When we first caught a glimpse of Facebook’s Timeline layout for business pages, we were immediately excited about the new opportunities this layout would bring for brands and businesses of all sizes. While there are some big changes in terms of functionality, there is no reason to worry. Be one of the first businesses to embrace Timeline by becoming familiar with new features and how best to leverage them for success.
The Cover Photo
Previously, profile photos were a standard 180×540 and while they have now become smaller, they are supported by a much stronger visual area (851×315) designated to the cover photo. The fun part about this new layout is that the images overlap so there’s the possibility to create some seriously fun and creative designs that flow from one photo to the other.
Facebook has made it clear that there are some serious restrictions when it comes to cover photos so be sure you’re not in violation of any terms before you get too attached to a certain concept or idea. Use this space to promote who you are and what you do. Keep in mind this image is public and as a business using Timeline, you no longer have the option to send new visitors to a unique tab to share information. When new users visit your page, this cover photo is the first thing they’ll see so make it count!
Cover photos must be at least 399 pixels wide and may not contain:
-Price or purchase information such as “50% off sale” or “download this on our website”
-Contact information such as web address, email, mailing address or other information that is intended for your page’s about section
-References to user interface elements such as the “Like” button or any other Facebook site feature
-Calls to action such as “tell your friends” or “get this giveaway now”
Views and Apps
All the tabs that once appeared on the left hand side of your brand page under your profile photo now have a new home. Each tab is also accompanied by a featured photo allowing for further customization. This is the area where all your custom tabs have been dropped and before you go live with Timeline, you’ll need to sort through your options and decide which you want to feature and if there are any that need to be added or removed. Is that custom landing page still something you want to have available for visitors to see? What do you want to feature that you can’t include on your cover photo? These are a few of the questions you’ll need to ask yourself before you know how to move forward.
Pinned, Highlighted and Hidden Posts
If you post something important that you want visitors to see first and foremost, you can use the pinned posts function to “pin” this update at the very top of your Timeline for up to seven days. This feature can come in real handy for event listings or time sensitive material!
As a business, you can highlight important stories so they are featured on your Timeline and in the same respect, you can hide less important or less-engaging posts from visitors. Often times dull or stagnant posts can take away from the overall vibe of a page so don’t be afraid to hide certain content to improve the overall feel.
Gone are the days when all posts look identical. A new feature allows you to make posts on your Timeline look larger than the typical size. Enlarging posts can be very beneficial when bright visuals are involved or when you really want to make something stand out. Keep in mind that it’s important to use this feature wisely! A timeline full of larger posts will be annoying to navigate and unpleasing to view so be sure to choose wisely when it comes to which posts deserve to be made larger.
Since Facebook’s new layout is designed to resemble a literal timeline, milestones play an key role in highlighting important events and accomplishments throughout the life cycle of a business. Some businesses that have been around for a long time finally have an ability to boast about their rich history and share it with visitors. Highlighting when your business started, when you got your first office, your first employee, won your first award etc is a great way to show people how far you’ve come. In the same respect, let’s keep in mind that sometimes less is more. Find a balance when it comes to creating milestones and know what is best left as a milestone celebrated in your own mind.
Your visitors may be customers or potential customers so offering them the ability to contact you directly without leaving your business page is essential. This is the first time brands will be able to speak directly and privately to their networks on Facebook and it’s sure to have a positive effect on their customer service. Be sure to keep an eye on your private messages. It may be an excellent new feature but if messages are being ignored, it can just as quickly turn into a burden or a catalyst for negative feedback.