Following the introduction of the Facebook personal profile Timeline back in October, it was only a matter of time before these were rolled out to Facebook Business Pages too – and in the early hours of this morning, this became a reality.
This changes a great deal about your Facebook Business Page but there’s no need to panic – the new page designs don’t go live until 30th March 2012, although you can choose to publish yours before then if you wish to.
Pretty much the entire layout has changed – it won’t be to everyone’s taste immediately but I think it’s a decent improvement on what we had before.
Here are the five main things you need to know:
1) The most startling change is the new cover image. Gone is the small image in the top-left corner of the page, or the ‘skyscraper’ image running down the left-side. These have been replaced by a comparatively huge image at the very top of the screen, which you can customise with your business branding and other images. There’s some real scope to be creative here too as you also have use of a smaller image which overlaps the cover – this also acts as your thumbnail when you post comments and updates.
Be careful when designing this though, as according to Facebook’s terms and conditions your new cover image cannot include the following:
- Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”.
- Contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section.
- References to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features.
- Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”.
2) You can use the ‘Pin To Top’ button to highlight a favourite post as one of the main posts on your timeline. It’s simple too – just click on the upper right corner of your chosen post. It’s a great way to highlight a current offer to new and current fans landing on your page and it lasts for seven days only so it easy to stay on top of too. This feature is particularly welcome as Facebook have taken away their ‘landing tab’ feature, where previously you were able to choose which aspect of your Facebook page people could land on when visiting for the first time. You can now only send people directly to specific tabs using Facebook Ads, although the tabs are still manually accessible through the timeline.
3) You can now add ‘Milestones’ to your business page. For example this could highlight the day you opened for business, or a specific launch of a product or service. You can also add images relating to these milestones to make them really stand out and effectively record the ongoing history of your business in real-time online.
4) Audience engagement just went up a notch as fans of pages can now directly message businesses through the page itself – this used to be one of my main issues with Facebook business pages. It’s potentially a brilliant and effective call-to-action, as rather than picking up the phone or sending an email, there is now the opportunity to simply click on the ‘message’ button and send a direct message to the business immediately. Likewise, businesses can now directly message their fans in this way too – a very welcome feature.
5) The Admin section of the page has been completely redesigned, meaning that with the new ‘Admin Panel’, everything is in one place for page admins. This includes insights (to get an instant at-a-glance view of how your page is performing), new ‘likes’, notifications and also messages. Plus there is a handy ‘audience building’ tab included where you can easily invite email contacts or create an advert.
Due to the phasing-in of this change, there’s plenty of time to get used to the new features and to prepare yourself with the right images – if you need any advice on image sizes or structures then please do get in touch and I’ll be very happy to help.
Facebook have also implemented a very handy ‘preview’ feature where you can see what your new page will look like before it’s officially published as the timeline on 30th March 2012. This also means that if you’re happy with how your page looks and you’re ready to go, you can simply click the ‘Publish’ button, and you’re away!
What are your views on the timeline? Can you see additional benefits that I haven’t mentioned above? I’d love to know your thoughts – why not comment over on my Facebook page…. Thanks so much for reading 🙂