Starting on March 30th, brands will encounter a slew of changes to their Facebook pages. Similar to the recent updates to personal profiles, Facebook is revamping brand pages with the new timeline format, cover photos, and unique opportunities to engage and interact with their fans. We encourage you to visit your Facebook pages now to preview the updates before they become mandatorily live at the end of the month. Use this time to strategize content, imagery, and promotions that will best feature your brand. Do not publish the page until you are ready to use the new layout because there’s no going back! Here’s the inside scoop on what’s changing and how to leverage these opportunities:
One of the most prominent new features is the big, bold cover photo. The photo should be 851 x 315 pixels and there are limitations to what can be included in the image. Cover photos should not include text such as web URLs, email addresses, mailing addresses and other information that belongs in the info section. You are allowed to include your brand’s motto, mission or tagline within the cover photo as seen on Subway’s page. Facebook discourages using the cover photo as an advertisement (they still want you to buy ads so they make money) so avoid calls to action such as “Like Us” and “Visit XYZ site to learn more about our new product.” Although the image is not clickable or linkable, you can include a URL in the description. We recommend that you:
- Utilize the attention-grabbing space for new product launches, exclusive behind-the-scenes content, feature fans and their comments, event photos, and showcase brand personality
- Include descriptions for all cover photos as well as utilizing the ability to tag people, locations, and dates in the photo descriptions
In essence, the new timeline is a replacement for your wall. Visitors will see their friends are your fans, pages your brand likes, your tabs and apps, access milestones along the timeline, and see the most recent posts. There are a TON of unique features on the timeline that will require planning and strategy to utilize effectively. We recommend that you prepare this information ahead of time and input it once your new page is published to avoid any glitches in publishing (which some users have experienced.)
The timeline allows brands to input milestones along their Facebook calendar and set up a virtual history lesson. Brands can use the timeline to input unique information such as the date the company started, logo changes, product line launches, relevant moments in history that impacted your brand, and other milestones that will curate a powerful brand experience. When you begin inputting milestones, you will need to set an “established date” where the timeline will start. Once this start date is set you cannot change it so choose wisely. The start date currently shows the month/year you joined Facebook and not the beginning of your brand’s history. Red Bull is using this feature creatively by creating a scavenger hunt using information found on their timeline. An incentivized history lesson, we like it!
Photos are supersized and much more prominent in the new update. Be careful uploading low resolution images as they may become stretched and blurry. You can include photos and videos anywhere along the timeline and tag people, places, and dates in the photo description. Photos and videos will take up more real estate on your timeline and are a great way to draw attention to important information. We’ve found that photos garner the most interaction from fans and more attention in News Feeds.
- Pinning & Highlighting Posts
Keeping a post at the top of the page is just a click away. The timeline allows pages to “pin” posts to the top where it will remain for 7 days. If you want the post to stay at the top for longer than a week just re-pin it every 7 days. When you mouse over the top right corner on any post, “Highlight” and “Edit or Remove” will appear. If you click “Edit or Remove” you can pin the post to the top of the page. A little orange ribbon appears on posts while they are pinned to the top as seen below on the Tom’s page. If you click “Highlight” the selected post will double in width to span your timeline for more prominence. You can’t highlight AND pin a post at the same time though.
Fans will now be able to send direct messages to page administrators if the feature is activated. It’s optional and can be turned on and off. We recommend you test the feature for a week or two to determine the volume and staffing needs for responding to messages. Depending on the success of the messaging tool, it may become a new branch of customer service and replace alternate methods of contact such as hotlines and support emails. It may also be a great way to keep negative comments off your page. We also recommend that you create a strategy for responding to messages similar to your current email response tactics.
Tabs and Apps:
Previously, page administrators could set a default landing tab that all non-fans would see first instead of the wall when they visited the page. This feature has been removed and instead all visitors will see the main timeline view and have to actively click to custom apps. This means your promotional content may receive much less engagement on the page.
It’s a lot to take in at once but the benefits will far outweigh the effort required to set up your new page. Post a link to your Facebook page below to show off your published timeline! What do you think of the update?