Facebook Timeline for Brand Pages
Get ready! Facebook Pages are about to go through another major overhaul. It doesn’t even seem like it’s been that long since the last big
change; in fact, most of us were just starting to get comfortable with the old Pages. Well, c’est la vie!
Here are a few quick and dirty things for you to look at when updating your page. Remember, on March 30th, Facebook will be converting everyone over to the new format, regardless of whether you have taken the time to make updates.
Timeline allows you to place a virtual billboard at the top of your Facebook page. This is an awesome opportunity for you to share a message, as long as you follow the rules (of course there are rules; this is Facebook we are talking about). The new “cover photo” maximum dimensions are 850x315px, with a minimum width of 399px. Here is a Photoshop template to help get you started.
Remember, the image may not contain price or purchase information, calls to action (i.e. “Like our Page”), or contact information such as a phone number or website address. For a full listing of the rules for your cover photo, check out the Facebook Page Help Center.
The new dimensions for your profile picture are 180x180px. The avatar (small image appearing next to each of your posts) will be a miniature version of this image (30x30px). With this in mind, it is probably not a good idea to put a bunch of words in the image. Instead, simply use a logo or other eye catching image that represents the “image” of your company.
Photos and videos in status updates
You now have the option of making photos and videos appear much larger in your Timeline. In fact, the “Highlight a story” feature makes it so your image will span the entire width of the page (850px). In addition to highlighting a story, you can “pin” posts to the top of your Timeline for up to a week. Use this feature wisely and remember that people don’t like spam.
I think this is probably one of the coolest new features. Your company has a story to tell and the new milestones feature allows you to tell this story, regardless of whether major events are happening right now, or 50 years in the past.
Take a look at the Coca-Cola Timeline as an example. Their milestones extend all the way back to when the company was founded, and include images and stories about their brand, even from the very beginning. Think of this as a museum where you can display your company history while using social narrative.
Remember how this section used to be buried in the “info” tab that no one ever clicks on? Well, now it is front and center and likely needs a little attention. Take a minute to update your information, but remember to keep it short and simple. This is not a good place to feature your entire company history, instead think about highlighting your mission.
As with any new update, there will be things that either no longer work the same, or will go away entirely. In this case, the new width of Timeline seems to be the biggest contributing factor to the chaos that will likely ensue.
Default Landing Page
With Timeline, you will no longer be able to assign a default landing page; instead everyone lands on your “wall.” This means fan-gating will take more work. Be sure to use the “link to this app” feature when posting a status update, sending a Tweet, or mentioning an app on your website. This will help drive traffic right where you want it, rather than having people simply land on your wall.
If you spent the time to develop custom apps or tabs for your Facebook Page, they will probably not look like they used to. The reason for this is simply dimensions. The new default width for pages is 810px, whereas the width for most of your tabs your existing “tabs” is about 510px. This may not affect the functionality of your apps, but it will more than likely make them look funny.
In addition to the changing width, the location of the “Like” button has also changed. This means that if you have a fan gate page or an app with an arrow pointing up to the “Like” button, it is now pointing to the wrong place and will need to be updated.
It’s not the end of the world
For most companies, the focus over the past two years has been to get more fans/likes. Those of us on the forefront have realized that what is most important is not how many likes you have, but rather, what those likes are doing. We encourage people to interact with our page, post their own content, and share things with their friends. With this most recent update, Facebook is pushing simply pushing many of us to focus on “what is really important,” interaction. If you aren’t already doing this it will be a challenging transition. In that case, to make the most out of this change, you may have to take a close look at your existing strategy.
What else have you noticed about the new Facebook Timeline? Help us sort out the good, the bad, and the ugly by leaving a comment below.