With the arrival of Facebook Places some businesses can have up to three different types of pages to manage on Facebook: their places page, the community page, and their general Facebook page. To make it a bit easier on businesses, Facebook is helping companies combine their Facebook Places pages with their brand pages. Rumor has it that in the future this combination is going to be more of the norm if your business has a physical location.
Facebook has made it clear that these places pages are evolving and if you want to combine the two types of pages now you need to be aware of the impact it will have on your current setup. Once you combine the two pages there is no going back. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of combining the two setups.
One Less Page to Manage– Having your page and your deals under one admin screen just makes life easier. By combining the pages you get to manage your deals, places information, and your regular Facebook page from one setup. I am a big believer in efficiency and ease of use.
Better-Educated User Base– If you have done a good job in building up your Facebook page fan base, combining it with your places page will promote your current deal in the upper right corner of the page. As people interact with your page they are going to see the deal and will be aware of your check in specials. Having the deals on a separate page would require more reminders about this on your page, which might not make for the most interesting content.
Minimalist Design– I like the design of these pages.It seems a little more minimalistic to me with the tabs moved under the page avatar.
No control over landing tab– One of the features that is removed when you combine the pages is the ability to choose the tab people land on. So if you are running a contest or have a customized FBML tab and want people to land there as new fans, you are out of luck. Currently people can only land on your wall with this setup.
Can’t move tabs– With the tabs below your avatar you can’t drag and drop the order they appear in. So some custom tabs or applications can potentially be hidden in this setup.
It may break FBML and certain applications– Depending on the width of your FBML pages and applications, they may be shoved down below the advertising on the Facebook page, which is below the fold. A couple of my clients ran into this issue. Facebook application manufacturers haven’t been quick to support these changes and there hasn’t been a lot of testing made available to these combined pages, so you are running into a littleearly adopter risk here.
Facebook has said that they are continuing to develop these location pages and some of the disadvantages will be dealt with over time. But there isn’t a time table set for that. As with anything, you need to weigh out the advantages and disadvantages before combining the pages.