Facebook has rolled out significant changes and improvements to how users view and interact with businesses with the new Facebook Timeline. With Facebook Timeline, Facebook pages have an entirely new design and businesses can enjoy more control over what content is front and center, and what content is hidden on their page. In this article, you’ll find an overview of brand new Timeline features such as the cover photo, apps, direct messaging, the activity log and more.
Choose a Cover — The most visible change in Facebook Timeline is the cover photo. The Timeline cover displays an 851×315-pixel banner across the top of the fan page, making multimedia a stronger element than ever before. Since the cover image is very large, it’s essential to choose a cover photo that is eye-catching and reflective of your organization. For example, a restaurant may want to display a popular menu item while a retail store may feature a popular product. It’s important to keep in mind that covers are not permitted to display any calls to action, references to pricing, contact information, a Web address or text such as “like this page” or “visit our website.” It’s essential to focus on the image and choose a photo that entices users to scroll down to learn more about your business. For details about cover photo guidelines and restrictions, please click here.
Complete Your About Section — Directly under your cover photo, two key metrics will be visible: your number of likes and the number of “people talking about this.” Under these metrics, you’ll find your About section. This section is where you can include a brief description of your business and contact information. To the right, you’ll see photos, pages that you have liked and any custom landing tabs. As the following paragraph will explain, any custom landing tabs that you have previously installed will be completely reformatted. Facebook has removed the ability to set one of these tabs up as the default image when a user arrives at your page.
Apps — Perhaps the biggest change to this new format is that default landing tabs, or customized tabs that non-fans would see first instead of the wall, are no longer allowed. With Timeline, users will always see the main page first and they will have to click through to view custom apps. In this section, you can add your custom pages, contests, promotions, coupons or media. However, these will not get the same amount of exposure as they did on traditional Facebook pages. Since these tabs will no longer be the first thing users see when they visit your page, they may not be as powerful or engaging.
Direct Messages with Fans — This new feature is a huge advantage for businesses. For the first time, Facebook users can send private messages to the owner, or Admins, of a business page. With the old layout, the only way fans could communicate with business pages was publicly, through the page’s wall. By making it possible to communicate with business owners through private messages, businesses can handle any complaints or personal matters out of the public eye, making this a better experience for both parties.
Share, Star and Hide Stories — One of the major features of Timeline is that businesses have more power than ever to share, “star” and hide stories surrounding their fan page. For example, by “starring” posts, you can choose which updates you want to drive the most traffic to and highlight historical or successful posts by you and your fans. On the other hand, you can hide or delete posts that are embarrassing, out of date or negative. Users can monitor all of these updates in Timeline’s new activity log.
Activity Log — Your activity log will be an organized list of your posts and activity, from the current date back to the very beginning of your page’s history. Through your activity log, you can control what information goes on your Timeline and what information you’d prefer to hide. You can also mark certain posts as spam and hide posts from appearing on your Timeline, but that you’d still like to store in your activity log. For more information about the features of Timeline’s activity log, click here.
How Should I Begin — To switch to Facebook Timeline, visit the Timeline for Pages preview manager, where you can walk yourself through the features discussed in this article. When you’re comfortable with how Timeline works, click the “Publish Now” button at the top of your page to show your new design to the public. If you prefer to wait until March 30th, Timeline will automatically become publicly visible and you will have to adjust your page at this time.
To find out more about Facebook Timeline, visit Facebook’s Timeline: A New Kind of Profile.
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