By now, everybody and their sister knows that Facebook rolled out Timeline for Pages at some point late last night. As I write this, you’ve got through March to get your page Timeline-ready. You can preview the Timeline version of it, before actually publishing it, so you can figure out what needs to be fixed.
Now, for me and my pages, this was no big deal. I’ve been ready for this move for sometime now, and I never added any default landing pages or fan gates to my pages.
But for those of you who did — who (worse) maybe spent good money hiring people like me to make those Pages pretty and compelling?
You’re probably a wee bit pissed off right about now. And this time I can’t blame you.
The Sucky Part of the Timeline Rollout
Full disclosure: I totally heart Timeline.
Whenever I read “Timeline SUCKS” posts on FB, I feel compelled to pipe in with a “Why on earth would you not LOVE Timeline?!” post, with all the reasons why I love it.
This time, however, page owners may have a legitimate gripe.
That gripe: default landing tabs have disappeared. Your fan gates too, possibly. (That’s the “like this page to ____________” where you fill in the blank with any call to action you might want a prospect to take, such as enter a contest, get/request free white papers, or even see the rest of your FB page content).
So, yes, that sucks. What doesn’t?
The Non-Sucky Parts of Timeline for Pages
Yes, there are a few!
First things first: educate yourself a little bit with this official release from FB on Timeline for Pages.
Tabs Are Bigger
We still have tabs, AND they’re wider than before, now at 810 px. Also? You can still have fan gates, apparently. Just make sure you keep in mind the new dimensions when you’re creating them.
Better Admin Controls in Admin Panel
The new admin panel covers all the salient information you need to know about your Pages.
Your notifications are now spelled out for you, associated with avatar images. You also can see recent “likes” in a separate section, and a graph of Insights.
And see that right-hand section labeled “Messages”? Yeah, about that …
Send and Receive Messages As Page
Self-explanatory, I hope. You’ll see those in the upper-right section of your admin panel.
More Control Over Posts Placement on Page
If you want to stress or call attention to a particular update or post, simply click on the star icon in that post’s area to make it wider. You can also click the pencil icon to move a post to the top of the page, or hide or delete it from your page altogether.
THAT COVER PHOTO!
This deserves caps and the exclamation point. The cover photo is seriously the most cool aspect of Timeline, and it offers businesses a great opportunity to visually stun and communicate the brand.
But you need to know a few things first, before you go rooting around at iStockPhoto.com. There are a few rules you’ll need to follow, so don’t fire up the Photoshop just yet:
Sizing of Cover Photos: You can use any image up to 850×315 in pixels. Once you upload the photo, you’ll be prompted to drag and reposition the photo for maximum impact, so if part of the image is cut off, this is how you fix that.
What’s Prohibited: The cover photo should be a photo first and foremost, or at least an image. To that end, Facebook has decided that certain content is inappropriate and off-limits — and yes, I agree with them:
- Price or purchase information (e.g., “10% off” or “Buy at our website.”
- Contact information (e.g., your URL, email address, site location, or anything for which there’s a space in your “About” section)
- References to Facebook features or UI elements (e.g., the “Like” or “Share” features)
- Calls to action (e.g., “Sign up now” or “Share with your friends”)
Image Selection: The cover photo is a great way to express your brand! Don’t just slap any old image up there. Look for images that communicate visually and emotionally with your ideal clients.
Create Milestones to Tell Your Brand’s Story
Another nifty feature of Timeline is the “milestones” option. You can basically add key events in your business’s lifespan to your page’s Timeline, in order to tell your business’s marketing story in a compelling, evocative way.
Report them to Facebook here. If you’d like to change the name of your page, you can request that here (note: I don’t know whether the rule about being stuck with page names if you have over 100 likes is still in effect or has been abrogated).
What do you think? Love Timeline? Hate it? Fear it? Not sure? What are you doing to make the most of this change? Share in the comments!