As you have probably noticed by now Facebook is making a big change to the way we use our business pages. On March 30, 2012 Facebook’s new Timeline will be in full effect for both personal and business pages.
The most obvious new feature of Timeline is the Cover Photo, it’s a BIG change that takes over some valuable real estate. Facebooks’ grand plan of incorporating such a large image into the top of the layout has resulted in post content being moved a long way down the page, this will be giving our scrolling fingers an extra workout as well. I personally find the change questionable for a number of reasons, but Timeline does have some features that will actually help you promote your business to your audience, and it certainly opens up a new playground for page creativity.
What you need to know
Your Cover Photo is the first impression visitors receive – it COUNTS! Basic rules of thumb – make sure you upload an image here that is sized correctly. There isn’t a better way to say your business lacks professionalism than having a pixelated image stretched across your business page. Make sure you use an image editing program like Photoshop to size your image or graphic correctly.
New Timeline Cover Photo Dimensions
Width: 851 pixels
Height: 315 pixels
There is alot you can do with the cover photo spot – just get creative or hire someone who is. Always think about marketing opportunities, use the space to your advantage and make sure it reflects your companies mandate. However, with that in mind, they are a few things that Facebook says you CANNOT do in the space that are well worth noting.
Facebook has a number of rules regarding the new timeline cover photo:
- You cannot include a website address, email, or information that should go into your pages ‘About’ section.
- You cannot make references to Facebook features or actions, no “Like us” or “Share us” text, or arrows pointing from the cover photo to any of these features etc. All the fun you had with your welcome pages is over!
- You cannot use the spot to advertise promotions, show pricing, sales, discounts, or call to action type messaging.
- Third-party advertisements on Pages are prohibited. That means you cannot sell that big cover image as advertising space or use it to promote another business.
Now granted there are going to be some grey areas here, and how facebook is going to be able to monitor Cover Photo abuse on the millions of brand pages across the globe I’m not really sure. I’ve already seen the rules broken a number of times now, it will be interesting to see these pages develop over time.
Profile pictures have also been resized – getting smaller this time. The days of the long skinny image are over, the new profile pic is square in dimension. This simplifies thumbnails at the same time. Also of note, is that profile pictures now overlap the cover photo – this is a big opportunity to be creative. Have a look around and you’ll find some really cool ideas playing on this. I may share a few of the inspired solutions I’ve personally come across in an upcoming post.
Facebook is asking that your profile picture is uploaded at 180 pixels x 180 pixels which will be automatically scaled down to 160 pixels x 160 pixels.
What else is new?
Milestones let you add important dates from your history to the Timeline. When visitors scroll through your brand page, they can view big achievements or important steps your company has made, instead of just your most recent posts.
You can add when your company was founded, when a new product was launched, moving to a new location, a new employee etc. To add a milestone just click on “milestone” where you would normally post a status update. For your first milestone you’ll be prompted to add your companies founded date, after that you can add more custom milestones. Milestones can be pretty much anything, and can include photos, location and an optional ‘story’ or description. This is where the concept of timeline plays nicely for companies – it’s a live company timeline, and can be a nice motivator for small business as well – setting and achieving goals that you can then share with your audience.
Milestone Image Dimensions
Width: 843 pixels
Height: 403 pixels
This new feature is something I didn’t even know I needed – but I do! It’s a useful feature to help manage pages with alot of user interaction. Often our important posts get pushed down a page when users post to it. Pinning is like sticky tape or more true to it’s name – adding a push pin to your post. Pin to top, under the edit pencil icon on your post, makes your post the most recent post until the pin setting is removed. You can tell if your post has been pinned by the little yellow ribbon icon on it’s top edge. Pins stay ‘Pinned’ for seven days, unless unpinned earlier.
Highlighting a post makes it full width. You’ll notice pages now have two columns. Recent content is shared across them from top to bottom. Although readers are somewhat programmed to read the left hand column, facebook users are constantly being trained to adapt and will get the hang of reading that right hand side as well. However, you can command an audience to your post by clicking the star icon on your post to highlight it. This will make the post bigger and span it across both columns. As with pinning you can highlight it at anytime. Note, that Pinned posts cannot also be highlighted and vice versa, also be aware that the highlighted image is almost as large as your cover photo and in most cases will pixelate noticably – so highlight with care.
Highlight Image Dimensions
Width: 843 pixels
Height: 403 pixels
Of course there are a number of other new features timeline brings with it, including the new insights panel. However, the features mentioned here are the bigger more visible changes, and these tips should help get you well on your way to working and promoting your business with Facebooks new Timeline.
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