March 12, 2012
If you have a Facebook Page for your business then you have likely noticed the announcements (some might call them warnings) that keep popping up saying that all Facebook Pages will go to the new Timeline format starting March 30th. Regardless of your thoughts on Timeline, the good news is that Facebook is letting business admins play with their Pages between now and then without actually publishing them so that you can get your new Timeline format looking like you want it to before going live. Here are some tips as you start playing around…
Before you start fiddling with your own business Page, you can take a tour of the new Timeline format. Simply login to your Facebook account and go to your business Page. At the top of the screen you will see this flag with the words “Coming Soon: New Facebook Pages.” Click on the “Learn More” button to get an overview of the new Timeline format or click on “Preview” to see what your Page would look like on March 30th if you didn’t do anything to it.
Some things you should consider changing:
Add a Cover Photo: You can now choose a cover photo (essentially a large banner image) for your page that will be shown at the top of your Page so you want to pick something that will be inline with the brand you’re working to build. Your cover photo needs to be 851 x 315 pixels. Don’t worry if the image you want to use is bigger than that – Facebook will let you choose which 851 x 315 segment you want to use. Facebook does have some rules about what is allowed and not allowed for cover photos but the good news is that you can change up your cover photo time and time again. The blog Social @ Blogger Tracking had some fun examples of ways companies are using their cover photo in creative ways.
Set Up Your Profile Picture: This is the image that will run with any of your updates and will also now appear in sponsored stories or ads that you buy. Chances are you’ll want to put your logo here but make sure that it looks good in both the 180 x 180 pixel size and at 32 x 32 pixels too.
Like The Look Of Your Apps? In timeline your apps – things like “likes” and “photos” now appear at the top of the page. You can reorder the way you want these to appear through the Admin Page tools.
Some New Features To Know About:
- Messages: Timeline now allows you to receive messages directly to you via your Facebook Business Page. This is a great way to enable customers, friends, and even critics to get in touch with you ASAP. What is unknown right now is how spammy this may get but in the short-term it’s a great opportunity to connect one-on-one with people without requiring them to find your email address to email you.
- Starring: You can now star posts in your timeline that you think are important to highlight them. It appears that only posts that you put directly into Facebook can be starred which means that anything that automatically feeds into Facebook – like a wordpress blog post – can’t be starred.
- Deleting: Hallaluhia! Now you can delete posts by using the pencil icon for things that you no longer want displayed or for those posts by others that you don’t think are appropriate (cough cough…spam!). In the admin panel you can also change the requirements so that every comment by someone other than you isn’t posted on your Page until you approve it.
- Pin The Most Important Stuff: With Timeline you can ‘pin’ items or stories that are most important and they will stay at the top of your TImeline feed for seven days. This means that any updates you make will fall under any pinned items so that the most important information always stays at the top. This could be mighty useful if you’re running a sale or have a message you want to get out to people quickly and don’t want it to get lost. Once again though, it seems like you can only pin posts that you’ve put directly into Facebook and can’t pin anything that you had automatically feed into it.
- Admin Panel: Now you can see all of your stats, insights, and make any changes to your page directly from the Admin panel. Obviously, only page Admins have access to this page.
I recently changed up Small Food Business’ Facebook page so you can check that out if you want to see what the new Timeline feature looks like and what it could mean for your Business Page. I will say that if you have a Business Page I wouldn’t wait until March 30th to check out the new features. It took me several days of playing around until I felt comfortable with the new format and understanding what my options are (and aren’t!) with these changes.