In the constantly evolving world of Facebook, change is inevitable, folks.
I’ve been listening to the buzz about the new Facebook Timeline changes which are about to roll out to every single business fanpage on March 30, 2012. (I first started covering this in Sept. 2011, you can catch the 1st installment on this here if you missed it!)
Yes, that’s exactly 7 days from today, folks…
I’ve been paying close attention to what is happening in the Facebook world and have put this post together to help you understand the things that you NEED to know about the Facebook Timeline changes which are going to affect everyone who has a Facebook fanpage for their business.
And yes, I did say everyone with a Facebook fanpage is going to be affected.
I wanted to simplify this as much as possible, so I’ve broken down the Top Points that will help you get a handle on the Facebook Timeline changes to business fanpages. So here you have it…
Big Facebook Fanpage Timeline Change #1: Completely new look and *feel* – Say hello Cover Photo!
That “old school” Facebook look is out!
Cover Photos, that’s what!
Your Cover Photo will reside at the top of the Page. Your page is made of up 2 main columns, which will represent the movement of time. This allows you to showcase your brand in a “history” fashion. Think of it as the story of your business milestones presented in a narritive-style to be enjoyed by your audience.
Your Cover Photo dimensions may be up to 850 pixels by 315 pixels. These can be quite spectacular and visually stunning when done right.
Be aware that there are now RULES that govern what can and cannot be done in a Cover Photo.
Cover Photos may not contain any of the following:
- Promotional, purchase or price information. (Example: “Get it at our website now!” – OR – “50% off for a limited time!”)
- Contact information. (Including: web address, email address, postal address or any other information that should be listed in your Facebook business fanpage’s “About” section.
- References to Facebook features or actions (Example: “Like” – “Share” – “Tell your friends” – OR – arrows in your Cover Photo pointing to these sections for the purposes of prompting users to click.)
- Call-to-action commands. (Example: “Click LIKE” – “Tell your friends!” – “Get it now”)
You can see my new business fanpage here (Yes, I followed the rules! )
Keep in mind that milestones present an opportunity to bring your brand to life. Use milestones as a way to create page engagement with your fans. These milestones are quite literally telling the story of your business. Those who use this as an opportunity to craft a story of their brand will most likely create more interactivity with their followings hence enhancing brand loyalty and recognition!
Big Facebook Fanpage Timeline Change #2: Say Sayonara to your Landing Page!
Now this is going to be a huge adjustment for anyone who has been using Facebook business fanpages landing tabs. See, many marketers have been using these offer an enticement in exchange for an opt-in. This has been a widely popular method of lead generation for the past few years.
Say sayonara to your landing page, folks. They’re gone for good come March 30th!
Use this change as an opportunity to pay close attention to the messages at the top of your Facebook Business Fanpage’s Timeline. This is the very first thing that visitors are going to see! Ads are going to be highly visible and you’re going to want to educate yourself, also, on how to strategically establish Facebook ad campaigns and applications to use them to obtain the clicks and follow the direction you designate.
Big Facebook Fanpage Timeline Change #3: Reduced Tab Visibility
The new Timeline format does not have the old familiar left-side panel of links, which could include hundreds of different tabs. While applications still exist, they’ll display differently, in rectangular panels underneath the cover photo. The width of the Timeline and the space allocated for native apps like Photos means that only three tab panels are viewable at any given time. To see more, users must expand the tab panel by clicking a drop-down box.
This is one of the first places your fans will see when landing on your business fanpage, so take consideration in how you utilize this limited and valuable real estate. Make sure that only the tabs that you really want visible are the ones that are showing above the fold. You will only be able to showcase 12 apps, with the first 2 being the most visible. Make sure that what is visible is closely representative and relevant to your own brand or it will most likely be ignored. I would also recommend looking into analytics because these will, no doubt, provide powerful insight into what tabs you should be promoting on a regular basis.
Big Facebook Fanpage Timeline Change #4: You can “Pin it” – Brand new way to feature your content!
“Pinning” things is certainly what’s en vogue these days, just ask anyone who is using Pinterest these days!
