Facebook Pages Get Timeline
For any of you who manage a Facebook business page, you may have been greeted recently by a notification to preview or upgrade to the new Timeline version (You may already have Timeline for your personal Facebook profiles). I recently took the preview tour of the page. Here is a summary of the changes that are coming soon to all business pages. These changes will become mandatory on all pages starting March 30, 2012.
Your Cover Photo
Your cover photo is the first thing people will see when they visit your Page. It’s the large banner image. Facebook tells us to choose a unique photo and change it as often as you like. What’s interesting is that Facebook has explicitly spelled out some restrictions for what your Cover Photo can NOT contain, namely:
- Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”
- Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section
- References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features
- Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”
This means the obvious marketing is restricted to the Apps section (more on Apps below). Cover photos need to be at least 399 pixels wide. The visual size of the Cover Photo is 315px X 851px, but since the quality is reduced upon upload to Facebook, using a canvas of 1250px X 463 to design the cover photo works well.
All cover images are public, which means anyone visiting your Page will be able to see the image you choose. Facebook also notes that “Covers must not be false, deceptive or misleading, and must not infringe on third parties’ intellectual property. You may not encourage or incentivize people to upload your cover image to their personal timelines.”
Adjust your profile picture
“Your profile picture represents your Page on other parts of Facebook, like in news feed. Use your logo or another image that represents your Page. Choose an image that’s square and at least 180 pixels wide.”
This is a big change for those of us that have custom profile pics that are 600 pixels tall with lots of additional information like contact information.
Photos, Likes and Apps
Photos, likes and apps are now at the top of your Page. Photos show in the first spot, but you can change the order of everything else. You can show a maximum number of 12 apps, so make sure to put your most important ones first.
The width for Facebook App tabs has increased to 810 pixels wide, so you may find that you want to have any custom App tabs you may have adjusted so that they look better in the wider width.
In addition to framing the regular Facebook items that would appear in your feed in a timeline, the Timeline also lets you show the history of the business or brand. Take a look at the Tiffany Facebook page (which is a Brand page that uses Timeline) and you can see how they have really made the most of the Timeline feature by adding graphics that tell the story of the brand…..all the way back to 1837! Use the Timeline dates on the right side of the screen to navigate back in time.
Feature an Item in the Timeline
To feature an item in the Timeline, hover over a story and click on the star ( star icon ) to make it wider. Hover and click on the pencil ( pencil icon ) to pin it to the top of your Page, hide or delete it entirely.
The Admin Panel is at the top of the page and can be conveniently toggled from open to hidden. You can see and do all of the usual page administration here such as seeing notifications, seeing new Likes, and viewing page ‘Insights’ which show analytics for the page. Visit your activity log to review all your posts and activity.
New – Respond privately with messages!
Now people can contact you privately using messages. Notifications about new messages will appear in your admin panel.
These changes go into effect on March 20, 2012, so you should take time to preview (and publish if you want) your business’s page before then so you don’t find yourself with a missing cover photo and App tabs that need adjusting.