New Facebook Timelines for Pages: What it Means for You

Posted on March 2nd, 2012 by True Media

Earlier this week Facebook announced that Timeline will now be available for Pages. Most brands with Facebook pages are now scrambling to figure out how the changes associated with the new “Timeline for Brands” layout will affect them.  Korrie Moscato, our new social media associate, has all the answers for you. Here’s her take on the biggest change to Facebook brand pages we’ve seen yet.
I know we were all just getting used to the old format and thought we had everything figured out, but believe me when I say these changes are for the better.  All the new features allow you to create a better brand experience for your fans by letting you brand your company better, create an in-depth history of your company, and engage your fans by taking creative content front and center.  Facebook has used this new platform to encourage companies to interact more with their fans by creating conversations and make the focus on developing relationships “beyond the like.”  While this platform may take more time and effort it’ll be worth it in the end because engaged consumers are more likely to use a product or service and develop loyalty to that brand. And as we know, engagement is what social media is all about.
Some of the new features:
Cover photo
The cover photo will be 850×315 pixels and really allows companies to catch a user’s attention and relay a great brand image to the audience.  Facebook is setting some limitations to the cover photo; it cannot include price or purchase info, contact info, calls to action or references to Facebook features such as the “like” or “share” buttons. Be sure you are all up to date on the do’s and don’ts of this new feature here.
an example of a new facebook cover photoTimeline
The timeline will allow companies to “go back in time” to when they were founded and fill in any important milestones in the company’s history.  This allows fans to get a feeling for the brand; where it’s been and where it’s going.  This feature is especially useful to companies who have been around a long time and have an extensive history, but younger companies can use this to promote certain product launches and other milestones as well. But the nostalgia adds a new layer; it’s cool to see old black and white photos on Facebook when it’s traditionally been a medium for all things new.  They have also enabled a feature that will allow you to pin one important post to the top of your timeline so it the first thing your fans see when the scroll down your page and you can have that post pinned there for up to seven days.
an example of facebook's new milestone featurean example of facebook's new milestone featurean example of facebook's new founding feature

Admin panel
A new admin panel, which will appear at the top of the page and is visible only to administrators, will help keep all top level analytics directly in front of you when you land on your page.  The panel will show you your recent likes, fan activity, page insights, and your message inbox (another new feature which will allow fans to send you a direct message). The new messaging feature partially solves the frustration of many page admins who can’t directly communicate with their followers because traditionally there have been strict barriers to communication between brands and users. A brand still can’t reach out to a user unless the user initiates the conversation. Facebook decided to enable this new messaging feature to facilitate better dialogue in terms of customer service.
How do these changes affect your social strategy?
There are a few changes on the new format that may require companies to adjust their current social media campaigns and most of these changes affect custom tab applications.   In the new layout applications have been moved to the right side of the page directly beneath the cover photo.  One of the downsides is that there are fewer applications shown above the “see more option,” but on the plus side Facebook has increased the thumbnail size to 110×74 pixels.  The old size thumbnail will still work, you’re just missing out on valuable Facebook real estate with which to brand yourself.
an example of facebook's new application location
When you click on an application it now opens to a new page on Facebook. There will then be a link back to your main page and a drop down menu with the rest of your applications on the top right.  The size of the application has also increased from 520 pixels wide to 850 pixels.
an example of facebook's new applications
No more gated landing tabs
The biggest change with the new layout is that Facebook has gotten rid of landing tabs.  Landing tabs are apps that would be the first thing consumers would see when they went to your page.  The apps themselves still work they will just no longer be able to make them landing tabs. Your Timeline is now your default landing tab. Facebook suggests that you make post about a particular app and pin it to the top of your page in order to drive traffic to that application.
Are you ready to opt-in?
Right now you can opt in to switch your page, but you don’t have to just yet. You have 4 weeks to add content, find that perfect cover picture, and by March 31st (when Facebook automatically switches all pages to the new format) you’ll be ready to go with your beautiful new Facebook Timeline Branded Page.
So get started thinking about how you are going to utilize all that brand new Facebook real estate. And remember Facebook is all about creating connections and the best way to do that is to be creating content that is engaging and we’ll keep you posted on any other changes by Facebook.