Seven Features of Facebook Timeline Your Small Business Needs to Know

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Whether you like it or not, Facebook has done it again: they’ve broken the mold and practically flipped business pages on their heads. In case you haven’t heard the news, Facebook Timeline for business pages has arrived!

While it’s not easy to keep up with all the changes of Facebook, this latest round of developments is certainly worth taking note of. Here are 7 new changes to Facebook business pages that you need to be aware of, and how you can implement them into your small business social media strategy.

Apps

Third party apps have been given a good shaking in this reformatting, but at the end of the day you’ll be happy to know that they still work primarily the same. Apps are no longer tabs below the Skyscraper, they’ve been moved up to sit to right just below your Cover Image. They’ve also been given full reign of the newly widened space, nearly doubling the possible width of these app images. If you already had apps installed (such as a Web123 Welcome tab), they’ll still work – they’ll just be centred in the middle of the screen.
App thumbnails give you the chance to incorporate Calls to Action on your page and direct your visitors to the applications you’ve already created. By default you’ll have 4 app thumbnails that will show up below your Cover Image, the first of which will always be Photos.
The biggest downside to the new version of apps is the inability to set a default landing page. Previously, Facebook allowed you to specify what the first thing your customers were able to see was going to be. Now visitors to your page will land on your Timeline regardless of whether you have a Welcome app.
Pro Tip: If you have a third party app that you still want to send direct traffic to like your default landing tab used to, copy the page URL of that app and use that instead of your regular page address! For ads or “like us on Facebook” buttons, just swap the regular URL out with the one specific to that app. It’s a great way of keeping the traffic going where you want it!

Pinned Posts

Everyone is up in arms about all the many rules Facebook has imposed on Cover images that prohibit you from directing your fans to taking action. Facebook’s proposed solution? Pinned Posts.

Now you have the option of featuring any one post and keeping it at the top of your page. Pinned posts will stay in the top left of your Timeline for up to 7 days, and will be marked with an orange ribbon. It’s a great way to keep certain information in front of your audience, like a promotion or other important update you want to make sure doesn’t disappear.

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Recent Posts by Others

I don’t care what anyone says about Cover Images or the demise of default landing tabs, this is the most troublesome new feature for businesses on Facebook. Up until now, every small business has had the same goal: attract fans to their page and get them interacting. With Facebook’s latest round of “upgrades”, anything your fans post to a business is now consolidated and scrunched down into a single box called “Recent Posts by Others”. What this means: You’re going to have to work harder to get your fans involved. Keep your updates as fun and interactive as you can since comments are still immediately visible, but posts directly from fans are not.
Fans now also have the option of sending your business private, direct messages. Keep an eye out for these in your page alerts – it just might be your next big sale!

Friend Activity

Facebook business pages have a simple new feature that could be worth a lot to some businesses. In a new spin on peer pressure, Facebook business page Timelines now have a box that customises for each visitor, showing that user’s friends who have either liked or recently interacted with the page. Don’t worry that you might lose business over visitors seeing a big fat zero – the box only shows up if fans have other friends who have liked the page. Prominently displaying friends liking a page might be that extra kick businesses need to get new likers.

Starred Posts

Not every post you make to your Facebook page is created equal. With the new layout, posts are now organized in chronological order across two columns in your Timeline. However, as we all know, some posts are worth a little more attention than others. Clicking the Star in the top right corner of a post will enlarge it, making it stretch across the entire width of your Timeline.
You can star posts to show off any important update that you want to increase visibility of on your page. Include images that are up to 843 by 403 and they will go across the entire width of your page. Great opportunity to show off your specials!

 

 

About

The About section of your Page has always existed, but now it’s more prominent than ever. Since the Profile Picture no longer has space for additional details about your business, this means your About section is extra important. This is both good and bad, depending on your page. Good news: You’ve got a few extra characters that can be displayed here, so you’re less likely to get your URL cropped off like you were with the old layout. (And yes! You should absolutely have your website somewhere in your About section.) Bad news: If your business Page is merged with a Places page, your About section is comprised of your contact details, and only your contact details. Facebook (as of right now) hasn’t worked out a way to allow Places pages to share their business blurb.

Milestones

Milestones are likely the least understood feature of the new Timeline design, however with a little creativity there’s a lot that small businesses can do with them. A Milestone is a retroactive post on your Timeline that relates back to a significant event in the history of your business. Think of Milestones as a way of telling the story of your business, which is different than than the day-to-day updates and industry info you may share.
If your business has been around for 100 years, you’ve probably got a lot to talk about! However if your business has only been around for a year or two, your Milestones will be pretty minimal. You can post historical Milestones that relate back to things like moving office, hiring new staff, a product launch, or any other significant event in your company’s history. Milestones can have a big, 843 pixel wide image included with them so take advantage of this visual real estate. As you’re thinking of your business’s milestones, don’t forget to mention when your new website went live!

 

If you’re a Web123 customer, we’ve got everything you need to get your business booming on Facebook Timeline. Give us a call on 1800 932 123 or check out our Facebook Timeline Design package now.

Have you converted your Page to Timeline yet? Leave a link in the comments below!

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