By March 30th all Facebook pages will change from the standard wall, or app view, to Timeline. If you have a personal profile you will be familiar with the Timeline view – a large picture, an embedded profile picture, then four columns. Timeline also allows users to see your posts right to the beginning of your account, unless of course, you delete.
Timeline format is moving to business and organization pages, and as these affect brands, it is important to learn the new features, and set the apps, profile pictures and information to the best advantage. One major note, apps that previously provided entrance pages will no longer work. All users, new and subscribed will be directed to the wall, so it is vital to get it right.
While you can set your page right now to the Timeline format – those instructions will appear when you access the administration area – it might be worth playing with some settings first, and look at other pages for ideas, before submitting.
When you access the new Facebook page format, the first obvious change is the administration panel at the top. Now, don’t worry, your viewers don’t see this, only people assigned as page administrators.
The tab right at the top right – Manage, Build Audience, Help and Hide – will lead to page and account management (settings), Facebook’s advertising program (which is the essential reason for the Timeline roll out), a help section – which is actually quite useful, and the hide button which will collapse the Admin. panel window.
Below that, you will see a box with notifications – comments, posts by others etc., a section for messages, one for new likes, and a box which provides a summary of Facebook Insights, their version of Analytics.
This is the major design change to Timeline, and one that requires attention. Viewers will see a large photo at the top of the page, with the profile logo embedded at the bottom left. Getting these right will greatly assist retention.
The cover photo/graphic is best at 851 X 315 pixels, with the profile logo at 180 X 180 pixels. In terms of design, there is no right or wrong answer, except that both should be consistent with all your related marketing, especially the profile logo, and the cover photo should be compelling and tell a story. Facebook does have restrictions and guidelines for cover photos – No price or purchasing information, Contact information should be included in the about section and not on the cover graphic, and importantly – no calls to action such as ‘Share’ or ‘Like’
Below the cover photo and profile logo, you should adjust the ‘About’ section – go to admin section under manage/edit page/basic information/About. The text you enter and save in that tab will appear under the cover photo to the left. Next to that are the apps. You can have 12 apps ordered as you wish, with the top 4 appearing on the page. Note, the Photos App is required. Apps can now be customized (profile graphic and information) so it is worth taking some time to maximize potential. These custom tab images are best at 111 X 74 pixels.
The actual Timeline will be similar to personal profiles, however you can ‘pin’ posts to highlight apps, blogs, offers or events. Those will remain at the top for 7 days, but is a good method to feature ‘push’ content.
Facebook is the number one social media platform with 850 million users, but is facing (pun intended) competition from Pinterest, Google Plus and Twitter. While G+ is not gaining the traction pundits were heralding a few months ago, Pinterest is, and each platform has one design theme in common – it’s all about visuals. The systems are designed to highlight visuals vs text, which might end up being a detriment to actual engagement.
as always, your thoughts and ideas are welcome. Your comments are welcome…