Facebook has announced their new Timeline for Facebook Pages rollout. Over the next month you’ll get to preview the different layout Timeline will introduce for your Facebook Page. Between now and March 30th you have the option to switch to the new Timeline layout. If you haven’t done so by March 30th, your page will automatically switch.
The new Timeline for Facebook Pages layout offers a fresh look and more progressive features to increase engagement with your fans and tell your company story more effectively within Timeline. In addition to the new layout, Facebook has improved the tools to manage fan activity and have better conversations with your fans.
If you’ve logged in to your Facebook business page in the last few days you will see a message at the top. You can check out the new look by clicking the “Preview” button on the right. (see below)
Timeline Features Important to You
Page Customization – Timeline Cover Photo and Profile Pic
Along with the new Timeline layout you will have some new options to customize the look of your Facebook page. The Timeline Cover Photo and your profile pic can both be customized.
Timeline Cover Photo
When you first convert your page to the new Timeline layout you will see a large blank area at the top of your page. This is the area where your Cover Photo will go. Your Cover Photo space is provided to present a large image that is unique to your brand and expresses your company’s unique personality.
When creating your image, consider the range of possibilities. Don’t just choose some simple stock photography or picture. Try to convey the past, present, and future of your brand in the image. People will expect you to have put at least some effort into creating your graphic.
Step 1: Click the “Add a Cover” dropdown menu to add your new cover photo.
The exact dimensions for your cover photo are 851 pixels wide x 315 pixels high. If your photo is larger it will automatically be resized to fill the area. Ideally, if you’ve already had a Facebook Page for your business you’ll want to take some care designing a unique, custom Timeline cover graphic to present your brand.
Step 2: Click “Upload Photo” to select your photo from your computer
Facebook will show you the window below to let you know that they do not want you running promotions, coupons, or advertisements in your cover photo. Rather, you should focus on promoting your unique brand. Remember this is the first image people will see when they first visit your new Timeline Page and every time they return
It’s likely you’ve already had your Facebook Page up for awhile. Your profile pic is the image that appears next to your updates in the news feed. Remember that previously this profile pic was taken from the side graphic of your former Facebook Page. The new setup is similar to Twitter, where the dimensions are a simple square (ideal size of 180 x 180).
Your profile picture is something that will not change over time. You want consistency and something strongly associated with your brand because your fans will recognize this image next to your posts. You will not want to change it unless absolutely necessary.
If you already have a page, your existing profile picture will remain.
Do You Need a Custom Timeline Graphic? Let Us Do the Work.
Customizing Your Facebook Page Content
Before the Timeline update, you had tabs on the left side of your page where people could access your custom content. Now, there are four larger boxes that highlight your content. Photos is the only required box. You can customize the other three. If you have more than three content boxes, a small dropdown menu will appear and will expand, when clicked, to show the rest of your content.
Types of Posts
With the new Timeline update, you can highlight and control content in some different ways. Let’s look at those here.
The new Timeline update allows you to pin an important story (only 1 at a time) to the top of your page. There’s a small icon on the post to let people know it’s been pinned but it’s hardly noticeable. Your pin stays up for at seven days unless you choose switch it out beforehand or remove it. It’s simple to pin or unpin a post using the drop down menu to the right.
It’s a good idea to keep something fresh on your pin every week. An important blog post, press release, product announcement, coupon..etc.
The Star feature allows you to highlight a post across the width of your page. This is a good idea if you share other people’s content on your page. You may want to Star your company blogs posts or highlight other content specific to your brand.
You simply click the small star icon next to your post menu.
This will not change the position in your Timeline, only make your post span the entire page to create special emphasis. You can easily change the post back to a normal posts size by clicking the star again.
Starring a post will be good for highlighting posts with images as well, like a company event, tradeshow, or special announcement. Because the Starring will take up more real estate on your page I would suggest using this sparingly and only focus Starring a post if it has real significance for your Timeline.
Different from pinning or starring, Milestones are a new type of post.
Milestones won’t be used often but in the context of your overall Facebook Timeline they can be important. To add a Milestone, just select the type of post (Milestone) and be prepared to enter the following information:
- Event or Title
- Location (Optional)
- When (required: year, optional: month, date)
- Story (Optional)
- Photo (Required)
Milestones have a larger story format, similar to Starring a post. They will span the entire width of your page. Some ideas for adding Milestones, include;
- store opening
- product launch
- event participation
- press release
Other features in the new Timeline include deleting posts and changing dates on your posts to reflect an accurate timeline of your business.
A new feature, designed to increase engagement among based on connections people have with friends who have also liked or interacted with your page content, is the Friend Activity box. In this box it will highlight how many friends have liked your Page and how they have interacted with your Page content. This will hope to provide a more relevant and personal experience when people who may not be as familiar with your company visit your page. Seeing their friends activity will likely result in additional fans and increased engagement within your posts and other content.
If you’re familiar with Google+ this feature won’t surprise you very much. You can now choose to have anyone message you directly using a “Message” button placed next to the Like button on your main page. I imagine that this may pose a nightmare for larger companies with elevated reputation management concerns but for the smaller business this is a great feature. If someone wants to contact you directly they simple click the “Message” button and send you a message. You receive the notification and can see the messages in the new Adminstration panel
There is a new Administration panel at the top of your page when you log-in (if you’re the Administrator of that page). It’s a nice drop down window with a dashboard-style layout so you don’t have move to another page. The Admin Panel contains your Notifications, Insights, Messages, and Page Tips (like spend money advertising on Facebook). You can also access an Activity Log where you can modify posts according to any specific behavior (pinning, starring, change dates..etc).
The new Timeline for Facebook Pages update is a welcome, fresh new look and will surely spawn new applications that will enhance your interactions with your fans even further.