What You Need to Know Right Now Regarding Facebook Timeline for Business Pages
As most of you know, Facebook has two major types of accounts: Profiles (for actual people) and Pages (for companies, public figures, etc). As you probably also know, Facebook rolled out its new look and feel, dubbed Timeline, to Profiles some time ago. And they have just announced Facebook Timeline for Pages – with the deadline of March 31, 2012 for switchover. This deadline means that you have a couple of weeks to learn about and prepare for the change to Facebook Timeline for business pages.
So, you’re probably wondering, “What do I do first?” We hope the explanation below will help you see how to align your social media strategy goals for your Facebook community with the new changes.
Here is a summary of the major visual changes and a few tips on what to do to get the most out of the new layout.
It used to be that you just posted to your page, but now there are three enhanced posting options:
a. Pinned posts: these posts appear at the top of your timeline for 7 days or until you pin another post. Pinned posts can be used to drive engagement with a “weekly” featured posting, or to remain at the top of the timeline for the duration of a campaign.
b. Highlighted posts: these posts appear across the entire span of the two column layout. When scrolling down on your timeline, these highlighted posts really jump off the page. Use them when you want to make a big impact with a photo, meme or infographic.
c. Milestone posts: a milestone is a post that tracks a special moment in time – like when your company opened or reached a goal. Although it may be tempting to create milestones that are meaningful to you and your employees, try to remember that all the posts you do will go into your fan’s news feeds; therefore, they should be focused on engagement.
The new layout actually mimics common web design best practices, so you can create a mini-website by using these elements wisely:
a. Cover image: this “hero image” is located at the very top of the page and spans the entire two column width. There are restrictions to its content as it cannot be promotional in any way, for instance. Use it to express your brand with a compelling, high-resolution image. Also, consider changing the image frequently in line with your overall strategy.
b. Default image: this image appears as an inset on the cover image, but it’s also the image that appears along with every post done by the Page. Think of it as your “mini-logo” on Facebook and use it as such.
c. About: if your page is a “place”, then your About section will appear with your location information by default. If you’re not a place, then you can tailor what appears here. Think of this snippet of text as your elevator speech or a tagline to accompany your logo.
d. App icons: the photos app will always appear by default, however, you can customize the other 3 apps that display. You can include either other apps native to Facebook (events, likes, etc) or you can create custom apps. With the custom apps, you can even create the icon images. Use these as aggressive calls to action to feature a special, promotion, UVP, etc.
One last tip: don’t be fooled into changing your social media strategy with the new layout’s apparent de-prioritization of your posts. Even though your posts appear much further down on the page, the new Facebook Timeline for Pages doesn’t really change the way your fans experience your posts. The fact is, fans most often see your posts in their news feed – not on your Facebook timeline for your business. Modify your new Facebook Timeline to take advantage of the opportunities described above, but continue to focus on community building through compelling and quality-focused content that translates to engaging posts.