Facebook Timeline for Business and Pages: What You Need To Know

The Facebook Timeline for pages is finally here. If you’re resisting change, the upgrade happens on 30th March, 2012 for all pages so it makes sense to be prepared (or for the eager amongst us, as an admin you can preview then publish your new page). So what does this mean for businesses? What does Timeline mean for the Facebook applications you’ve installed or developed? Don’t worry – take a deep breath. Here’s our guide to Facebook Timeline for Businesses and Pages.

What is the Facebook Timeline?

Timeline is Facebook’s radical overhaul of the Facebook profile view. For individuals, it is an opportunity to tell people our life story in a chronological format, from birth to present day. For businesses, this is a fundamental shift to a more open, sharing culture. We must fast become masters of storytelling if we’re to convince people to Like us and stick around. The onus is now on you to create your compelling digital scrapbook.

There are a significant changes, implications and questions that you should be aware of before jumping straight in.

1. Facebook Timeline is your default landing page.

Whenever anybody visits you, they will always see the Timeline view and you cannot change this..

2. What will happen to all my apps, my photos, my Likes?

If you have a custom app that you have already developed, don’t worry: you can link people directly to a particular view or app from the boxes below your Cover Photo. These boxes will display your Photos, likes and apps. Photos will always be in the first box, but the remaining order is up to you. You can show a maximum number of 12 apps, so make sure you get your priorities correct. It’s worth thinking about the thumbnail of your app – perhaps design it to convey what the app is.

Facebook Timeline apps

3. What is a Cover Photo?

The cover photo is the huge image that sits on top of your page. For both personal and page Timelines, this is public and cannot be changed otherwise. While this gives you the opportunity to get creative to represent your brand, you cannot use this as a sales pitch or proposition. Facebook specifically states they must not contain:

  • 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”

Additionally, you’re not allowed to encourage people to use your cover photo on their own personal Timeline.

With formalities out of the way, you can get designing: your cover photo 850px x 315px

Facebook Timeline cover photo

4. And what about my Profile Picture?

It’s still relevant. It’s what people will see as you leave your digital footprint around Facebook. It’s probably a good idea to use your logo – for you designers, it needs to be square and at least 180px wide.

5. You can now message fans directly

This is sheer relief for the many businesses whose profile was used by customers to complain or ask. With Timeline that conversation can now take place in messages: worth noting though that you, as a Page, can only reply to messages that are sent to you.

6. Pinning. It’s all the rage

Destined to become popular Facebook lingo, you can now Pin posts to the top of your Timeline. Only admins can do this and you can only pin posts that you produce. If you pin a post, it will appear in the top left of your Timeline for 7 days, after which it will return to the date it was posted. You can also Star a post too. Starring is used when you want to highlight a particular post and make it bigger (to the width of your Timeline).

7. You have a new Admin panel

And at first use, it all seems very useful. From here, you can view notifications, respond to messages, view your Page insights and access your activity log. Your Activity Log is a tool that lets you review the history of your Page and allows you to change the settings of individual posts. Think of yourself as the curator. Activity Log is where you’ll curate! It’s in this panel too that you will now access the Edit menu (to make changes to Page settings).

Facebook Timeline admin panel

8. An opportunity to change your Facebook Page name

We’ve seen it happen a lot. Businesses that, in the infancy of Facebook chose an incorrect name or one that misrepresents their Page. Well, with the dawn of Facebook Timeline, you can now get in touch with Facebook to request that change. You’re welcome.

We’re keen to know what you think about Timeline and the impact this has on you and your business. Do you think it’s a change for the better? Are there any tips or tricks we’ve missed out?

Article by Tom Stables

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