Take a deep breath and relax. The new Facebook Page timelines aren’t the end of the world and in a month or two we will all love the new format. If you haven’t already heard, this week Facebook gave all Pages the ability to upgrade to the new timeline format to follow along with the personal pages’ format.
What does this mean for brands and businesses? LOTS! There are tons of new features and upgrades. The most important thing to keep in mind is that this gives your brand the ability to tell its story! From when you first opened your doors to major milestones, expansions, and awards you’ve won, you can share your unique story. It’s an awesome way for Facebook users to learn more about your business on a more personal level.
All Pages can opt-in to the new timeline, but we recommend previewing your new timeline and getting the elements in place before hitting the publish button.
Highlights and Features of the New Timeline:
Cover Photo – The cover photo should represent your business and tell your story in an eye-catching way. While Facebook makes it easy to use one of your already uploaded photos, some brands may want to take their Page to the next step by creating a custom image to tell the story. Make sure you follow Facebook’s guidelines and avoid using the following: prices or purchase information, your address (email, website, or snail mail), references to any Facebook site features (no using the famous “Like Us” arrow), and no call-to-actions.
New Avatar Dimensions – Say goodbye to the long avatars that took up valuable Facebook Wall real estate on your page. Your new avatar will be a 180px square. We recommend keeping it simple since this is what is shown in your fans’ news feed. Use your logo!
Goodbye to Default Landing Pages – This feature has been giving brands the biggest headache. No longer will your non-fans be taken to a custom landing page or splash page. While these custom-built apps are still available and will appear on your Page, their importance has changed dramatically.
New Sizes for Custom Apps – Those custom landing pages you spent hours working on are still available, BUT they can now be 810px wide instead of 520px. You will want to change these and upgrade them at some point. Your old pages will still appear, but they will be centered within the new larger pagesize.
Photos, Likes, and Apps at the Top – Appearing directly below your new cover photo will be your page’s photos, number of likes, a map (if you’re a brick-and-mortar), custom apps, landing pages, and more. This area can be customized slightly. You can not remove the photos link or change its location. You can’t delete the number of likes box or map, but you can move it’s location. You’ll want to make a decision on which of your links are most important and keep those four on the top row.
Pinning Stories – Pinning… hmm sounds familiar, doesn’t it? (Ahem, Pinterest!) If you have important stories (i.e., event or contest details) that you would like to stay at the top of your fan page, hover over the image, click the pencil and click ‘pin’. This will now keep that story, photo, status update at the top of your fan page for up to seven days.
New Admin Panel – Your fan page’s backend still has all of the same features, but it can now be accessed at the very top of your page. It shows new notifications, messages, and Insights. A great reminder to check your Insights regularly!
Messaging – This is quite possibly my most favorite new feature! Users can now private message your brand right through Facebook. This eliminates the need to have custom contact forms. Note: this feature is optional and can also be turned off.
Stay tuned for more helpful advice on Facebook’s new Timeline. If you ever have questions, feel free to ask!
Nice article Erin. There’s so many people writing “Waaaaahhhh” about this, but the key is figuring out how to use the new tools.
I love the admin panel but I feel like the new design makes user posts to the wall way less visible. Any thoughts on how to reduce that effect?
Thanks, Andy! Great question. It does seem like user posts are much less visible. Unfortunately, this is a negative of the new timeline in my opinion. Make sure your settings on the backend of your pages allow for post visibility. Click the checkbox for “Show the box for “Recent Posts by Others” on the top of your page”. That’s about all you can do from my understanding. There’s also a way to toggle back and forth at the top of your fan page for Highlights, Friend Activity, Posts by Page, and Posts by Others. Good luck with your new timelines! Feel free to ask me if you have any questions.