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Facebook's business fan pages are changing. They are in fact changing in a few very big ways. As a result, you are going to have to change your restaurant's facebook strategy, to fit in with the new offerings. While there are at least 7-10 major upgrades happening, I'm going to focus on the three largest ones that will impact your restaurant, and some ways you can work with them, to ensure you continue to get lots of traction with your facebook marketing efforts.

1) Cover Photo And Profile Images Are Changing

Perhaps the largest change that has come is the addition of the cover photo and deletion of the photo strip across the top of the page. Your restaurant can now feature a large image to showcase your page and your restaurant. The maximum dimensions of this image is 850 pixels by 315 pixels.

NOTE: One massive restriction to these cover photos is that you can't have calls to action on them. What does that mean? It means you cannot tell people to like or share your page, or have any contact information at all, including your web address, phone number or mailing address.

These restrictions will obviously require a bit of creativity in drawing attention to your business without some of the methods that have been used in the side profile pictures in the past. As you can see, in the example above, for our client, Wicked Chicken Wings, we chose to display their weekly specials and their hours of operation. We're technically "toeing the line".

You can get the full details about Cover Photo Regulations Here.

2) You will see larger, Highlighted Photos On Your Page AND Now Pinned Posts


Another fantastic feature restaurants can utilize on the new Facebook Fan Pages are the much larger, more eye-catching photos on their timeline. These larger photos can help tell the story of your restaurant, your menu items, your restaurant culture, and the experience one can expect when dining in your establishment.

You can also highlight a story (by clicking the star icon in the upper right of a post), so it spans all the way across the Timeline. This of course is perfect for a restaurant that is promoting a big event, or has a big announcement that they don't want anyone to miss.

Lastly, you can pin a story at the top of your timeline, for up to a week. To do this, click the pencil icon in the upper right of the post and select Pin to Top. This is a wonderful tool for any promotions that span over a period of time in your restaurant.

 

 

 3) Mission Control:

The biggest announcement was the idea of "mission control". Mission control is the center where you can look at your Facebook Insights, the Admin Panel and Messaging. Accessing them is easy. All you need to do is click on the "Admin Panel" button.

 

The admin panel itself has much different navigation than before, but fear not, everything is still there. You will be able to see the old-style dashboard if you wish as well, by clicking the Manage drop down menu and then "Edit Page"

 

 

Pages will also have the ability to receive messages from fans. The Message feature can be turned on or off from the Manage Permissions area of the Admin Dashboard.

The Message button is enabled by default so if you want to disable it, you will have to un-check the box. Messages can only be initiated by a fan—they cannot be initiated by the page to a fan. The page can reply to the message sent.

The Bad News: Bye Bye Landing Pages
As with all exciting upgrades, there is always a downside. In this case, it has to do with the disappearance of the default landing tab. You will no longer be able to create default landing tabs on your page.


Fear not though, the new page layout actually allows you to rename and reposition apps on your page, giving a very creative, unique user experience. This however is a whole other article, which we will post next week. In the meantime, test out and embrace the new Facebook Fan Pages :)


How are you going to use them to make your restaurant stand out? If you need tips, of have questions, please feel free to comment to below, as we are offering everyone "best practices advice", to get their page super charged and ready for prime time.

 

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Comments

  • We were just getting ready to start developing a landing page version of a reservation system for clients.  While I'm sure the system will be similar now, at least it won't make our instructions outdated!

  • not at all...we're worthy ;)

  • Yeah.  This is true.  It just means that companies like yours and mine have to step our games up, to be deemed "worthy" of one of those coveted top 4 (actually 3, since photos always has to be in first position) spots.  No pressure, right? :)

  • Hey Chris!  Yep.  Will say Order Online though since people won't know to click on the ChowNow logo to order, (not yet at least :), but that's where it will be.  Pretty prime real estate!  The down side of that though is they only allow 4 apps to be showcased, the rest are hidden.  You can edit them though and choose which ones you want. 

  • I'm bummed about the no landing page thing, but I figure this just makes us have to be more creative, right? I can envision a nice looking "chow now" icon for your app, right next to the photos icon, right? :)

  • The new layout is scary and exciting all rolled into one.  I'm not a huge fan of it on personal pages, but timeline is a much better promotional tool for restaurants, and once everyone gets used to it I'm sure we'll see some new and fun ways to make the most of it.  It has been a good thing for App creators like us at ChowNow as they aren't hidden on the left sidebar anymore, but showcased as a large button right below the main picture.  We likey.

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