Just as businesses were mastering Facebook Pages, Facebook pulled out the rug from underneath them and changed the game plan.
On March 30th, Facebook launched the new Timeline for Pages and no business was immune to the changes.
The new platform is a stark difference from the previous, and learning the ropes may require a little effort. Below is a comprehensive summary that highlights the major changes and how you need to adjust your marketing to run a successful Facebook campaign:
The cover photo is one of the biggest changes to Pages. It is a large banner image that extends across the width of the page with a size of 851 x 315 px.
Though the cover photo should be a creative representation of your brand, Facebook prohibits owners from using it for advertising purposes.
According to Facebook, your cover image cannot show:
Some Page owners are pushing the limits and coming up with creative cover images that compel people to stay but do not overtly advertise:
Notice how Social Identities used its profile photo in the corner to compel potential fans to click “Like.” According to Facebook’s terms, you cannot use the cover image for this, but it does not specify anything about the profile photo. Social Identities may be pushing the envelope here, but it is clever nonetheless.
The profile photo sits in the left bottom corner of the cover image. It serves as your thumbnail image for status updates, sponsored stories, and ads. Facebook recommends a company logo for this space to further brand your Page. The profile photo is 180 x 180 px and it should be scalable to 32 x 32 px.
Update: As of April 26th, Facebook changed the size of the profile photo to appear as 160 x 160 px, the same size as the personal profile. Though the original size was 180 x 180 px, the image appeared as 125 x 125 px. Facebook still recommends uploading a 180 x 180 px image because it will automatically scale the photo. The changes will only affect those Page owners who incorporated the profile photo into the overall cover image design.
The tabs that were located under the profile picture in the old Facebook Page design are re-located to under the cover image along with “Photos” and “Likes”. The applications still function the same; however, their width has increased from 520 px to 760 px. Page owners can assign a custom thumbnail (111 x 74 px) to showcase the applications in a creative way or to draw attention to them.
Facebook allows 12 apps, but only displays four on the front page. Present your most important apps in the first three spots after Photos (you cannot move Photos). Users must click the small arrow to the right of the apps to see the others and chances are they will not do it.
The default welcome page was one of the top features of the original Business Page. Page owners could send non- fans to a page to coerce them to click “like” with compelling graphics and calls to action. With the new Timeline, Facebook removed the ability to set a default landing page for non-fans unless Page owners pay for advertisements.
How can you simulate the welcome page experience with the new Timeline?
The welcome page application is still very much active; it just cannot be used as a default landing page unless you use Facebook ads. Draw attention to your welcome page and other apps with text-based, eye-catching custom thumbnails that include a call to action.
Here is an example of a Page owner calling attention to its apps with clever thumbnail images that attract fans to click.
The Timeline is a step towards a more visual experience so the posting features have changed.
Here are the post options:
Enable direct messaging to talk to your fans privately. You cannot message fans but they can message you. This is a great customer service feature and also helpful when clients/customers cannot reach you outside of Facebook. Fans will be more comfortable talking to you privately instead of on your public Page.
The admin panel appears at the top of your Page and tracks all of your fans’ activity from one simple interface. Delete, star, or change the dates of your posts directly from the Activity Log.
This feature has not been rolled out yet; however, Facebook mentioned it at their latest conference. Page owners will be able to assign permissions to five different admin levels. This feature is helpful for Page owners who want others to manage their pages but do not want to give them access to every feature.
If you have a budget for Facebook advertising, you may be interested in the newest features for Pages.
Learning how to maximize your marketing strategies is crucial to maintaining success with the new Timeline.
Because Facebook has changed the way fans view our Pages, we must change the way we manage our Pages in order to be effective.
The Timeline is centered on visual content, whether via videos or photos. And since visual content scores high on Facebook’s list, these posts tend to show up more than text posts in fans’ newsfeeds.
For web designers who run Facebook Pages, this change can work in your favor because your business is centered on visual elements.
Here are some ways to emphasize more visual content:
The new “About Us” section is located in a prominent position where most fans will see it. Create a clever, creative description of your business in as few words as possible. Or use this space as a subtle call to action prompting fans to check out your website. Don’t forget to include your website address.
The important point to remember is that the new Timeline is oriented more towards visual elements. Focus on what will appeal to your fans visually to gain more interaction and consequently grow your brand.
What is your opinion of the new Timeline? Do you love it or hate it?