Facebook pages: 7 things you need to know about timeline
21/03/2012 | Matthew Robins
On 30 March 2012 your business’s Facebook page will change to the new “Timeline” style. That’s if you haven’t already made the changes you want to see to take advantage of the new layout. Time’s running out to prepare for the changes, and to adapt your Facebook business strategy to take full advantage.
Here are the most important ways in which changes to your Page will have an impact.
1. Cover Photo and Profile Image
You will now have one large image to showcase your Page and therefore your business. This is the first thing people will see when they visit your Page. The maximum cover photo dimensions are 851 x 315 pixels.
The biggest change will be that you can no longer have any ‘calls to action’ on your cover photo, such as:
- Price or purchase information e.g. “40% off”
- Contact information eg website address, e-mail address
- References to Facebook features or actions such as “Like” or “Share”
- Calls to action such as “Buy today” or “Share with your friends”
The profile picture size has changed. It’s best to use a 180 x 180 pixel picture which will be reduced in size automatically to show next to your posts on Newsfeeds, ads and featured stories as a 32 x 32 pixel thumbnail image.
2. ‘About’ Section
The About section is located below the cover photo and profile picture. It will enable someone to see a short, preferably punchy description of the brand or business, together with basic information and contact information.
3. Your Posts – Larger, Highlighted & Pinned
Larger posts using photo, video and links will make your content more engaging. You will be able to highlight important stories using the star icon and at the same time hide or delete posts that aren’t so good. Highlighted posts will span the full width of the Timeline. You will also be able to “pin” your most important story to the top of your Timeline for up to a week.
4. Setting Company Milestones
Using Milestones you can tell people about important events in the history of your business. Click on the line that runs down the middle of your Timeline and select Milestone – then just fill out the information as required. The more visually engaging you make your Timeline, the better. Dimensions for Milestone photos are 843 x 403 pixels.
5. Friend Activity
People will be able to see stories about how their friends are interacting with your page - a great way to extend your Facebook reach.
6. Management Tools
Admin Panel – This appears at the top of all of the pages you manage. The panel provides you with an instant overview of recent notifications, ‘Likes’ and messages. You can also see the reach of your Page and how many people have created a story about your Page within a given period of time.
Manage – The manage function enables you to edit your Page and see your Page’s activity. With the activity log you can see your posts by year, filter stories by type and highlight, hide or delete stories.
Build Audience – “Build audience” is the door to all the ways Facebook can allow you to grow awareness and engagement with Facebook users. From here you can invite friends, share your Page and create ads.
Help – Speaks for itself!
7. New Apps
Apps have been moved from the left hand side navigation to the right side of the ‘About’ section. There are four App tiles permanently visible and the first is permanently occupied by Photos. The rest can include Likes, Events, Map and your Page’s custom apps.
You can add more than four apps, but any above four need to be found by the Facebook user by clicking the down arrow. It’s therefore recommended to put the apps most crucial to your business “above the fold.”
Previously Pages could set a default landing tab that would be seen instead of the wall by anyone visiting a Page who had not “liked” it previously. This is no longer allowed.
Instead, users always see the main Timeline view and have to actively click through to custom apps. This means that custom apps for your competitions, games, promotions, coupons etc might be less successful in future at engaging users who find their way to your Page.
How do I activate my Timeline?
To activate your Timeline, visit the ‘Timeline for Pages Preview Manager’ link and select to add Timeline to your Pages.
You will be able to plan and prepare your new Timeline Profile until 30 March, then the change goes live for everyone.