Facebook Timeline Changes: Are you Ready?
On the 30th of March all business Facebook pages will change to the new Timeline layout. Whether you are ready or not!
There are several changes that Facebook is making. Below is a list of the key ones that you should consider.
Changes to Appearance
There are two key changes that are immediately visible on the new Timeline layout.
1. There is a new banner that runs along the top of your Facebook page. This is the first thing that Users will see when they come to your Facebook page so it has to make an impact. Similarly, it should not be left up for long periods of time; you will need to rotate it. For this reason we would recommend having at least three properly designed, high quality banners that you can rotate through the top of your page over the course of a year. No matter how much you post, your page will start to look stale if this image is not changed regularly.
2. There is the new Timeline on the right hand side of the page. The new Timeline allows you to tell your business story in a clarity that was previously not possible. It will be able to reference milestones for your company from dates preceding the creation of your Facebook page or even Facebook itself. This allows you to retrospectively manage your companies’ history on Facebook with text, images and video.
No More Default Landing Pages
The landing page (or welcome page) was a way to control a User’s first impression of your page. You could set the default landing page to a high quality graphic that encouraged User’s to Like your page. Landing pages were often ‘gated’ so that when you Liked a page it gained you access to ‘Fan’ only content which was exclusive (competition, newsletter sign up etc..).
All of these functions still exist and there are many ways in which you could encourage Users to ‘land’ on these pages (a plain old link from your website) but the option to set a default is no more. Anyone looking for your businesses Facebook page through Facebook itself, or through a search engine, will be bought to your Facebook page featuring a Timeline.
Width of Page Tabs & Icons
Facebook Page Tabs (also referred to as Facebook App Content) used to be 520 pixel’s wide. In the new Timeline format they are 810 pixels wide. Any existing Tabbed content on your page at the switch will be centred in the middle of an 810 pixel wide page in the new Timeline format. The icon’s that represent your tabbed content have also changed and are no longer a tiny graphic. Now the icons that represent your tabbed content measure 111 x 74 pixels.
Neither of these changes is a disaster, nor do you need to go rushing to change all your Page Tabs. However the icons will need to be changed and particular attention will need to be paid to the two icons which appear ‘above the fold’ on your new Timeline Page. These two icons will be highly visible and will need to be styled appropriately. You will also have to carefully consider which of your Page Tab icons you wish to place ‘above the fold’ as they will become the most popular.
The Ability to ‘Pin’ posts to the top of your timeline
This is a great new function from Facebook and is going to be a primary marketing tool in the new Timeline format. With this function you’ll be able to pin a post on your Timeline to the top of your Facebook page for 7 days. Whatever you wish to push towards users can be left here be it a competition, special business news, special offers or a recommendation that Users visit a ‘gated’ page.
Private Messaging between Business and User
With the new Timeline format comes the ability to privately message Users under certain circumstances. This will stop the potential for your timeline becoming cluttered with customer enquiries and allow businesses to deliver far improved customer service privately through Facebook.