. The more shares, the more people will see how cool your post is, and your page will gain fans.

Facebook launched all these upgrades in preparation for a big redesign, which will include a new look for profile pages, music streaming and perhaps a push for F-commerce. Time will tell whether the changes will help small business. For now, be prepared to have some fun with Facebook’s new features!

Facebook Foible a Blessing in Disguise

Facebook had some problems this weekend. Many of us couldn’t see more than one page in our news feeds. I got this message: “This stream is unavailable at this time. Please try again soon.” With all the work business pages have to do to keep up with our social media marketing, I wondered what to do? in the absence of the Facebook news feed. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

To access pages this weekend and comment on their posts, I had to click on the links to businesses’ profile pages, since they weren’t showing up in my news feed, since my news feed wasn’t showing up. There was no other way to get to those pages that I love to engage with and rely on for great posts.

I decided to go to my profile page, thank God it was still loading :), click on my “223 people like this” link on the left of the profile page to access my fans, then in the upper left-hand corner of the pop-up box, hit the drop down arrow and select “pages.” The box then lists all the business pages that “like” my page. I could  click on my faves to comment on and like their posts.

It was then that I made some very interesting discoveries.

First of all, 65 business pages like my page, http://www.facebook.com/InTouchPromotions. Some of these pages are new likers to In Touch Promotions and others had been fans for awhile and I just didn’t know it. I went to them right away to like them and post on them that I looked forward to following their posts. It’s very important to me to engage with those pages that are fans of mine.

I learned that I don’t see all the posts from all the pages all the time and I do miss out on some posts even when I’m on FB all day checking that news feed.

I also realized that some of the pages that I comment on regularly are not likers of my page. I decided to cut down on posting comments on these pages’ posts, since increasing page engagement with my page is my goal. If they’re not likers of my page, they can’t comment on my page. So, after a point, it doesn’t help me to keep commenting on their posts. Sometimes their fans become my fans, so it’s important to balance that fine line between spending time commenting on pages that won’t comment back and concentrating on those pages that engage with mine.

Lesson learned for me: to increase others’ engagement with my wall posts, I have to constantly reach out to those pages who like my page, and comment on their wall posts. Part of that is monitoring new business-page likers of my page, and returning the favor – much like on Twitter.

When was the last time you looked to see which business pages like your Facebook page? Chances are there are cool pages that you don’t even know are following you and could give you a chance to increase your fans and engagement with your Facebook biz page. Literally a blessing in disguise!

UnIntended Consequences

Facebook’s New Feature Erases Profile Info

Facebook announced a new function last week that at first excited many of us e-consultants.

Clients who had set up their Facebook business pages as personal profiles approached us over the years asking how to change their business pages from a personal profile to an official business page. At one time that was the only way people knew how to set up their business on Facebook. Even today, it’s not so straightforward to create a business page. Many people developed their business pages as personal profiles and, over the years, acquired hundreds or thousands of “friends.”

Finally, Facebook devised a way for us to “migrate” personal profiles into business pages. Like you, I was really excited to hear this information. It meant that clients and colleagues could finally switch their business-personal-profiles over to business pages and not lose any fans.

On my Facebook business page, In Touch Promotions, I posted a link to the Facebook page where folks can begin their migration. As a comment to my post I linked a great tutorial from Facebook Forum on how to do the migration (will post the link later).

If you’re thinking of doing this right now, hold on buckaroo! Don’t click that link quite yet. There’s something you need to know first.

Once you migrate the personal page into the business page, you will lose your personal page and everything on it. Photos, posts, info, everything except: your “friends” will migrate over to become fans of the new page, and your profile picture will also migrate to the new page.

One of my business page’s loyal fans – someone who follows my page and posts to it regularly – clicked on the link to the Facebook page and migrated their personal account into their business account. They didn’t first click on the tutorial link that I had posted in my comments. The tutorial warns that you should download your information and photos before migrating. It links you to the “how to” download section in Facebook. They lost two years of photos and posts, and lost their friends. The friends did not migrate to the business page, which I still have to investigate.

I felt like I should have put the “how to download your information” link first, and then placed in the comment box the link to migrate the profile into a page. I told my Facebook friend that I would research the matter and see if there was a way to reverse the process and get their personal profile back.

As I searched, I found that, well first of all, no, it looks like you cannot get back your profile or your info, past posts or photos. But I also discovered that my FB friend was not the only victim of this. Many others had learned of the new migration functionality from Facebook posts and blogs like mine and had clicked and migrated before reading the entire tutorial, thus losing their info forever.

So before jumping into this exciting prospect of moving your friends over to a business page so that your page will have more fans, think about the consequences. Is your personal profile a business-personal-profile or is it your own personal profile page? Do you want to save any photos or posts? If so, tread lightly and follow all the directions carefully. And for all you fellow e-consultants out there: I learned a heart-wrenching lesson – at the great cost of a Facebook friend’s personal profile – to post not just the exciting news, but the necessary steps as well, and to post the important caveats first, before the exciting links. I can’t express my apologies enough for this unintended consequence of sharing exciting news with my fans.

