Facebook Timeline for Business: What’s new?

Facebook Timeline is coming to brand pages whether we like it or not so lets get to the bottom of what it means for your business. There’s a fair bit of reluctance out there…. but lets embrace the change and make the most of it. On 30th March your page will be changed by Facebook anyway so better to be prepared, understand the changes and amend your social media strategy accordingly.

Page layout

There is now a large cover image at the top with an avatar underneath and a chronological series of updates, including posts where others have commented on your brand. There are rules about what you can and can’t include on your cover image (such as no contact details!) which you can read here.

Red Bull Facebook Timeline

Whereas before you only had an avatar and possibly a welcome page to ‘brand’ your company, there is now more scope to make an impact upon first visit. Although individuals may only visit your page once when they first decide whether or not to ‘like’ you, it is an opportunity to brand your page so that it represents your company and what you’re about. Notice how Red Bull’s image is not a photo of a can!

If you want to design your own cover image, the size needs to be 850 x 315 pixels.

Underneath this the rest of the page consists of a chronological timeline which is similar to your personal profile. The focus now then is on content and what you want to be seen by people. More of that in the next blog post.

Tabs

You used to see: info, wall, photos etc, down the left hand side of your page – only 4 of these are visible now and one of them has to include photos. So have a think about what you want people to see. Depending on your location, you may not need people to see the map and opt for something more interesting instead. Brighton Source, for example, have opted for this image which matches their current issue and looks great!

Brighton Source Facebook Timeline

Messaging feature

Your fans can now interact with your business (if you choose not to disable this option) although you have to wait for them to start messaging; you can’t initiate the conversation. This needs careful consideration – by not disabling this feature, you could be opening up your brand to comments, questions or abuse that you are not prepared to handle. However, if you choose to leave this feature active and have a strategy in place, you are actually promoting your brand as one that is prepared to listen to customers and could repsond to questions, gather valuable feedback and diffuse negative comments.

Admin panel

I think this is a really useful layout, giving you a snapshot of notifications, messages, new likes and insights. You can expand them all for a more complete view of the data. The information here is really important so don’t ignore this panel; it gives you the data you need to tailor and schedule your updates for maximum impact/reach.

Transparent Metrics

Don’t be scared but anyone can now see any brand page’s metrics which include largest group check in’s (if your page is also a place), most popular age group, city and week. Find a business page on Facebook Timeline and click on the ‘Likes’ tab to the right of photos to see some data about them.

Now this might seem scary to a lot of businesses but social media best practice is all about embracing transparency and so at least you now have the chance to see how other people are growing communities and monitor the performance of your competitors.

There is more emphasis now on what content you post and how you can manage the posts on your page, which warrants a separate blog post – watch this space!

Have you taken the plunge yet or holding on until the last minute?