Relax! You have plenty of time to get comfortable with the new timeline layout and add content between now and March 30.
So here’s a comprehensive guide to all the new features that timeline for pages offers your brand.
The Cover Photo
This feature is already well known among the Facebook community, which sees a growing number of profiles in timeline format.
Now brands can use their own cover photos at the very top of their timeline to show a new, striking visual layer to their offerings the moment a fan lands on the page.
So, is the cover photo the death of the so-called fan gate?
Yes and no. You can still put a fan gate on applications and content, but not on the cover image.
So everyone who lands on your page sees the same thing, fan and non-fan alike.
The cover image everyone sees can’t include any calls to action.
To customizing your cover photo, crop a branded image to 851 by 315 pixels. For more detailed measurements of all the different image slots on timeline, check out this story.
Take into account your now much smaller traditional profile picture and how this plays into your new cover photo.
We’ve seen a lot of creative examples of cover photos over the last few months, so the opportunities are endless. Think outside of the box and make use of this worthwhile feature.
A Smaller Profile Picture
The height of the profile picture has drastically changed, therefore it’s time to change your photo as soon as possible to reflect the new format.
The appropriate dimensions for a profile photo are now 180 by 180.
Try using just your logo or another image that quickly summarizes your brand.
The about section has long been a part of your Facebook page, but now it’s more predominately featured at the top of your timeline.
It’s important that you update this section of your timeline, depending on the which of the two versions of the about section applies to your timeline.
- Local businesses: If your timeline is associated with a physical location, then it will look like the first image on the right. This lists the subcategory, address, telephone number and hours of operation. Fill out any of the missing information by clicking on this area.
- No physical location: If your timeline features a brand without a single physical location, then it will look the second image on the right. The section lets you add a description of up to to 255 characters. It’s important to be extremely clear and concise, giving first time visitors a clear understanding of what your timeline is all about.
The applications you previously had as tabs on the left hand side of your page will now appear as boxes beneath your cover image.
Just like the timeline for profiles, you can choose what order to put the boxes in. We suggest your arrange them based on importance.
If you have more than three or four applications, users can access them by clicking on the drop down arrow to the right of the boxes. It’s unlikely these hidden applications will receive the same amount of visibility because there’s another click required to view them. Therefore, be selective when choosing what to highlight in your application banner.
This is where your old fan gate or landing page application will now live, making it obsolete as a way of converting new visitors into fans because it won’t be the first thing that’s seen when you land on a timeline. There’s no longer an option in the admin settings to select a landing page, your timeline is your permanent landing page. The cover photo will have to serve as somewhat of a fan gate to the extent that the site’s rules allow.
You can still put a real fan gate on your other applications and content. Encourage users like your timeline before they can access the sought apps or content. We highly recommend this.
Messages From Fans
Fans now have the ability to privately message a brand’s timeline through the new button located between the bottom right of the cover image and the application boxes.
To enable private messaging, go to the admin panel, then click manage, select edit page and then choose manage permissions.
We recommend that you activate private messages. If you keep it activated, fans can report issues privately, including customer service concerns about your products or services. This provides an ideal way to handle any negative feedback.
A reason to turn off this feature would be if it become burdensome to check yet another place for customer feedback. By keeping this feature off, you could limit where customers reach out to just your wall. We
Recent Posts by Others
Timeline now features a section at the top right that highlights a list of recent postings from fans.
We recommend you leave this visible to help show engagement across your timeline, but some people might find it confusing or overwhelming and that would merit hiding the box.
You can do this in the same area where you control page and post visibility on the permissions page. To get there click the manage button, then select edit page, followed by manage permissions in the right-hand column. In the large blue window, the area labeled “post visibility” includes box you can uncheck if you don’t want to see recent posts by others.
This is a similar feature that currently exists on Facebook timeline for profiles, but it now allows a company to approve contentbefore it goes live on the timeline.
Turn on this approval under manage permissions simply to have greater control of what is shown front and center on your timeline.
The activity log for your timeline is basically a list of every post or activity involving your page in the past. You’ll see stories of photos, tags and more involving your timeline.
You can edit the content to be highlighted on your timeline, changed the date, delete it and more depending on what you would to change this piece of past content, as seen below.
New Admin Panel
Your timeline notifications, insights, timeline settings and private message inbox are all now available in one interface known as the admin panel located at the top of your timeline, obviously only visible to admins.
This new dashboard gives you a quick oversight over the four areas of administrating a Facebook Timeline and allows you to dive deeper into each section from here as well by clicking see all on the desired section.
Here you can also invite your Facebook friends and email contacts to join your timeline’s audience, as well as begin buying an ad, and use Facebook as your page from here as well.
One of the most interesting aspects of timeline for brands is the ability to go back and add past events related to the history of your organization.
Adding these past events helps create a concise story-line for your brand, while really making use of the timeline interface to it’s fullest. Simply go to where you would normally post an update to begin posting pass milestones.
This area will first require you to post a milestone about when your organization was founded. After you do that, then you can create other milestones.
Pin Your Posts
Brands can now choose to pin particular posts to the top of their pages for up to seven days. This makes it easier to highlight important, newsworthy topics to the top of your timeline for longer promotion and visibility.
Go to a piece of content on your page, click edit and then choose “pin to top” to have this piece of content featured.
Readers, please share with us in the comments section your experiences with timeline pages you administer and the ones you visit.
Brian Honigman is the social media account manager at LunaMetrics.