Japan’s Great Loss and Mashable’s Great Faux Pas

Wow, so far March has been quite a month of surprise and tragedy. We’re living through one of the most catastrophic events we’ve experienced in our lifetime. The 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami, aftershocks and nuclear plant meltdown that hit Japan March 11th are changing our world, forcing many of us to put our localized troubles into perspective.

When Mashable posted a question on Facebook Tuesday, March 15, asking: “The tragedy in Japan could also hurt the global economy. Which popular tech products are in danger?,” there were many angered responses. “Too soon” and “bad taste” were two of the most popular posted comment responses. Mashable’s question made me wonder whether mother nature would add insult to Japan’s injury by teaming up with an economic crisis.

Toyota, Sony and Cannon have all shut down operations in their Japanese plants. The ripple affect reached the US Thursday, March 17 (Happy St. Patrick’s Day) when GM announced it is halting production until it can get the parts it needs from Japan. Disney announced it’s closing its Japan park for the next 10 days. Financial analysts on Bloomberg radio speculated on a double-dip recession for the fault-lying country. It looks like Japan needs the world’s help more than ever.

Here in CT, USA, we’re trying to put aside our local issues and look at the global picture. Hard to do in our neck o’ the woods, lol.

Although a lot has happened in the Facebook and Twitter world in the last week – iFrame Landing Tab troubles (thanks Facebook @FanPage Help), Twitter https malfunction-ality, whale-in-Japan video virus – none of it seems so important now as reaching out to our global neighbor, Japan, in its time of need. As an aside, my 90-year-old-neighbors, Carl and Ibba Williams, recall that the reaching out isn’t so easy, but they’re willing. If you know our corner, you know how much that means.

So from our little corner to yours, we stand with you, honor you, pray for you, pause for you, and thank you for your role in our global…realization.


Catching the Bug: Nostalgic for the Viruses I Haven’t Seen

I was going through some posts today and got a bit nostalgic. At In Touch Promotions we try to post promptly whenever we hear of a virus, phishing scheme or nasty worm crawling around the ’net. I haven’t seen many of these little bugs in action, which I guess is a good thing, even though it would be nice to see that more people ran across and avoided them, rather than no reports at all. I don’t want to see any virus in action among my friends and fans, so the most recent bugs are posted here to remind you to not go there.

Remember the “NW Airlines Free Tickets” scam that In Touch Promotions reported on February 22nd? Awww, that was a good one. And, I got to see it in action when a friend of a friend posted it as a comment to my friend’s post on an unrelated matter. The friend of a friend was able to take the necessary steps to clear the virus by connecting to our friends at Mashable: http://on.mash.to/ew1jzP.

The GMail phishing scheme came to light last Thursday (March 3rd): don’t click on any email links in your GMail inbox that ask you to “authenticate your account.” They’re phishing for your personal info and password.

Droid phones ran into some trouble last week. If you have an older Droid phone, it might have a trojan if you downloaded one of these apps, according Google Android blog “Androinica,” referred to us by GBGeeks.com: http://bit.ly/hWdVmU.

Then there was the tweet viewer worm crawling around Twitter. You know how you shouldn’t click on anything that says it can tell you who’s been looking at your profile? There’s no way any software can tell you that kind of info, according to our friends at FacebookForum. Anyway, I had seen that some friends fell prey to that post/scam link on Facebook. On Saturday I saw that it’s now hitting Twitter for a little while.

Oh, yes, and the marriage scam! The post asks “who will you marry” and has a man-and-wife thumbnail.

While a few colleagues and friends have run across these viruses, phishes and scams, I’m surprised I haven’t seen it more. It’s nice to think that In Touch Promotions helped our followers become aware of these scams and pass the info on to your friends and colleagues. Thanks for being there with us!

Best Practices or Paranoia? 3 Facebook Tips to Keep You Safe

I’ve been checking out some fun Facebook apps lately and of course, they have to access my personal information so that I can use them on my business pages. Since I am old and un-trusting I wondered why these apps have to access personal info and, in some cases, info on my friends.

One particular area I especially mistrust is the request to access my birthday. Why do they need my birthday? They gonna send me a card? Write happy birthday on my wall? No thanks. Besides, who else would have access to my birthday info? And what if their systems are hacked? If a hacker has access to your name and birthday, couldn’t s/he steal your identity next?

The whole thing made me wonder about “best practices” versus “unorthodox” or downright untruthful practices on Facebook. Here are some simple steps that mix best practices with my own distrustful, doubting, untruthful but keep-my-identity-safe type practices to help you stay identity-theft-free.

• Become best friends with your security settings.
Navigate through your settings and make sure you know what each one means. Of particular importance is the “Choose your privacy settings – Apps, games and websites” section. When your friends download an app it has access to your info too. Change the default settings so that when your friends download an app, the app can only access information you want it to have.

• Apps can only access information that you’ve already made available to everyone.
Check to see exactly what information you have allowed “everyone” to see, and change the settings for those things you don’t want the apps to have access to. This comes into play when you’re downloading an app and a “request for permission” to access your info anytime pops up. Also remember the key word: “anytime.”

