Today Facebook announced that all Facebook business pages will switch to "Timeline" on March 30. You’ve probably noticed the new format on personal profile pages and at the end of next month your page will get the same look. I know what you’re thinking… “I was JUST getting my page to the point where I was happy with it and now it’s all going to change?!?” Like it or not, the answer is yes. Here are a few things that you can do to be ready for the switch:
Take the Tour
A great way to familiarize yourself with the Facebook Timeline is to spend 10 minutes clicking through the tour (offered at the top of your Facebook page when you are logged in as YOURSELF not your page). There are helpful hyperlinks embedded throughout that will give you detail where you need it.
Start thinking about a cover image
The flashiest feature of the new timeline layout is the cover image. You don’t want to be left “image-less” on March 30 so start thinking now about what you would like that image to look like. If you’re comfortable with pixels, the dimensions are 838 x 311 pixels. Otherwise, look for an image that is wide and short. Scenic pictures work well too. For a few great cover images, check out Southwest Airlines, Nike, Xbox, Starbucks, and Ford. A few tips to stay out of trouble with Facebook: Don’t include sale/promo information, calls to action (especially “like” or “share”), or contact information in your cover image.
Update your profile photo
Facebook has now locked us into a square profile picture – gone are the days of long vertical profile pictures. I would strongly recommend using your logo as your profile picture now. If you need help getting it sized in the 180 pixel square, give me a call, I’m happy to help!
Timeline is all about calling attention to what is most important to your fans. As a page admin you have a lot of power to select which images, links, and actions you want to highlight. Take time now to look through your page and select the milestones, most engaging content, and important mentions. If you’re prepared, it will make the switch a lot smoother.
Familiarize yourself with the new admin panel
The admin panel is an interesting addition that I wasn’t expecting. I’m still trying to decide if I like it but regardless, it’s there so we all have to learn it now! Basically the admin panel is a single dashboard that shows you the info you used to get from four different places. Notifications, new likes, page insights, and the newest feature, messages, are all accessible from the panel. That brings me to the next feature…
Respond to messages
Facebook page fans can now send your organization a private message. Don’t get too excited – you can’t send messages to those fans, they have to initiate the conversation. Still, this is an exciting feature but is only useful is you RESPOND to the messages that you receive!
For the next month Facebook is giving page administrators the opportunity to prep their page for the switch. Don't ignore this chance because on March 30, your page will go live with the Timeline layout whether you're ready or not. Timeline will be an adjustment for your business page. People are still grumbling about it on their personal profiles. On the bright side, think of the Timeline switch as a way to reinvent and reinvigorate your page. The biggest thing to note about the switch is that Timeline puts a STRONG emphasis on visual sharing. Photos, videos, and links will be the new bread and butter of Facebook posting.
As with anything on social media, if we don’t adapt, we lose our relevancy. So be nimble, innovative, and adaptive, after all, knowing Facebook, it will probably all change again in six months!
Feel free to contact me with any Facebook or Timeline questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.