On March 30th, all Facebook Business Pages will be upgraded to the “Timeline” format which was first introduced last year to replace the standard wall on personal profiles. This will result in some big changes to your brand page as well as some new functions that you should know about.
What are some of the major changes you will see and how does this affect how you use your page? Here we point out a few of the most important features and how you can adapt your page to use them effectively. We also recommend that whoever is responsible for your page take a few minutes to take Facebook’s interactive video course on how to use the new pages: http://www.learnfacebookpages.com/
New Photo Layout
Cover Photo: The first difference you will notice about the new layout is the cover photo, which has become the indisputable focal point of the page. The cover photo should be carefully selected and representative of your business, as this is what will make the visual impact on visitors. According to Facebook rules, you are not allowed to post any advertising content or calls to action here but you can utilize this large space to creatively present your brand (the maximum dimensions are 850 pixels by 315 pixels).
Profile Picture: Toward the bottom corner of the cover photo you will find the profile picture which is the image that represents your business across Facebook. This smaller picture, which will appear next to each post in the newsfeed, is 30 x 30 pixels and would be the best place to use your logo or another branding image.
For some inspiration on the design potential for the new cover photo layout, check out this slideshow of some really creative ideas people came up with.
Larger Pictures and More Control over Posts
Another significant change is that posts appear larger on the page, so if you post a photo, video or image, it is much more prominent than it used to be. This makes images even more valuable due to the eye-catching nature of their presentation.
Additionally, Facebook now allows you to highlight a story by starring it, which expands the post across the entire width of the page or to pin a story to the top of your Timeline for up to one week. You can also change the date of a post to determine where it will fall on your timeline. These new controls give you more autonomy over the information on your page and allow you to determine the content you want to stand out to visitors.
Another new feature that is worthwhile to take advantage of is the creation of Milestones, which gives you the opportunity to share your story. You can include old photos of your optometry school graduation, news clippings, or a photo of you in your first exam chair to give visitors a better understanding of what you are all about when they get to your page. This is an opportunity to add more personality and visual appeal to your Timeline, which makes your page more engaging for visitors.
Any Tabs that you had on your previous page are now moved to an applications section running under the cover photo. At any given time, visitors can see a photos application as well as three other apps that you are able to select. The remainder of your tabs can be viewed through a pull down menu. If you had a welcome tab with a call to action on your page, this is where you will now be able to find it. There is room to play around here to maximize this section including selecting photos and renaming tabs to include calls to action and other eye-catching strategies. You can find more details on how to do this in the following article from Social Media Examiner.
As more and more brand pages move to the Timeline layout, we will continue to see how this new format can be optimized to maximize outreach and branding for the small business. We will keep you updated! In the meantime, play around with it – we would love to hear your thoughts.