In the weeks since Facebook's Timeline was introduced for businesses, much has been written and said about the format: pros, cons, support, and criticism. Here’s what’s new and what you need to know to take full advantage of the new format and be ready to make the switch by the Friday, March 30th deadline!
Facebook timeline for individuals was introduced late last year, and was soon followed by the launch of timeline for business pages. So what’s changed?
1) You now have a Cover Photo!
This photo is a large banner-shaped image that is displayed at the very top of your page, separate from your profile photo. The cover photo is your first branding opportunity when a customer visits your page – it is your chance to make a first impression representative of your business, your goals, and your intended customer interaction.
Be sure to choose an image that expresses who you are, something that is a visual representation or symbol of your brand. But take note – there are a few rules for what’s allowed in your photo. Your image cannot include price information, contact details, calls to action, or reference to Facebook actions such as “like”, “share”, or arrows directing viewers to those actions. The idea behind these restrictions is to ensure the cover photo is used to excite and engage customers without feeling like too much of an advertisement.
2) About Section
Your “About” section will appear below your cover photo and includes your profile image (standard as it has always been), your name, and shows your total number of fans and the number of mentions of your business page. Here you also have a chance to write a short, catchy description of your business, but here the word “short” is key; you only get 150 characters. Viewers can click through to a map and other basic information about your brand.
3) Custom Apps
Another big change with the new Facebook layout is related to your page's apps. Previously located on the left-hand side of the page, they are now located to the right of the About section, below the cover photo. These apps in their new home now come with the ability to upload a custom image to represent the page visually. There are 4 apps visible on the standard home page, one of which is the Photos, a constant, and then 3 apps of your choice. Additional apps are available by clicking the more link. To make the most of these pages, give them engaging and descriptive names and images.
4) Admin Panel
Also new with the format change is the addition of the Admin Panel. Now you can see a quick snapshot summary of activity right at the top of your timeline. Catch up on new likes, shares, and comments to keep up with your customers without missing a beat.
Alongside those summary details, the admin panel also displays an “Insights” section. This section gives you an overview of your recent activity including likes and shares, your geographic reach and other metrics.
Posting - what and how - hasn’t really changed. You should still be sure your posts are thoughtful, engaging, and relevant. There are, however, a few new features and ways to enhance what you post.
- Highlight: Now that your page has a Timeline, your posts appear in two columns, alternating on the left and right of the line. However, you have the option of highlighting a particular post, thereby making it spread across both columns. This is a great way to really make the post stand out.
- Pin to top: You now also have the option of pinning a post to the top of your timeline. This feature allows you to have a particular post appear at the top of your page for 7 days, so it won’t get buried. Use this for contests, events, or other limited-time posts to make sure they get seen!
- Milestones: Another great feature of posting on your timeline is the milestone marker. You can now create milestones along your timeline to point out important events in the history of your business. Mark important dates relevant to the growth of your brand such as founding, new locations, and other major company events, regardless of whether they occurred before the creation of your Facebook page or not. Take pride in the development of your business and show potential customers how far you’ve come and where you’re going!
Now that you’ve got a basic understanding of the new features and changes to Facebook business pages with Timeline, you’re ready to make the switch! Don’t get caught unawares – the mandatory format change deadline is coming up fast!
If you have questions, feel free to give one of us a call or email. And for even more details about some of these changes and features, check out this post on Techcrunch and Facebook's Timeline help center.
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