Timeline For Facebook Pages: What You Should Know
Timeline is the latest generation of design for Facebook profiles and now, Facebook pages. There's a bit of a mixed reaction, however, the reality is that Timeline will be mandatory for pages starting March 30th. As with any change, you either adapt or you twiddle your fingers and pretend like everything is all unicorns and rainbows.
Unfortunately, social media is not rainbows and unicorns, unless you count videos of Charlie the Unicorn and the double rainbow guy. Anyways, not to get off topic, but Timeline is something that all page owners need to understand, that way they can benefit from it.
In this post, we're going to dive into exactly that and the changes from the old design.
No Default Landing Tab
No longer can a non-fan land on your page and be taken to a default tab. This was especially great for teaser content and to get people to like your page. Now, page owners will need to work harder and smarter to facilitate likes.
While it should have always been a priority, awesome quality content is a must. People now, instead of seeing this graphic about free this or free that when they land on the page, will now immediately be seeing your content, among other things.
If your posts suck and/or are full of sales messages, kiss new likes goodbye. Focus on quality content and conversation. Also, utilize the little bit of space you have right below your picture. There's not a lot of space, few sentences max, but try to have a call to action for people to like your page.
Cover Photo AKA Big Ol' Header Image
The cover photo is pretty awesome because it allows you to show off your product, you, and so on. The exact dimensions are 850x315 and because of this, there's no longer support for a large profile picture with custom icons and graphics. Now, because of this large amount of space, it's quite easy to get wrapped up in making it a place to pitch a product or a special deal.
When non-fans land on your page, this will be the first thing they'll see. Ask yourself, "How can I properly convey my brand to people and could this potentially be a turn off?" Doing so will get you in the right mind frame and to create something that works effectively and isn't counterproductive.
UPDATE: Cassie Witt in the comments below shared that it's actually against Facebook's guidelines to have price or purchase information, contact information, references to "Like", "Share", or any Facebook features, or calls to action on your cover image. Can read the page guidelines here.
Tab Placement Different, But...
Before, any tabs or custom tabs were right below your picture. Now, they show up directly to the right of the small about section on your page.
With the previous design, all your tabs would be listed and clearly visible to fans. Unfortunately, that's not the case anymore as you get space for 3 tabs and then any other tabs besides that will only be visible when someone clicks the little down arrow. The good news is that as with the old design, you can rearrange the placement.
As you can see in the image above, there's very vivid images for each tab. A plus side is that you can add a custom graphic for each tab which helps bring attention to the tab. To do that, simply scroll over top of a tab, click the pencil icon, click "Edit Settings", and then click "Change" which will then open a new tab for you to upload an image.
To have the background of the image the same color as the space around it, you'll need to have the background of the image a specific color which, the HTML color code is #f2f3f8. If you're looking for some good icons, Icon Finder is a great place.
Because of the new and larger width from Timeline, tabs can now be up to 810 pixels wide. Great for HD video and larger graphics where you won't feel as constricted. The guys over at Lujure have created a Timeline App Builder which will make it super simple and easy to create a good looking tab under the new layout.
Fans Can Now Message You
This is a great feature and something that should have been allowed ages ago. For more pressing matters, people can shoot you a message instead of posting on the wall and makes you much more accessible in an environment they're comfortable with.
To actually receive messages, you first have to enable it under your admin settings. Once there, make sure you're on the tab that says "Manage Permissions" and the option will be right above the moderation blocklist. Check the box and make sure to click save changes.
New content layout
Lastly, you've got the content layout itself. If you're familiar with Timeline for personal profiles, it's pretty much the same thing. When you scroll over a post, you're presented with two options: One is a star which allows you to "highlight" a post which basically makes it stand out more and takes up the full width.
The other is a pencil icon which allows you to edit or remove a post.
Clicking "Pin to top" will make a post appear and stay at the top of your Timeline for up to a week. This is great for getting the right post in the eye of potentially new fans. Changing the date of a post is for organizing posts and choosing where and when they show up for fans in the Timeline. Add location is pretty self explanatory and is more designed for photos and/or videos.
Hide from page makes it so no one can see the post, which, can be both good or bad, good in the sense of having the right content on display for fans and new fans, and bad if you've posted some things you maybe shouldn't have :-)
All in all, Timeline is a nice change and those who adapt and learn how to best use it, will be the one's who benefit the most.
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