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Facebook

By Lowell Brown

10 Things Businesses Need to Know About the New Facebook Timeline

If you missed our webinar on Facebook’s Timeline for brand pages last week, fret not, friends! We’ve compiled everything we covered into this blog post so you can stay up-to-date with these exciting changes. Have further questions? Get in touch with @LowellBrown.

On February 29, 2012 Facebook announced a change for the Facebook Fan Page Platform. They have launched a new interface design and new marketing and communication features on a platform that looks much like regular Facebook Profiles. It’s called Timeline and it formally launched for all Facebook Business Pages on March 30, 2012.


1. Two Primary Photos: More Space for Visual Branding

With the new Timeline format, profile pictures are featured in the top, left-hand corner of the webpage. Cover photos must be at least 399 pixels wide, and when you share on update or comment on someone else’s content, this same photo appears as a 32 x 32 pixels image.

As before, your profile picture represents you across Facebook. Whenever you share an update or piece of content, this image appears beside what you’ve shared. On your brand page home page on Facebook, the profile picture sits just below your cover photo, which is why you need to consider how both the cover photo and profile picture work together to communicate your brand.

The cover photo is a banner that hovers over your Facebook page, and it should be 851 X 315 pixels.

As per Facebook’s terms and conditions, covers may not include:

  • price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “download to receive”
  • contact information such as web address, email, mailing address or any other information that should appear in your page’s “About” section
  • references to Facebook’s features or actions (such as “like” or “share,” or even an arrow pointing fro the cover photo to any of these features; or
  • calls to action, such as “get it now” or “tell your friends”

Example: Smirnoff

Example: Johnson’s

Example: Home Depot


Example: Ford Mustang


Example: Toronto Real Estate Guide


 

2. New “About” Section:  Share more About Your Brand

This new section appears just below your profile photo and provides you the opportunity to highlight the most relevant information about your business. The about us section appears on all pages and pulls content from your brand’s current “information” tab:

3. Page Views: Extend Your Marketing Reach

To the right of your “About” section there are boxes called “views and apps.” At any given time, four of these are featured, but you can choose which ones are seen when a user lands on your page.  By default settings, photos will appear in the first available space, since images are such a large part of Facebook. If you use more than four, a drop-down arrow will appear to access the apps and views that are not featured. You can also customize the image that appears for each view button.

 

Since the tabs are given more page real estate now make sure you use eye-catching graphics for those images.

4. Old Apps Need to be Updated

The new Timeline layout changes Facebook’s existing page tab configuration (including a tab’s 520-pixel width). Now you have the opportunity to use more viewable space, with a new 810-pixel layout. As a result, existing Page tab content will look centered in the middle of the 810-pixel layout without any adjustments. All applications that remain on a brand’s page will need new application icons (the new dimensions are 111×74).

You can feature a maximun of 12 apps at a time.

5. No Default Landing Page


With the new Timeline Page format, you no longer have the ability to set a default landing page which was common practice to drive traffic to promotions or key company information. The only way to drive traffic to a specific View or App is with a Facebook Ad.

6. Friend Activity: Connect with People

Brand pages now have a more personal feel because users can interact with (and message) brands in a more direct way.

Users will have a more personal experience when they see how their friends are engaging with you.

7. Control Content with Content Options

There are several ways you can hide or highlight stories on your timeline:

a) PINNING

Pinning a post to the top of your page ensures people won’t skip over your best content. Highlight what’s most important out of all the content you’re sharing. When you Pin a post it will stay at the top of your page for seven days and an orange flag will appear in the upper right-hand corner. To perform this action, click edit (pencil icon) in the upper right corner. Select “Pin to Top”

Note: Width: 403px, Height: 403px

b) MILESTONES

Creating a milestone allows you to hightlight important landmarks in time. For example, you may want to milestone a new store opening, a business’s anniversary, a colleague’s accomplishment or a major event for your brand.

Milestones have a flag icon and use up the entire width of the page. To add a milestone, from the top of the page, click the book icon. You can also add milestones in other types of stories by clicking on a specific date and clicking the “plus” symbol.

Note:  Width: 843 pixels, Height: 403 pixels

Example: Starbucks


c) STARRING A POST

Starring a post makes it appear wide-screen and visible to everyone who visits your page. To perform this action, hover over the content and click the star icon. You can revert a starred post to a normal one by clicking the star icon again. You can also star posts by others on your page to draw attention to customer comments or feedback.

d) EDITING POSTS

You can now edit posts after they were original posted. You can change information such as pictures, date, and other details. To chance the date of a post, highlight the content, click the pencil icon, click “change date” and choose “Hide from Page” or “Delete Post”

8. New Admin Panel

The timeline layout features a new admin panel which displays notifications, insights and other important information you need to respond to. From the Admin Page, you can also invite your email contacts, invite friends, share your page, and create an ad from the “Build Audience” drop-down menu.

9. Private Messages: Build more Personal Relationships

Users can now send a message to page administrators. This allows people who have found your page to have one-on-one conversations with you. Timeline’s new Activity Log allows you to help manage your messages with people, just like messages on personal Facebook accounts.

Brands also have the ability to send private massages to their users, allowing for much deeper consumer interaction. Private messages can include an attached file or picture or video.


10. Facebook Offers: A Hidden Gem-of-a-Capability

As of right now, only a few companies have access to Facebook Offers, but word-on-the-web is that they will be rolled out soon and available to all brand pages.

According to Facebook’s Offer Help section, they “expect to make offers available more broadly soon.” Facebook Offers are like daily deals on steroids. Here’s how they work: You update your Timeline with your deal and that post is sent through the newsfeeds of your fans. There are easy ways to share the Offer, both through the post itself and then when the Offer is claimed. Fans get the Offer by clicking the Get Offer link, see the terms and then click the blue “Claim Offer” button as shown.

Because Facebook has everyone’s email addresses already, they’re able to individually email your offer to the person who claimed it. Unfortunately, the page does not have access to information about those emails, but at least the function provides publicity for your deal.

Facebook Offers could be a huge win for small businesses offering things like a “free webinar” or consultants offering a “free 15-minute consultation.”

Thanks to everyone who tuned in to our webinar, and be sure to sign up here to receive the latest information about upcoming Going Social webinars.

Don’t forget, if you sign up for our webinar mailing list, you’ll be entered in a draw for a chance to win one of five social media books. Details here.

 

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