A huge new feature to fanpages is that users are now able to “pin” posts to the very top of their Timeline for a specified time period. What this means is that users are able to control (to some extent) what their viewers see first.
Using the “pin” feature is as simple as clicking on the pencil icon beside the post – the pinned post will show up with a little orange flag beside it.
Hover over a story and click on the star icon to make the post wider. Click on the pencil icon to pin the item to the top of your page, hide it or delete it from the site altogether. Once a new post is pinned – or – 7 days has elapsed, the old pin will snap into its proper chronological slot in the Timeline and the new pin will become visible in its place.
Map out what you want your viewers to see most. As I recommended previously, Facebook has regimented what viewers will be able to see upon landing (no landing pages), so you absolutely want to be sure that you’re making the most of your first impressions to your viewers. Take care to use pins to highlight content that well-represents your brand and what you want onlookers to know about your business. Wise marketers will do well to craft up unique messages with calls to action which prompt viewers to click where it counts!
Big Facebook Fanpage Timeline Change #5: New Administrator Panel
I think that this is a great new addition. It will give you a designated spot to keep track of all page activity. You’ll get a snapshot of what is being written on your Timeline, as well as “insights” that Facebook is now offering to help you better understand how your brand is perceived.
Spend some time with this area, folks. You’re getting a bird’s eye view of what your viewers are seeing and how they are interacting with your business fanpage. If you pay attention to this you will, no doubt, be able to gauge how well you are reaching your audience and where some powerful tweaks may be made in terms of how you present your brand. Use this feedback!
Big Facebook Fanpage Timeline Change #6: New communication available to reach your fans!
Remember how there used to be no way to private chat with fans?
Well say buh-byee to those days! Facebook fanpages are now private message-friendly! You’ll get notifications in the upper right area of your new Administrator panel every time you receive one.
What does this mean?
Well, for starters, it means that you will be able to better engage with your enthusiasts via direct communication. It also means that if you will be able to better manage customer service types of requests by handling these in a private setting rather than in full exposure on your Timeline. It just makes more sense this way, right?
Keep an eye on your Timeline! Remember what I mentioned about customer service types of engagements. Depending on what you are attempting to showcase of your business, you might want to pluck this sort of correspondence from the Timeline’s public stream and initiate the service request directly to the messenger via private message. Remember that the Timeline was developed to showcase your business as a narrative, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will want your fans to see a virtual stream-of-consciousness. Sometimes less is more, so play with this and see what works best for your brand.
Big Facebook Fanpage Timeline Change #7: Did your game change? Need a name change? No problem!
This will get a huge YAAAY from anyone who has been stuck with a name they just don’t want or that they’ve outgrown. Facebook has given us a way to request a name-change for our business Fanpages!
Take an inventory of what you’re attempting to convey via your Facebook business fanpage. If your fanpage name isn’t conveying the message somehow, get it fixed ASAP. You can request that your page name be changed by using this link here. It’s only a matter of time before brands actively begin leveraging the open graph. You want to be at the forefront so that your brand is accurately conveyed as it is becoming more deeply embedded into the user experience of the Facebook Timeline.
I’d also like to post up a few other links that you might find helpful as you’re getting your arms around the BIG Facebook Timeline changes to business fanpages! Please check out:
Facebook Timeline For Business: How To Use It To Your Marketing Advantage by Carol Lynn Rivera of www.websearchsocial.com
Also check out what Donna Merrill of www.DonnaMerrillTribe.com has shared: Mari Smith and Guy Kawasaki March 28th Event - They’re putting on a free webinar on March 28th, called “The 7 Hottest Trends in Social Media.” You do NOT want to miss this!
These Timeline changes will create some disturbance, but savvy social media marketers will find ways to maximize their reach and marketing potential despite it. These changes will completely revamp the way that content is perceived by our viewers, so it’s of utmost importance that we are alert and aware of how our business “reads” on a Timeline. If we take a diligent approach to how we engage our viewers by positioning specific and targeted updates, we will capture more attention and trigger more connection with our audiences. Make the most of it and it will surely pay off!
What do YOU think of all these changes, folks?? Let me know, sound off below!
Still struggling with Facebook??