Thursday, 22 March 2012

Be Prepared for your New Facebook Business Page Timeline

A new era of Facebook pages is upon us. Facebook is moving from the old layout to a new Timeline layout. You can upgrade your Facebook Business page to the new Timeline layout by previewing it in the Preview button at the top of the page. However, on the 30th March this year all Business Pages will change over to this new layout, so be prepared! Here are some changes to prepare yourself for.

No Welcome page
There is now no Welcome page to encourage people to like you page. The loss of this feature seems such a shame, since using a well designed welcome page acts as an Fan gate, enticing a Fan to Like the page, perhaps even offering an incentive, such as access to more information or entry into a competition. Apps and pages made using HTML are still allowed however they are now accessed under the Cover Image as tabbed boxes. Be sure to remove your Welcome pages on the switch over of your business pages to the time line, as these pages will be added under the new square tabs and are redundant. Coca Cola's Facebook page have already moved to the new timeline layout but have forgotten to remove their Welcome page, which doesn't look good especially since it is the wrong size to fit the new Timeline layout.

New Cover Image
As well as you profile image, which is now fixed at 200px by 200px, your page now has a Cover image. Cover photos are 851px wide by 315px tall. If you upload an image that's smaller than these dimensions, it will get stretched to this larger size. Your Profile picture overlays the Cover image slightly. This is a large banner running the width of your page. It looks aesthetically pleasing I must say. It can be moved vertically up and down to position you can see the most out of your photo. This can be done using the button on the Cover Image, drop down option called Reposition.

Some large companies such as Old Spice have specifically designed their Cover Image to the correct size and their Profile image to look like they fit together. Very cleverly done.

The Cover image however while banner like, is not to be used to advertise your company. Facebook states that "This space is not meant for promotions, coupons, or advertisements. Your cover photo should not be primarily text-based or infringe on anyone else’s copyright.". So nice looking photos, graphics and design is the way to go.

Moveable Favourite Tabs
Your photographs, video and applications are all now in the form of tabs under your Cover image to the right, and are known as Favourites. By clicking on an arrow next to the tabs you can reposition these tabs to have your favourite or best tabs on display or hidden. Four is the most you can have in a line under your Cover image, these can be seem on your page. Any other favourites you select from the list will be shown in a drop down list under these four, so think carefully about your best assests and what you want your Liker's to see at first glance.

About Information
Your about Information is now under your Cover image and to the left of your Favourites tabs. This allows hyperlinks, so make the most of it to drive people back to visit your website.

Timeline Features
As the new layout is based around a Timeline there is now a line of months running down the right hand of the screen, starting with the date you founded your Facebook page to present day. You can add extra information to the Founded section if you wish. You can also add other Milestones, by selecting Milestone in where you would make wall posts. When you post to your wall now you can add year, month and date to your post, which will place the post on at it's appropriate time on the Timeline. This allows you to control posts on your timeline, changing there sequence in time to how you they happened or the order you want them to be shown.

Now you can highlight your wall posts by clicking on the Star button at the side of the wall post. This will make the post the full size of the Timeline, hence highlighting it.

While it's sad that the old style Facebook pages will be no more, leaving behind the Welcome page, Facebook's new Timeline layout is moving to the future, providing a better way to display all our content uploaded over the years since we signed up and allowing us to note and highlight important milestone's in our lives, even ones which pre-date Facebook. This along with a sleek new looking page style, focusing on graphics, should serve us better in our use of Facebook for the future.


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