Facebook Timeline for Brand Pages is Here!

The day has finally come: the Timeline format we’ve seen introduced to personal Facebook profiles is now here for brand pages. What does that mean for you? Read on for some of the major changes coming your way.

All pages will automatically switch to Timeline format on March 30, 2012.

Until then, you can preview Timeline on your pages. You and your page admins can see the Timeline and make changes to it, while the public and your fans will see your old design through the end of the month.

You can choose to publish your Timeline before March 30, but doing so will take effect permanently. If you’re not sure you want to switch to Timeline just yet, do not press the “publish now” button at the top of your preview Timeline page.

Cover photos: what you can and can’t do.

You cover image is an 851×315 pixel photo that should represent some aspect of your brand. However, Facebook guidelines state that your cover image should not contain:

  • Contact information (this goes in your “About” section)
  • Information about prices, discounts, or purchasing
  • Any form of call to action
  • References to Facebook activity – no “like this page” or “share with your friends”

So what do you do with your cover photo if you can’t do any of those things? There are plenty of ways to visually represent your brand while still following the rules. For inspiration, check out Old Spice, Coca-Cola, or the Olympic Games (these are just a few of the many creative examples that have popped up in the past few days).

Where did your apps go?

Previously appearing as customized tabs, your apps are now at the top right of your page, directly underneath your cover photo.

A few things worth noting about apps with the new Timeline format:

  • You can no longer set a default landing tab. Every visitor will land on your main Timeline page, and can get to the apps by clicking through from there.
  • You can still “Like-gate” the apps on your page, but it’s now much less effective since you can’t make these the default landing tabs for your page.
  • Only the four apps across the top will display by default – visitors must click through to see more. However, you can edit the order in which they display and put your most important content (discounts, promotions, etc) across the top.

You can now privately message your fans.

Let me rephrase that: fans can now privately message your page, and you can respond to them. However, you cannot initiate conversation through messages. From a customer service standpoint, though, this is potentially the most useful new feature. If a customer is complaining about a negative experience on your Timeline, you can encourage them to send you a private message to settle the conflict in a much more private manner.

You can add milestones.

Facebook requires that you add the date in which your company was founded/started/opened before you can add more milestones (the dates only go back to 1800, so if your business is really really old…you’re out of luck). You can then add information about notable company events with corresponding photos, completing the actual timeline function of the Timeline.

How do you anticipate this switch to Timeline will affect the way you use Facebook for online marketing? Let us know! If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to contact Marketing Zen for some assistance from the experts.

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