Facebook has officially announced the rollout of Timeline for Brand Pages on March 30th. Right now there is the option to make the change, play around with the format and publish Timeline early, but as of March 30th all brand Pages will be automatically converted to the Timeline format.
There are some major changes to Pages with the switch to Timeline format: Cover photos, custom tabs being converted to Apps, the ability to “Pin” or highlight stories, messaging between brands and users, Timeline milestones and a new Admin panel. So how can you utilize these changes to customize your brand’s Timeline?
Cover Art: There is now a space at the top of the Page dedicated to a piece of branded cover art. This gives you the opportunity to make your page more impactful and custom to your brand. The maximum Cover Art size is space is 850 x 315px. The picture must be a minimum of 399px wide, but the smaller the picture the more likely it is to look pixilated or stretched. Facebook is maintaining some control over these images saying: “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.“ Your cover should reflect your brand visually, not through a call for action or promotion.
Timeline/Milestones: The Timeline format allows Brands to fill in their history, even from before their Facebook page was created. Brands can add “Milestones” to give fans of the page insights into their history and culture. For example: Product Launches, Store openings, leadership changes etc. Brands can use this format to engage with their fans not only about the brands milestones, but also fans memories of the brand.
Custom Tabs/Apps: The new format no longer has the left-side panel of links to apps and tab; it has been replaced with rectangular boxes below the cover page. You can have 12 of these apps, with 4 featured prominently on the page, right below the cover art. Photos will always be one of the top 4 apps, but the other 3 are interchangeable. App images are now 111×74 and these images are one of the first things users will see when they get to your page. While there is no longer a default landing page, the new apps give you the opportunity to be creative to encourage users to check out your apps and landing pages. The Timeline format is very image heavy- most of the tabs should be images with very little text. The landing pages for apps are also changing; they are now 810px giving Pages much more space and opportunity for creative apps and custom landing pages.
Pinning/Highlighted Stories: While there is no longer a default landing page, brands can still control what fans see when they first visit the Page by “pinning” stories to the top of the Timeline. Brands can pin one story at a time, and it will remain at the top of the page for 7 days, or until another story is pinned. This is a great way to show off current promotions, new products or important updates. You can also highlight a story so that it spans the entire page, rather than showing up on one side of the timeline.
Messaging between Brands and Users: Previously, the only way users could communicate with brands on Facebook was through public posts on the brand’s wall. With these changes Facebook has added messaging for brand Pages. However, brands cannot reach out to users, they can only respond to user messages. This can be used to deal directly with user questions/concerns, and also can help to keep some clutter off of the Timeline.
Admin Panel: The admin panel now shows up at the top of the page when you are logged in as an admin, making it easier to update and access information. All of your notifications, messages, new likes and page tips show up in the panel, as well as an option for Insights after 30 likes. Facebook has also added a “Build Audience” tab where brands can invite their email contacts to visit their Page. The new panel is much more user friendly for admins.