If you’ve logged into Facebook in the last couple of months, you’ll no doubt be fully aware of the Timeline – a drastically different redesign of the profile, intended to plot out your life from birth to present, neatly segmented into days, weeks, months & years.
Well, now the time has come for brands to begin grappling with the new format.
The Brand timeline looks much the same as the personal one, but has implications on the way your brand is represented on Facebook and the way you will run any future Facebook campaigns. Don’t get left behind – read our comprehensive guide to get your brand page ready for the change at the end of March.
The Cover photo: Social media real estate or just a pretty picture?
It used to be all about your profile picture, now it’s the cover photo.
Think of it as the digital equivalent of a beautiful poster advertisement, or perhaps the cover of your brand’s digital magazine. Here’s Champneys’ new Facebook page…
Now this might sound like the cover photo is a prime piece of real estate, perfect for loading with promotions, links and more but unfortunately, that’s not the way Facebook want this image to be used.
Make sure your cover photo does not include the following:
- Contact details – That’s essentially anything that you would have in your About section. No links, email addresses or postal addresses.
- References to Facebook’s user interface – You can’t ask your fans to Like or Share.
- Promotions – No references to discounts, coupons or prizes.
- Calls to action – Don’t tell your audience what to do.
Facebook also states that your cover photo should not be primarily text based. This is a place for images, not words.
So what can you include?
We recommend choosing an attractive, impactful image that shows off your brand to its fullest. Perhaps a picture of a location, someone using your product or some iconic brand imagery.
Please note the optimum size for a cover image is 851 pixels x 315 pixels.
The profile picture shrinks
Whist the profile picture is still in use, it has now shrunk to a square image of a minimum of 180 pixels wide.
You’re limited on space now, so don’t clutter it with needless text and imagery; keep it simple and to the point with a recognisable image or your logo.
Apps go up top
Previously listed down the side, now your apps sit right at the top of your page, next to your About info section.
There’s a positive aspect to this change as it means your apps are now just under your eye catching cover photo, perfect for being seen.
The downside is that only 4 of your apps are immediately visible, and Photos always takes the top spot. You’re able to add up to 12 but after the first 4, the rest will be hidden behind a drop down menu. Choose wisely!
Also, forget the days of a custom landing tab, now the Timeline takes all the glory, so ensure it’s up to scratch before you launch.
Get closer to your customers – Private Messaging for Brands
Facebook have extended their messaging feature to brand pages. If you wish, your users will be able to privately message you by clicking a ‘Message’ button. It’s up to you whether you wish to use this feature or not, but this may be an excellent way of streamlining online customer service and taking a difficult conversation out of the public eye.
Choose your favourite posts
The new timeline displays posts in a different way to what you will be used to.
No longer a straight list of chronological posts, the page defaults to a Highlights view, displaying the most recent posts, and then picking important posts from each month, condensing the timeline as you scroll down.
But if you’re worried about excellent content getting lost in the rush, don’t worry.
Facebook allows you to get creative with your organisation of content.
First is the pinning feature. You may pin any post to the top of the page, which will then stay there for 7 days. This is excellent for sending brand new fans the right message. Have a fantastic promotion to shout about? Ensure your new fans get the message straight away by pinning.
Second is the highlighting feature, a small star icon in the corner of each post that allows you to expand the post to its full width. Want to give that beautiful photo a bit more prominence? No problem, highlight it!
Telling the brand story: Events & Milestones
The new Facebook timeline is designed to tell your story, whether it’s of an individual or a brand.
Individual users have been retroactively marking important events on their timeline, from birth to graduation to marriage.
Why not do this as a brand and tell your story? It could be the launch of your brand, with a charming vintage image to illustrate it or the release of an innovative new product. Let your users learn about the history of your brand.
Subway have gone right back to the beginning with the opening of their first store.