Facebook Timeline For Pages: What Changed?

Fact: “The Times They Are A-Changing” has been the most overused headline in the past 24 hours on marketing and social media blogs.

Whether you’re a fan of Facebook’s recent release of the timeline or not, it’s here to stay (and by “stay” I mean until Facebook changes the layout in another six months). Yesterday, Facebook released the timeline layout for business pages. While the change doesn’t necessitate a complete overhaul of Facebook strategy, the new layout and page structure presents a few new opportunities and a few challenges for Facebook marketers. Let’s get to it.

Goodbye and Good Riddance to 520px!
Gone are the days of mashing up content and creative into a 520 pixel wide column. Facebook’s change to a 810 pixel wide canvas for custom apps will keep more content “above the fold” and give designers more opportunity to develop their brands and campaigns. At the moment, the custom app layout doesn’t feature sidebar navigation and ads, making the space incredibly valuable to drive engagement and click through.

Everyone Gets a Cover Shot
The cover photo is the first thing people will see when they come to the page. Basically think of it as an outdoor board for the top of your page. The 851 pixel wide image presents an opportunity for businesses to set the tone of their page. Just be careful, Facebook has added some restrictions, and cover images cannot include:

  • Price or purchase information, such as “50% off” or “Buy it on our website”
  • Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your page’s “About” section
  • References to user interface elements, such as “Like” or “Share,” or any other Facebook site features
  • Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”

Start Pinning
Nope, not talking about Pinterest. Facebook now allows page admins to pin a post to the top of the page, highlighting the most engaging content for the week. Other new timeline features for business pages are highlighted content and milestones. Highlighted content will span both columns on the timeline and milestones can be added to help tell the story behind the brand/business. There is also an option to hide or delete posts entirely from the timeline.

Off The Record
Private messaging is a huge step forward for pages. Being able to receive private messages from fans and respond effectively in a private setting goes a long ways in engaging fans and addressing issues. Diffusing difficult situations in a private setting can be good and bad; transparency is incredibly important. Also, don’t forget that a simple thank you through a private message can go a long way creative brand ambassadors.

Not So Welcoming
Default landing tabs are a thing of the past. By default, all users will now land on the timeline/wall when they visit your page for the first time. With the new layout this isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it just makes the design, development and promotion of custom apps and campaigns all the more important. The timeline allows admins to highlight three tabs underneath the cover image with a 111×74 pixel image. The drop down allows up to 12 apps; make the most out of this space.

Check out Facebook’s introduction to the new Facebook pages and see some great example of its use.

Personally, I’m excited about the introduction of the timeline for business pages and how we, as marketers, can creatively utilize the layout to the advantage of our clients. The opportunities without a doubt outweigh the challenges we face as Facebook marketers.

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