timeline

Yes, just as the seasons are changing, Facebook is changing too.

Ughh, I know. Just when you get used to it you have to readjust.

Earlier this month I was scheduled to speak about Facebook for Business and was all prepared to give my  pre-Timeline presentation.  Imagine my surprise when the announcement came out a week before I was to speak. Boy did I need to readjust! I certainly didn’t want to be out-of-date for the presentation so it was time to dig deep and learn everything I could about this new timeline for business.

Even though the timing was quite inconvenient, the good news is I probably have the answer to any question you may have about the new timeline for business. So don’t be shy. Feel free to hit me up with your questions!

Visual Appeal
The first thing to know is facebook is getting much more visual. This extends from the wide banner at the top of the page to the highlighting of posts and even to the custom app buttons. Statistics show that of all the post types (photos, videos, text, questions, etc) photos get the most engagement. So why not strengthen what is working–the visual aspect.

The wide cover image provides an opportunity to really showcase and strengthen your branding. Take full advantage of it. The specs are:

  • 851×315 for the cover image
  • Profile picture is 180×180 and sizes down to 32×32 for the thumbnail

Make sure your images have impact and clearly convey who you are and what you do. Also, you should know Facebook has posted some guidlelines about the cover image so make sure you follow them. For example, covers can’t be deceptive, misleading, or infringe on anyone else’s copyright.  In addition, covers may not include:

  • price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it on socialmusic.com”
  • contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section
  • references to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features
  • calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”

For even more design inspiration check out 15 Creative Tips to Rock Your Timeline Cover Photo for Facebook Pages by Ching Ya.

Custom Apps
First, let’s clear up the terminology regarding apps. In the beginning there were tabs. You may remember them. You were able to customize each of your facebook tabs using special apps. They looked this this:

In the next generation the tabs at the top disappeared and turned into links on the left side of the page. Even though there weren’t any literal “tabs” we all continued to refer to them as tabs.

In this newest facebook update the function is the same but will now be referred to as apps. Instead of tabs at the top or links on the side you’ll see them as boxes directly under your main cover image. What’s cool about them is you can easily customize the image for these apps right through facebook. No coding needed!

What you need to know is that the first one–the facebook photo album–cannot be moved or modified. However you can have whichever apps you want in the 3 slots next to it. If you click the little arrow to the right of the last one you can reveal more (up to a total of 12) but I would suggest you make sure your most important ones are visible. The size is 111×74. Another idea for your custom images is to use text in order to make it a call-to-action. This is from Amy Porterfield’s page:

So what can you do with these custom apps? Lots! With a bigger space–810px–you can let your creativity go wild and build pages as if you were building a web page on your own site. Some ideas are sales landing pages, event calendars, contests, product information, videos, email sign-ups, etc.

What’s nice to know is that if you have existing custom pages at the former 520px wide design it will still display. The only thing you can’t do is make any of your custom apps the “default” landing page. This is kind of a bummer, but overall I think the good outweighs the bad. Besides you can promote the links to each individual page via ads, email, posts, etc. Below are some examples:

Posting to Your Timeline
You have a lot more control over your content with the new timeline. With the old system you had a never-ending flow of status updates without differentiation between your most important “press-worthy” events and your just-for-fun “TGIF!!!!” posts.

The new facebook timeline tools include:

  • star posts to highlight them
  • pinning posts to the top of the page for up to 7 days
  • hide and delete posts
  • highlight important company moments by creating milestones
  • change post dates

Milestone examples:

The new timeline allows you to organize your posts so that new visitors are able to see what matters most. I don’t know about you, but I’m ‘LIKING’ all the changes. It’s especially great for companies who can connect with their fans using images.

To learn how to use all these great timeline tools take facebook’s interactive course. It’s short, easy, and will make you feel smarter!

More Resources
Want even more info on the new Timeline? Check out facebook’s help section on the new design or Hyper Art’s Facebook Timeline for Pages Frequently Asked Questions.

What have you found helpful in making the transition? Post your comments below.