**EDIT** Well, social sure does move quickly. As fast as these changes were made, it looks like they've been changed back. As of around 5PM EST on 12/16 we are no longer seeing these new layouts. So, I guess you can consider this a scoop! Regardless, these changes will be going live at some point, so it is still worth reading ahead and planning accordingly. /edit
**2nd Edit** According to Facebook's Twitter account: "Also, some internal prototypes were exposed to people and resulted in us disabling the site briefly. It's now back to normal." We're still convinced that this change will become permanent in the coming weeks, so keep this on your radar. /edit
Admins of Facebook pages who logged in today were met with quite a surprise: a new Facebook page layout for Fan pages. This new layout more closely mimics the Places Page layout launched a few months ago with tab navigation along the left side. Beyond that, not a whole lot has changed.
Or has it? Check out a few of the other changes we found in our initial testing:
Not "Liking" the New Default:
For one, it looks as if the default tab for any page that a user has not "liked" is now the page's info tab. This is a drastic change for Facebook fan pages, as administrators were previously able to make any tab the default tab for non-likers - including custom tabs with clear calls-to-action to "like" a page and information on fangated content (content requiring users to like the page in order to be displayed). While this may be a bug or a temporary issue, in our testing we could no longer find the option to change the default tab for the many pages we administer for ourselves and our clients. This is a potentially huge change. Previously, brands were able to fully customize the experience a new user had when landing on their page. Now the only choice is the info tab, one of the least interesting tabs both visually and contextually.
Login as Page:
An even bigger change, however, may be the new button introduced to page admins, "Login as Page." See the screen shot below for an example of how this looks:
This new feature allows for a huge amount of flexibility for page admins, as well as new ways to interact with other pages across Facebook. One of the benefits of logging in as a Page instead of an individual is the ability to see notifications about people who have interacted with your page - something that has been lacking since the inception of Facebook Fan Pages.
You'll also see in the screenshot above the ability to look at the news feed for the Facebook Fan Page you administer, as well as updates from pages linked to your Fan Page, or Favorite Pages. This is a great way for related pages to keep in touch with each other as business entities instead of as individuals.
Face to Facebook pages:
This leads us to one of the largest upgrades: Facebook Fan Pages now have the ability to post on other pages (as long as they are one of their Favorite Pages). This means that brands and entities can now correspond with one another directly. This will very quickly increase the interactions between brands and may lead to conversations much like brands have with each other on Twitter. The possibilities are endless.
So, Facebook admins, have you tried out these and other new features? What do you think of the new layout? More importantly, how do you plan on using the new "Login as Page" feature on your Facebook Fan Page?