In case you haven’t noticed lately, Facebook has recently made some huge changes! Following the cue from Timeline for personal profiles, Facebook has now introduced Timeline for Fan Pages. At first, I was annoyed at Facebook because it meant that all the hard work I'd put into my client's Pages now had to be redone – I bet the same feeling swept over the crew at Liqui-Site Designs. But on closer inspection, I actually love these new changes! And that’s what I want to talk to you about today.
The first thing to note is that Pages will be forced to upgrade to Timeline on March 30th. The main thing you will notice with the new format is that there is no default landing page; Instead you're directed to a chronological timeline from top to bottom. Secondly, the first brand element you will see is the "cover photo", which is an 851 x 315 pixel banner. According to Facebook terms of service, this cover banner should not include:
• Calls to action
• Any pricing information
• References to like or share (such as previous landing pages where you could have arrows pointing to the like button)
• More text than imagery
Just underneath the main cover photo, the description of your page is displayed, followed by a tab for your photos, places map, applications and the rest of your custom apps. This is all in a horizontal banner. The great advantage of this is that when you click on a custom app you now have a full 810 pixels in width rather than previously, where you had 520 pixels. This is one of the great advantages of moving the left hand side bar to the horizontal top position. The benefit? There is now both more room for content and less distraction from a left-hand column.
Facebook has also added the ability to run ads that link directly to one of your apps rather than to the Timeline of your Fan Page. Not only that, you can “Like Gate” these apps, which means you can only allow content to be viewed by people who have liked your page. (This was possible in the previous version of Pages, but not without some serious FBML coding skills.)
Another feature that will benefit businesses and brands is that people can directly message you through your fan page. As a business, you cannot initiate contact with non-fans, but they can send you a message – even if they are not yet a fan! There is a “Message” button just underneath the main cover photo where Facebook users can choose to contact your business. This feature is sure to encourage more interaction with brands, and that’s the overall goal of this upgrade.
In addition, Facebook allows you to pin content to the top of your Timeline for 7 days so you can make certain content more prominent than others to your fans. Think “Pinterest within Facebook”.
Finally, think about Timeline as a way for customers, prospects and enthusiasts to visually see the evolution of your brand in one central location. Put in those terms, it’s pretty powerful! For example, you can see how a brand’s logo has evolved, how services have changes, and the story behind the brand and how that story changes.
Well there you have it: a quick run down of the different features and benefits of the new Facebook Timeline for brands and businesses. Personally, I’m a big fan, but feel free to comment and let us know what your experiences are with it.
Based in Australia, Douglas Lim is passionate about social media marketing & search engine optimization, and helping clients leverage the two. He blogs about different topics within these niches and has a passion for building online communities. Check out his blog at www.douglaslim.org