If you’ve been on Facebook for any length of time, you’ve likely noticed that they like to change things. A lot. When Facebook introduced their Timeline layout for personal profiles in late 2011, we wondered how long it would be before we saw a Timeline version for business pages. On Leap Day of 2012, Facebook made it official with their announcement and explanation of the new features of Timeline for business pages.
Since the beginning of March, Timeline has been available on an opt-in basis. Page owners have had the past month to switch over and make any adjustments before yesterday’s March 30th deadline when the new layout was implemented for all. As promised, Facebook went ahead with converting business pages to the new Timeline layout. As with most changes on Facebook, this one has not been without its critics. Despite any challenges the new changes present, Facebook Timeline for business pages is now the norm. Here’s what you need to know:
This is the same as with personal profiles using Timeline; you have a panoramic space to play with and grab folks’ attention when they first visit your page. For those of you with photo-editing software, the image size is 851 x 315 pixels. You can fill that space with whatever you want, but there are exceptions:
- no contact info (email addresses, phone #’s, etc.)
- no reference to pricing info ($10 off, save 30%)
- no calls to action (“like” our page)
- no arrows pointing at Facebook page features (such as the like button)
Just as with personal Timelines, you get a profile image which sits overtop of the bottom left corner of your cover photo. Sizing is 180 x 180 pixels (you can use larger images and Facebook will shrink them down). For business pages it makes sense that the profile image should be your logo as this is what gets displayed as the thumbnail next to any of your posts. Of course, you can change any of your images as often as you want, so go ahead and play if you like.
You can now pin a post to top of your page for a period of 7 days. This is a great way to make certain your posts about specials and big events stay visible for people visiting your page.
You can also highlight a post so that it expands across the entire width of your page. This is especially useful with photos and helps to attract attention. The only caveat is that you can’t pin and highlight the same post at the same time.
Businesses can also enter milestone events from their past. Coca-Cola have done an excellent job of this, and even if your business hasn’t been around quite as long as Coke it’s still fun to do and a great way to share your history with your followers.
Administrators of pages now have a panel display at the top of their pages to show them the notifications, new “likes” and stats. This is a handy feature if you get a lot of interaction with your page as you can see at glance what’s happening on your page.
Many businesses have had custom pages created to add additional branding and functionality. Facebook hasn’t taken these away; in fact, they’ve expanded the available size of the space you can use from 520 to 810 pixels wide. However, you can no longer make custom pages a default landing page for first-time visitors. Now folks will have to find your landing page by clicking one of your tabs. This doesn’t mean landing pages are no longer useful, you can still send visitors to your custom pages through Facebook advertising.
You didn’t really think Facebook was FREE did you? Facebook says the new Timeline changes are all about ensuring users have a good experience. They want businesses to be more engaging by creating content that tells their story. The reality is that they want more businesses to use the platform’s paid advertising features. This is why Facebook has rolled out a number of new advertising programs, all of which are aimed at bigger businesses with proper budgets. The premium ads program, which includes placement in newsfeeds and on the mobile app, requires a $25k/month committment. Same goes for Facebook’s new Reach Generator. Don’t despair, regular Facebook advertising is still available.