If you’ve logged into your Facebook business page anytime in the last few weeks, you will have noticed an alert at the top of the page letting you know that a new format, Timeline, is going to be applied to your page starting March 30. That means ready or not, your business page is about to change!
While Timeline for business pages means big differences for how you’ll need to handle your social strategy, the most immediate changes you need to be aware of are aesthetic.
Here are the primary visual changes that will take place on your Facebook business page with Timeline on or before March 30:
What exactly is “Facebook Timeline”, you ask? It’s a chronological ordering of all the updates your business has posted on its page since its very beginning. If your business has been on Facebook for a while, this could look like an awful lot of information! The updates are divided into two columns and run the length of your page. Depending on how frequently you post updates to your Facebook business page, the Timeline will probably show only posts from the most recent month, with options to view previous months or years in the top right hand corner.
If you’re just starting out on Timeline, you’ll definitely want to have a glance through your oldest posts. The oldest entry on your Timeline will be something you never even posted – the date your business was founded! Timeline allows you to add and edit historical updates, so you can add in important dates about your business from the very beginning.
The most prominent difference in Facebook’s new layout is the addition of banner images: A big, in-your-face photo that goes across the top of your Page as a splash introduction to your brand. However, don’t mistake this image for a gifted billboard from Facebook – there are very clear and strict guidelines about how this space can be used.
Things to avoid: Calls to action (no more “like this!” or arrows), any contact details (including web address, sadly), any specials or promotions.
Feeling like Facebook has left you with nothing left to talk about? You’re not alone. Businesses everywhere are trying to rethink their social branding as quickly as they can. Focus on illustrating your brand, and emphasising what you do (it’s ok to mention your offerings as long as you exclude pricing and avoid using anything salesy). The image should be 851 x 315 pixels, and should be a visual representation of your business. Consider showcasing past work, featuring clients, or just using a fun visual that is closely tied to your business.
Just when you had that Skyscraper image for your page down to an art, Facebook’s shaking things up again. Within a Skyscraper image, only a small square of it was visible in the thumbnail – the tiny image that appears next to your name throughout the rest of the site. Now the Skyscraper has been replaced with a Profile Image, which is cropped down just to the thumbnail. The new image is 180 x 180 pixels. Unlike the Skyscraper, the full image will be visible in your thumbnail – nothing is cropped.
The Profile Image is, without doubt, the most visible part of your Facebook business page. It’s the image that appears next to your name in search, Newsfeed, and comments on other people’s posts. That means that your Profile Image should be concise, bold, and instantaneously recognised as part of your brand. Facebook recommends using your logo for this if possible. If your business doesn’t have a strong logo, you can use another image that is a strong representation of your brand, or [[we can help get you a better one]]. Just be careful about including any text here because it will shrink down quite a bit on the rest of the site.
Wondering what happened to your Welcome tab? The default landing tab image you spent all that time and effort working into the perfect combination of business strategy, compelling offer, and fun? While the new Timeline layout means that design isn’t going to automatically be the first thing that visitors to your page see now, it doesn’t mean that it’s gone either.
Your Welcome Tab (as well as any other third party application you might have had a tab for previously), will still be there – just in a new place. Every page will have 4 apps boxes on the right side of their page below the Cover Image, the first of which wil be the Photos app by default. Up to 12 apps can be seen by clicking the arrow to expand the section – if you have more than 12 apps on your page you should remove any you don’t use since they will be hidden.
The content of these apps (Welcome Tabs, forms, etc) will stay exactly as they were previously. The new Timeline layout allows your app images to be much wider, but rather than distort the images from your old apps it will simply centre them on the page. That means you don’t need to freak out about all your hard work going down the drain – the design stays the same, it’s just in a new place!
The one entirely new feature that Timeline allows you with third party apps is to add a custom thumbnail image for each app. Since you can’t use Calls to Action in your Cover Image, this is the perfect place to give your fans direction. Use the app thumbnails to promote your services and get more likes.
Have you already switched your page over to Timeline? Leave a link to it in the comments, we’d love to see your design!