On 31st March 2012, Facebook will automatically change business pages to the new Facebook Timeline setting. This change will directly affect Facebook landing pages, the applications businesses use, and the way in which brands promote themselves on Facebook.
Timeline is a great tool for businesses looking to build connections and engagement with people, announce new products, share news, and gather feedback. This change will affect how businesses represent themselves on Facebook, prompting brand awareness through strong imagery and rich content.
How will this affect your business?
Businesses can now express their identity through the new cover photo. The cover photo is positioned at the top of the Facebook Timeline and will need to clearly articulate the core message of your company.
Strong photographs, sized for the space and higher than usual web resolution are an imperative in this space too.
There are some limitations to the cover photo, designed by Facebook to stop businesses using this space as advertising space:
- No promotions or advertising can be displayed in the cover photo.
- No price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”.
- No contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section.
- No references to user interface elements, such as ‘Like’ or ‘Share’, or any other Facebook site features.
- No calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your Friends”.
- The cover photo will be purely static with the like button just below the image.
Consideration to the apps also needs to be given, as this will directly affect the appearance of your brand on Facebook. Applications need to have a custom designed thumbnail, which clearly describe the app’s function.
Applications can be re-arranged and prioritised too, giving the business control over which apps users will engage with more regularly – ie which show in the top row where four different apps can be seen. The Photos app is always first and cannot be changed.
The Timeline enables you to highlight content on your wall in ways that weren’t possible previously, including “pinning” and “highlighting” as illustrated in the following image.
The highlighted content goes right across two columns, giving it greater emphasis and works particularly well with video clips.
Pinned content will stay at the top of your wall for seven days, or until you choose to pin something else.
This is a great way to ensure something important doesn’t get lost further down the wall and can also be used for promotions of various kinds.
You can also incorporate the history of your company into the page by using the Milestones feature. Content including images and text can be added for each significant date you choose to include, which can be seen by clicking on the timeline at the top right of the page, or as visitors continue to scroll down through the content on your wall.
Another significant benefit of the new rollout is that now finally, followers of your page can message you directly through the page. In the past this was only possible for personal accounts, which meant the only way for people to communicate with a brand on Facebook was via posting on the wall for all to see.
Now they can message your page admins directly, unless you choose to turn off this function, which can be done through the message settings below the cover page photograph.
The new administration area is at the top of the page above the cover photo and can be hidden by clicking on the hide button. Only page admins can see the majority of this section, which is also where your page notifications will show – the information about what activity is happening on the page. Any new messages to the page will also show up in the right hand site of the Admin panel.
To see the Facebook Insights, you need to click on “See all” in the insights section of the admin dashboard and it will bring up the analytics for your page.