• Change your birthday before downloading an app.
I changed both the date and the year on my birthday and am proud to
announce my 105th b-day this year. ☺ Quite unorthodox and untruthful
move, this pre-emptive measure. And it may not be necessary since my
privacy settings are mostly set to “friends only.” But this old lady is happy
with the extra measure. It’s a permanent change for the “anytime” apps.

Can you think of anything else? I’d love to add to my arsenal of paranoiac anti-access fortress-protecting weapons.

Hartford Public Library Email Marketing Class Stats

2-01-2011 I am currently teaching a 3-week class at the Hartford Public Library on email marketing. The first week was canceled due to a snowstorm and held last week instead. Tonight would have been, originally, week 3 and the last of the series. Instead week 2 was scheduled for tonight. It got snowed out too, as we’re experiencing the largest snowstorm the continent has ever had. Week 2 will be scheduled for next Tuesday, 2-08-11, and the final session for Tuesday, February 15th, two weeks later than originally scheduled. That’s if all goes well with our New England weather.

So, decided to chip away at my new blog. Today’s topic: the email survey results from my first class.

31 people registered for the class. It was a good turnout. The participants were from Hartford and surrounding towns, either small business people or folks wanting to start their own businesses. They asked good and relevant questions during the 2-hour session, and overall I felt it was an engaged class. Now I wondered how many of the participants were online; how many had Facebook business pages; and how many would email market me (I’d signed up to receive email messages from them).

I sent the 31 class participants a survey and the most notable results to me were not the answers to the survey questions, but the percentages of people who responded, clicked through, “liked” my FB biz page and ultimately, liked and commented on one or more of the threads on my FB biz page.

You can see the likes, comments and posts on the Notes Page of my FB biz page, In Touch Promotions.

Long and short of it is: Out of 31 class registrants, 2 email addresses bounced back; 23 opened the email (74%); of those who opened the email 16 clicked through and took the survey (70%); 2 followed through from the survey to my Facebook biz page (13% of the click-throughs and 9% of those who opened). It looks like 3 classmates “liked” my biz page and 2 posted, liked or commented on the page. So far no one has email-marketed me.

According to Constant Contact (love those guys!) I got 2 Facebook shares, 1 Twitter retweet and 1 LinkedIn share. That’s right around 3-6% of the overall class.

The conclusion I draw is that not a large percentage of the small business and biz start-up population in the Hartford and surrounding area is on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter or uses email marketing. This may be good information to have for building FB biz-page “fans” (or should we call them “likers?”). I will try to connect with this community which is quite vibrant and willing to work.

One good way to connect with them, perhaps, is to be available at the Hartford Public Library once a week in the computer lab room. That wouldn’t be too bad. Now, when there’s a snowstorm, could I do the same at the library in Venice Beach, FL?

Welcome, Hartford Public Library eMail Marketing Class!

1/25/2011 – Welcome, Hartford Public Library Email Marketing Class!

I enjoyed our class today and look forward to our time together during the next two classes. This blog page is dedicated to you. Please feel free to blog here, email each other, send each other your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn business pages (see below to connect with In Touch Promotions’ biz pages) and comment here on this blog page about how you are succeeding with your online endeavors.

Share your successes and failures. I and your fellow classmates want to learn from you.

Many thanks,

Donna S.

In Touch Promotions

Facebook Fantasies

Jan 23 2011 – As a start-up company helping clients with email marketing and social media, I’ve been diving into Facebook full force, and I feel like I’m in FantasyLand. Social media news giants like Mashable, FacebookForum and The Next Web have helped me research the good, bad and the ugly about Facebook. This week it seems that privacy issues have hit the fore.

First, the news broke on Sunday of a hacker warning. You know those notifications you receive that a friend has commented on your post? If you click on one, and get a prompt to enter your username and password, DON’T DO IT! (See FacebookForum for the full story: http://bit.ly/giAFya).

Next, Mashable announced that Facebook will officially be sharing its users’ profile information, such as addresses and phone numbers, to third-party applications, adding that privacy experts had no small degree of concern over the matter (http://on.mash.to/hnlCgg). At this point, I was psyched and got ready to look up Mark Zuckerberg’s cell phone to discuss with him the possibilities of his hiring In Touch Promotions to provide his blog content.

Today, I saw the news first on The Next Web that Facebook is rescinding that kind offer to its app partners to share our private information (http://bit.ly/fbJOYK). I cancelled my call to Mr. Zuckerberg, but decided that my new birthday, 1/15/1905 will remain. You can wish me a happy 107th next year at this time.

And now it seems we’ve come full circle: how do you like the new Facebook profile look? Well, you can access the old profile if you’d like. Would you like to? Go back to what you’re used to? And not have to change to the new? Don’t worry, you can! All you have to do is grant the application full access to your profile information, and perhaps download a game or two. It’s a hoax and a virus. Many thanks to FacebookForum for breaking this news this afternoon: http://bit.ly/gaCiiG.

At this point I thought to myself: welcome to social media FantasyLand. Now wake up and smell the coffee!