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Complete Guide to Facebook Timeline for Pages

March 1, 2012

A lot has come out of this morning’s inaugural Facebook Marketing Conference. So much so that a few posts need to be dedicated to the topic, and the first is all about Timeline for Pages.

If you are an admin of a Facebook Page you will now notice that you can switch on Timeline, either in trial mode or for real. And whether you like it or not, you’ll have no choice from March 31st.

Timeline for Pages comes with a whole hostĀ of new functionality, and implications.

Cover photo

Like personal profiles, Pages will also get theĀ giant cover photo at the top of the page.
The 851 x 315 pixel banner does not come without limitations.

  • Cover photos must be at least 399 px wide
  • Cannot contain price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”
  • Cannot contain contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section
  • Cannot contain references to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features (ie. no giant LIKE US!)
  • Cannot contain any calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”
  • Covers must not be false, deceptive or misleading, and must not infringe on third parties’ intellectual property
  • You may not encourage or incentivize people to upload your cover image to their personal timelines

You are encouraged to use this space to tell a story about your brand. Some great examples are located here.

Messaging between fans and Pages

You will be able to turn either on, or off, the ability to message between fans and your Page. These messages are only able to be initiated one-way, from fans to Pages, however Pages will be able to respond to any messages sent to them. By default, messaging will be enabled and you will need to turn it off if you don’t want this functionality. This is a great new addition to the customer service side of Facebook and I think will be heavily used particularly by organisations such as banks and telecommunications who deal with private & sensitive information.

Page apps

The new design of Pages will really test the life of Facebook Page apps in my opinion.

Apps have been relocated from the left hand side bar, to the top of the page under the cover photo and to the right of the ‘About’ section. They are displayed as thumbnails, and there are space for four tiles; the first of which must be Photos. The rest can include any of your apps, including Likes, Videos, Events and Maps.

You can manage these apps and what displays where by going into edit mode and then clicking on the edit button displayed in the top right hand corner of each app thumbnail.

The biggest issues for me that comes from Timeline in regards to apps, is that the ability for a default landing page for new visitors has been removed. Goodbye to all those ‘Welcome’ tabs! They are of course still there, and can be displayed with your other apps as per above, but a page that aims to get people to ‘like’ you is now redundant. Users will always land on the main timeline view. According to Tech Crunch, this means that ‘custom apps for your contests, promotions, games, media, coupons, and signup widgets may receive much less engagement from users who find their way to your Page’.

View for fans

The view of your Page’s Timeline will essentially be different for every fan. When they visit your Page, they will see a mix of stories from their friends, the Page itself and also other user’s posts (particularly those with lots of likes/comments). Fans can still opt to view the traditional ‘Page only’ type views, but this will not be the default.

Pinned posts

This new feature allows you to ‘pin’ a post to the top left hand pole position for 7 days. This post can be old or new.
Some good uses of pinning can be:

  • To direct uses to a promotional app
  • Highlight a very important message
  • Keep a highly liked & commented update visible
  • Display a great photo

This function allows you to control what users see first. You can only pin a post for seven days though, so it’s a good idea to have a stable of options.

Milestones

As well as your usual posts, you can now also highlight significant moments in your brand’s history such as when it was founded, when it started selling certain products, when it opened certain stores etc. This has a lot to do with Facebook’s vision of brands telling stories, rather than traditional advertising.

Other changes

Some of the other new features include:

  • Integrated admin panel (rather than sending admins off to their own page)
  • A new activity log, where you can see every post your Page has published
  • Ability to hide anything you don’t want viewable from your Timeline (e.g. outdated posts, posts with spelling errors, negative posts)

So what do you think? What do you like? What do you dislike?

Facebook Resources:

Facebook Timeline for Pages video
Facebook Help Centre on Facebook Pages
Facebook Marketing Conference New Product Guides
Introducing New Facebook Pages

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Jess permalink
    March 1, 2012 12:06 pm

    I think it’s fantastic. I’ve changed our company’s over straight away. I like that we can list company milestones, the cover photo and the ability for fans to message us. The only thing I find slightly befuddling is the apps. I was getting close to needing to put up a ‘community rules of engagement’ tab, but I assume that it will just be an app and I can prioritise it in the top 4? I could also post it as a story and pin it up the top if there’s any reason to remind our fans of them. Not sure how I feel about the greater access fans can have to Insights, but there’s not a lot of info there and I can de-prioritise it if I like. All in all, thumbs up! There does appear to be a few bugs – some posts are going missing for other pages that are turning over AND posting status updates this morning. Our page looks fine so far, but I haven’t posted anything since yesterday.

    • March 1, 2012 12:11 pm

      Thanks for your comment Jess. I love the milestones too, especially for the main page I manage which is over 150 years old – so lots of content for me to pop in there!
      As for community rules of engagement… technically you’re not allowed to have these according to Facebook rules, so no surprise it might be harder to do this. Of course a large number of pages (including mine) have these anyway. Might be best to publish as a webpage and include link in your About section?
      Yup it’s been a bit buggy for me this morning too, it keeps showing my page as only have 10,000 likes (I know a few others have had the same) and I’ve heard about disappearing posts…

      • Jess permalink
        March 1, 2012 12:17 pm

        That’s a really great suggestion about building a webpage and linking it to the About section. I can them make it generic and post it on any other social sites (G+ etc) and it will be easier for me to build using our website CMS, rather than stuffing around with confusing HTML apps and integrating them on Facebook. Thanks!

        Wow – 150 years! I work for a start-up, so we’ve only been going 3. Good luck filling all the milestones in.

  2. March 1, 2012 12:17 pm

    Facebook has (rightfully) forced branded pages to rely on the quality of their content to drive new ‘Likes’ rather than competitions & fancy apps.

    This’ll just make the great community managers shine even more!

    • March 1, 2012 12:47 pm

      Fil I totally agree. L’Oreal Paris Australia just recently launched their Facebook Page with a competition app as the landing page. They reached about 20,000 likes in only 1 week, with sub-standard content. Organisations won’t be able to rely as much on this now to drive likes.

  3. Claire permalink
    March 1, 2012 6:38 pm

    My posts are not sticking! I changed over today so I’ll go back in tomorrow and try again. Thanks for this info!

    • March 2, 2012 10:57 am

      Hi Claire, thanks for your comment. Yes the new Timeline is proving to be a little buggy in these initial days! Have you made sure your posts are appearing in your Activity Log?

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