This past week Facebook announced that it will be launching the Timeline layout for Facebook Business or Brand Pages. You can adopt the new look now or wait until Facebook changes the look for you on March 30th, 2012. The changes are fairly significant and will definitely impact the way your Facebook Page works, so you likely want to review these changes and get your page ready before the roll out.
There are 5 major changes you need to be prepared for.
The look of the new page will be much like the Timeline layout for your personal profile. It will have a large cover photo at the top of the page and a two column timeline running down the page. The dimensions of the large Facebook cover photo are 850px x315px. This large photo will give you a nice way to promote your brand. It is important to note, that Facebook warns you, that you are not to use this space for promotion or advertising.
You will also be able to pin one post to the top of the timeline for a week or until a new item is pinned. This will allow you to feature a particular post or promotion at the top of the page. You can also feature specific posts throughout the timeline, by choosing to highlight them. This will cause the post to extend across both timeline columns, making it stand out against the other posts.
Finally with milestones, you are able to add significant events in your company’s history. (Product launches, management changes, etc. ) You are able to post these in the past so that your timeline reflects your company’s true history.
No More Default Landing Tab
In the old version of Facebook Pages you were able to designate a default landing page. This meant you could have users land on page with specific content such as your opt-in sign up or a special welcome message. This is not part of the functionality of the new Timeline Pages.
Note: You can update your links to Facebook Page on your website so that the links go to the app you choose. For example if I wanted the people to see my website portfolio photo gallery first, I could change the Facebook links on my site to http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150287105731067.352687.87059826066&type=3 but anyone who searches Facebook for my page or connects directly to my page using the traditional url http://www.facebook.com/TanyaBeaudoinWebDesigner will always land on the main timeline page.
Less Tab Visibility
The old version of Facebook Pages allowed you to have hundreds of tabs on the sidebar. The new version still lets you have the tabs but they show as icon boxes under the Cover Photo. Only 4 boxes are visible (the rest appear as a drop down) and one of the four prime boxes is fixed as photos. So that means there are only three boxes above the fold. Choose your apps carefully and be sure the most important three are featured above the fold.
New Tab Content and App Dimensions
Gone are the squishy 520px layouts and in are new wider 810px layouts. Page owners will need to revisit their tab and app content to make sure it looks optimal in the new layout. You will also want to make sure you are using App icons (111px × 74px), otherwise you will be stuck with the default icon or a third party icon, which will not be very enticing to visitors.
You will now be able to communicate with visitors privately through the message system. This is great news for brands, as they will be able to move customer service inquiries to a private venue.
As you can see, there will be some pretty significant changes when the new looks goes live on March 30, 2012. You will want to make sure you page is ready for the transition, by previewing the new look and updating your content. Once your site is ready be sure to make it live so you can be one of the Facebook Timeline pioneers!
What do you think of these changes? Will this new look be more effective for social media marketers? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
If you need help designing a new cover photo, content icons or general help preparing for the change, feel free contact me.