Facebook has done it again. The infamous timeline that slowly started taking over your friends and your own Facebook profiles was officially rolled out to all business pages recently. Facebook’s new timeline although a little confusing at first and even a bit overwhelming has potential to positively impact your brand. Many brands already started testing the new timeline with promotions and new designs. Red Bull, Coca Cola, and Virgin America to name a few are in full effect with the timeline and seem to be taking advantage of every new or enhanced feature. If you’re not so amused with the new changes, we strongly recommend acknowledging it, try it, and see where it goes.
To help you understand the timeline for brand pages a little better, below you’ll find a summary of what each new feature is as well as a few suggestions on how you might want to adjust them to maximize their effect.
1. Cover Photo
The cover photo is one of the biggest changes with Facebook’s new timeline. It replaces the smaller real estate that was available for your profile picture. The cover photo allows for a bigger and more aesthetically engaging image providing an extra opportunity in promoting and growing your brand identity. You may create as many cover photos as you’d like. They will all be available as part of the cover photo album in your images.
*Note that there are limitations on what you can promote in this cover photo space. Facebook has strict guidelines for the cover photo that may limit your marketing efforts/messages on the cover photo. These guidelines can be found on https://www.facebook.com/help/search/?q=cover+guidelines
Cover Photo Image dimensions: 851 x 315
2. Bye-bye default tabs. Hello apps!
Default landing tabs have been removed from the business fan pages. To replace them, Facebook has created apps. There are four apps that are always showing below the cover photo. However, you can create up to 14 custom apps with custom thumbnails for each. The best part of these apps is that a unique URL can be attributed to each to drive traffic to a specific app. So, if you’re having a promotion on Facebook and want to advertise it on your blog, you can certainly post a link on your blog that will take them to the appropriate app on Facebook.
App Thumbnail dimensions: 111 x 74
3. Private messaging with fans enabled
Private messaging your fans is now available with the new timeline. The potential benefits of this new feature seem very promising. You are now able to connect with your fans on an even more personal basis. Not to mention, hosting contests, providing customer support, or simply inviting them to an event will be a lot easier to do on Facebook.
If your business has a lot of history, then milestones might become a favorite part of the new timeline. You can set milestones for the future, present, or past to highlight significant events in your company’s trajectory. Milestones can be accompanied by images measuring 843 x 403px allowing for not a verbal record but also a visual record.
5. Highlighted and Pinned posts
Highlighted posts set any status update across both columns of the timeline. Important messages or notifications can be highlighted for your fans to notice immediately when they visit your page. Pinned posts are exactly that, posts pinned at the top of your timeline. They can remain posted for up to seven days. This allows for alerts to remain the center of attention for people who may not visit your page on a daily basis. However, pinned posts deserve cautionary use. It is important to consider what messages to pin to the top because you also don’t want to ignore new visitors to your fan page or bore the repeat visitors.