Okay, by now you know that yesterday Timeline for Facebook Pages went live.  Currently it’s optional to ‘upgrade’, but all Pages will automatically be converted on 30 March 2012.  So what do you need to know?

Summary for the time-poor, cash-rich

  1. The Cover Image arrives
  2. Landing Pages are gone
  3. There are lots of customisable features
  4. Engagement has even more relevance
  5. Fans can send Pages messages

By the way, if you are time-poor, but you want to make sure your Timeline Facebook Page is up to scratch, then you should contact us…even if you’re not cash-rich!  😉

Let’s look at Timeline in more detail…

1. The Cover Image

The biggest change is the look of Facebook Pages is Timeline Cover Image, which comes in, while the old Photostrip goes out.   You probably spent hours selecting just the right image for your personal Facebook profile (you did, didn’t you?).  This image is just as important.

It takes up a mighty 810 x 315 space and is your chance to make a dramatic first impression:

 

2. Landing Pages Are Gone

The Cover Image is even more important, as Landing Pages are now history.  Any new visitor to your page will be greeted ‘above the fold’ by your Cover Image, Profile Image, ‘About’ info and App icons.

You can still run competitions using apps, but you can no longer use a call to action (eg ‘like us’ or ‘win a holiday’) in the first image that visitors to your page see, as in this old-style example.

NB – Calls to action are not allowed in your Cover Image – You’ll notice that neither of the Cover Images above include any calls to action, or even any text.  That’s because Facebook’s rules say that the Cover Image must not include any of the following:

– Price or purchase information, such as “40% off”.
– Website, email or postal address.
– Any invitations to ‘Like’ or ‘Share’
– Any other calls to action, such as “Tell your friends”.

3. Timeline Customisation

Although you can’t create a call to action, the new Timeline does give Page owners a lot more opportunity to customise the Page to create a strong first impression:

About – This section is now right at the top of your Page, above the fold, and is no longer truncated.  You have a greater opportunity to make a statement about your brand.

Apps – A maximum of four app icons can be displayed.  Photos will always appear first, but you can choose the order of other apps, or remove them from display.  You can also create a custom icon for any app – this is a great opportunity to enforce your branding, as Livestrong have done below:

Customised app icons have been blended with the cover image to create powerful branding

Pin To Top – While calls to action are banned, Pages now can ‘Pin’ (topical terminology for sure) updates to the top of their profile to make it more visible.  Posts can be pinned for seven days at a time.

Featured Posts – As in your personal Timeline, you can ‘feature’ a post by making it double width.  This works well for many images and videos, but you should be mindful that not all images look better spread across the page.

Milestones – Timeline allows you to create a backstory and narrative for your brand.  This requires curation, but have a look at some of these great examples for an indication of what Timeline allows you to do:

Tiffany & Co have used the Timeline to tell their company story

 

Dove have crowd-sourced fan comments to build their Timeline

4. Engagement Is More Visible

‘Friends Who Like This Page’ is now much more prominent, positioned at top of the Timeline.  Following this are comments made by a visitor’s friends about this brand.  They don’t have to have tagged the brand, just mentioned it.  That’s one step on from the ‘People Talking About This’ metric.

Recent ‘Posts by Others’ about your brand also appear, so engagement is significant.  Negative comments can appear, so moderation is essential (although admin does allow you remove this option).

Updates personalised to each visitor appear at the top of the Timeline

If you do look through the Timeline, any posts made by your friends mentioning the brand will appear at the time that they made it.  This means that in effect, every single Timeline is personalised to the user.

Updates about your brand by friends of a visitor will appear in their personalised Timeline

 

5. Fans Can Now Send Messages to Pages

We may see Facebook becoming more like Twitter as a customer service tool, now this functionality has been added.  What is certain is that it creates another inbox to be checked – Page owners should decide now who is going to handle your incoming Facebook messages.

There is an option to turn off messages in the admin section, but do you really want to stop your fans from being able to contact you?

Facebook is all about interaction and communicating with your fan base.  If you do keep messages on, you must commit to responding promptly and maintaining the trust you have built with your fans.

Admin options allow you to turn off Posts by others (1) and Messages (2)

 

When Is Timeline Starting?
Admins can preview their pages in Timeline now, and send them live when they are happy with it.  All Pages will move to the new format on 30 March 2012.

If you would like any assistance ensuring that your Facebook Page is fully compliant with best practice, then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

By Iain Martin