What You Need to Know about Facebook Timeline for Pages
If you have a Facebook Page, you most likely have heard about the switch to the “Timeline” layout. You may have even taken a look at the Preview of what your Page looks like in Timeline mode. You have until March 30 to make adjustments to your Page before the Timeline will be rolled out for everyone.
You can try the preview and then, when you’ve made the necessary adjustments, publish your Timeline ahead of schedule. Realize that once the Timeline is published, you can’t go back to the old version. In any case, everyone will have the Timeline layout on March 30. Just click the blue Preview button to get started.
Once you click the Preview button, you may have to toggle back to your personal profile rather than being logged in as your Page. To do so, on the right sidebar, click the Use Facebook as “your name” hyperlink and you see the Timeline preview. The Start Tour button will give you a good overview.
Here are the major highlights about the switch to Timeline.
Your cover photo on Facebook’s Timeline
The Timeline Cover Photo is the central part of your Facebook branding. The default landing tab is now no longer available (more on that later), and you need to have a well-designed cover photo to showcase your Page. But there are some restrictions as to what you can and can’t have on your cover photo.
Per Facebook, your cover photo can’t contain:
Any call to action such as “Click Like” or share our page
Anything about your prices or a promotion
Contact information like your phone number, address, or website
This makes your cover photo more challenging. But use the space to tell your story with pictures and maybe some words. Make sure you are adhering to the guidelines.
The picture you use for the cover photo must be a minimum of 399 pixels across (most standard photos are) and the maximum dimensions are 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels high. The profile picture is now reduced to 180 pixels x 180 pixels. If you were using a longer profile picture before, the thumbnail will still appear in your profile picture but you may want to update that for the future.
Timeline custom tabs and applications
There is no longer a Default Landing Tab option for Timelines. But if you have added Applications to your Page, they are still there and they appear right below your cover photo. You now have 12 Applications you can showcase but only the 4 applications that you move to the top row will appear prominently. You cannot change the position of the Photos so technically you only have 3 Applications that you have control over in that top row. If you have more than 12 Applications, they will be hidden.
You can have calls to action in your Custom Tab Images or Custom Tab Names to draw more attention to your offer or application. Notice Macy’s “Win a Million” tab title and also FB Marketing All-in-One for Dummies image “Download your FREE chapter today!”
If you do have a custom tab on your Page, the size is now wider, increasing from 520 pixels across to 810 pixels across.
Content and layout with Timeline
Facebook is emphasizing telling your story with the Timeline. You now have more flexibility with how your Page looks and what you want to highlight. You can pin images to the top of the page for 7 days, highlight a story to make it larger, and add Milestones.
Pinning a story to the top of the page will make this story more visible for anyone visiting your page. Choose something you want people to notice.
Highlight a story by clicking on the star icon and it will then span across the Timeline and be noticeable for people scrolling through your Timeline. Unfortunately, at this writing, it appears that a story cannot be both pinned and highlighted.
Timeline’s Admin Panel and new message feature
When you do officially make the switch to the Timeline, you see the Admin Panel at the top of your Page when you log in. Obviously this is only visible to you as the Admin. The information here is very similar to what you had before, but it is more prominent.
Another new feature with Timelines is the ability for a Page to get messages from their Fans. The Message button is enabled by default so if you want to disable private messaging navigate to the Manage Permissions area by clicking the admin settings hyperlink. Messages can only be initiated by a Fan. They cannot be initiated by the Page to a Fan. The Page can reply to a message first sent in to the Page, but cannot send out private messages to all the fans.
Now that you are familiar with the Timeline changes, take some time to add all the necessary elements to your Page Timeline. Once your new Timeline looks good, click the green Publish Now button. Remember, there is no turning back! But Timeline will be here sooner or later, so why not get your Page up and telling your story to the world?