So not long now until March 30th when Facebook roll out the timeline update to the business pages.
As you may have seen some brands and companies have updated theirs already and you can find some examples here.
Here is a checklist of some things you may want to consider:
Facebook’s new guidelines can be found here http://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php
Some points to highlight:
- Don’t use a cover image you don’t have the copyright for or permission to use (more on the cover image later in this post)
- Don’t use pricing or calls to action in cover image. I suspect we’re going to see a lot of people get creative in “breaking” the spirit of this rule while staying within the actual rule itself
- Don’t try to incentivize liking or sharing in your cover image. Again, I suspect people will get pretty creative playing within the rules here
- The contact information, such as physical address, telephone, email and web address, should only be in the “about” area of your profile
What you will probably notice right away on the new format is the main image which acts more like a banner. The image size is 851px X 350px (that’s 851 pixels wide by 350 pixels high) and based on the guidelines you shouldn’t use an image you don’t have permission to use along with showing pricing, sell and calls to action to get users to do something.
Make sure the image makes a good impression and gives an oversight to your brand visually. You can view a free Photoshop template for Facebook timelines here. http://designfiles.net/blog/free-photoshop-template-facebook-timelines/
If you can choose and image that has an impact, something that people will relate to in reference to your brand and create the impression that you are looking for about your business. Sites like Shutterstock can provide images if you don’t have anything suitable and you possibly may be able to use these for free for business pages, but you best check that with Shutterstock before going ahead.
Communicating with your fans or followers
In my opinion this update is trying to make companies engage with their followers more, giving updates, posting comments, images and videos and anything else that may be relevant to the social aspect of marketing your business.
Many of our clients have commented on the fact that having a Facebook or Twitter account could be bad as people can post negative things on your wall, but for me that’s just part of the course with any business as you can’t get it right 100% of the time all the time and I would rather someone communicated that directly with me through my social network so that I can deal with it and put it right. Once followers see how you dealt with the issue then they can see you are a good company and you take notice of your customers and their issues, alternatively instead of doing customer service in public on their Facebook wall, brands can now have private messages with customers/fans. Hopefully this will remove some organization’s concerns about getting involved on Facebook and social media in general.
Loss of Landing Pages
We have had a number of clients complaining about the default landing page being removed, however it was heavily abused with like-gating and tricking people in sharing or linking you. The new timeline will only have one default landing page.
Only 4 Tabs are Available on Homepage
On your landing page you now have four visible tabs, the first being photos, you can move the others around after this and you can add more which can be accessed by the little arrow to the right hand site of the boxes, you can control the three other tabs’ names and icons, so use them to your advantage.
Have a look at http://www.facebook.com/cocacola and you will see their four boxes, but the arrow shows a further eight.
Pin Featured Content
If your company has an important post, message, or or offer, you can now “pin” that to the top. It won’t be displaced when you post new updates or upload new photos. Just keep in mind that you can only pin something for 7 days. When you’ve pinned it, you’ll see a little ribbon in the upper right corner.
Like personal pages, brand pages can now have milestones. This should be used for things that are important to you customers, not for letting them know how much you paid for your lunch.
Brand Name Changes and Vanity URL
If you are new to brand pages then you should choose wisely: once you pass 100 fans/followers, you can’t change it. If you are over 100, you can force people to unsubscribe to get yourself below that threshold and change your name. If you’ve got a good size following, though, that’s not a viable solution, and you’re stuck with the name you chose when you started. One good thing is Facebook has also removed the minimum of 25 fans/followers to get a vanity URL.
Having a vanity URL is great as when you advertise your Facebook page its simpler for people to remember and search.
Thanks for taking the time to read and I hope you find some of these points useful.