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Facebook Timeline for Pages: A Last Minute Primer
March 29, 2012 | Posted By: Evan Young
Remember all of the hubbub a few years ago over the big switch to digital TV from the old analog signal? Well, the social media equivalent is happening this week to Facebook Pages.
On Friday, Team Zuckerberg will trick out every last Page in Facebookland with the much-ballyhooed Timeline format. Brands have had several weeks to get their Pages ready for the big switch and even publish their Timeline to get ahead of game.
If your brand hasn’t yet pushed Timeline live, it’s not alone. Several big names – McDonald’s and JCPenney to name a couple – seem to be waiting for this weekend’s mandatory transition instead of voluntarily switching over.
But if you haven’t given any thought to how your brand Page will look and act with Timeline up until now, it’s crunch time! Optimizing your Page for Timeline isn’t difficult (no need to shell out money for a converter box, for example) but is important nonetheless.
We want to make sure you don’t get caught with your social media pants down tomorrow, so here are five last-minute tips for getting your Page prepped for Timeline:
1. Take “cover.” Does your Page have a landing tab or welcome tab? Go take one last look at it, because after tomorrow you won’t need it. With Timeline, Facebook leaves behind absolutely no trace of the old tab experience. Visitors to your Page will automatically land on your Wall/Timeline by default, and for now there’s no way to change that, other than to post the URL of a particular app.
So how in the world do you make a solid first impression on new visitors – so much so that they click “Like” and stick around awhile – without a welcome tab? Answer: the cover photo. That 851 x 315-pixel space at the top of your Page is your opportunity to ensnare new Likes, so make it count. Capture the essence of your brand’s personality in the cover photo. Perhaps you incorporate a company tagline or slogan (like we did), or go for something totally random and fun, like Old Spice.
A couple of caveats, though. Facebook rules dictate that you must leave price or purchase information; contact info; calls-to-action and Facebook functionality references (e.g. “Like”, “Share”) out of your Page’s cover photo. So in other words, while it may serve a similar purpose as your old welcome tab, the cover photo cannot actually prompt visitors to Like or Share your Page.
2. Pare down that profile pic. Your old, banner-style profile picture just won’t cut it in Timeline, so scale it down to 180 x 180 pixels. It’ll migrate from the top left side of your Page to the bottom left corner of your cover photo.
3. Arrange those apps. Remember, all of the tabs on the left side of your Page that you’ve come to know and love will cease to exist. Your photo, video and custom apps will now display in rows of four below your cover photo. Only the first four apps display by default, but you can swap out which ones are featured in the first row with the exception of the photo app. Feel free to create custom images for your apps (111×74 pixels).
4. Map out some Milestones. When was your company founded? When did you open your first store? When did you start offering each of your products? Add Milestones to your Timeline to tell your company’s history in a super cool format. Simply click the “Milestone” button on the right side of the status post box, fill in the information and upload a photo (843 x 403 pixels is ideal) and click “Save.” Your milestone will display across both columns of the Timeline and will be visible to everyone. Hopefully your company doesn’t have any milestones before January 1, 1800, because that’s as far back as Timeline can go!
5. Get acquainted with the Admin Panel. All key info and links for admins is now located in a convenient, collapsible panel at the top of the Page. Check out your Page’s recent Likes, notification and messages. Quickly link to Page insights, the editor, ads, Help Center and other important sections.
Here are a few other new and notable Facebook Page features:
- Change your Page name: Before the Timeline era, you were out of luck if you wanted to change your Page’s name. Not anymore! In the Admin Panel, simply click Help>Request a name change for your Page.
- Fans can send you messages: This feature gives your users a private and more direct avenue to raise – and hopefully resolve – questions and concerns. However, messaging can be turned and off from the Manage Permissions section of the Page editor.
- Control post visibility: Timeline strengthens your role as moderator by letting you decide whether others’ posts publish automatically or upon admin approval. Toggle this setting from the Manage Permissions section of the Page editor.
- Pin and Highlight posts: Draw attention to an important post on your Timeline by Pinning or Highlighting it. Selecting “Pin to Top” from the dropdown menu at the top right of any post moves it to the top left of your Timeline for up to seven days. You can Pin only one post at a time.
Highlighting a post stretches it across both columns of your Timeline and is ideal for posts with media attached, such as a photo or video. Click the star button at the top right of the post you want to highlight.
Timeline is here to stay whether you like it or not. But while the new format certainly has its critics, a recent study revealed Pages that have already implemented Timeline saw a nearly 50-percent increase in engagement across the board. So whether you’re a Mom-and-Pop shop or a Fortune 500 corporation, it’s a good idea to embrace Timeline and make the most of it.
And remember, if your business is ever in need of social media strategy, fear not, we’re here to help.
Now get out there and make your Page awesome!
Written by Evan Young
Evan hails from Godfrey, Illinois and earned his degree from Northwest Missouri State. With an experienced background in Journalism, content strategy was his logical next step. At Integrity, Evan’s duties include brainstorming and editing in addition to being an all around wordsmith. He’s also helping clients find web solutions through strategic Project Management. Outside the office, Evan enjoys jogging in Forest Park, hanging out with friends and watching old movies.