Everything You Need To Know (And More) About Facebook Timelines For Brands

By Cara Friedman The day has finally arrived! You can now enable a timeline for your brand's Facebook page. When timelines initially rolled out for profiles, marketers knew that pages were next. When you visit your brand's Facebook page you, will be prompted to preview what your timeline would look like. This gives you time to edit and perfect your timeline before you officially launch it to the public. All pages will convert to brand timelines on March 30th. Those who have been avid haters of timeline have no choice but to convert. Here are the significant changes you'll see to your page.

Cover Photo - Just like profiles, brands will now have a cover photo. This is the first thing a visitor to your page will see.  This provides a place to show off a unique and creative image that represents your brand.   Be creative and have fun, while keeping in mind cover photos may NOT contain pricing, purchase or contact info, as well as any Facebook elements such as 'Like' or 'Share' or any other calls to action.

Smaller Profile Picture - This is a great place for a logo, but that is all you can fit. Save your design and creativity for the cover photo, and use your profile picture as the place where users identify your brand.

Apps Instead of Tabs - No more tabs! You now get room for 12 apps with only 4 of them being showcased at the top of your page. The others can be viewed if you click "view all." Your tabs will be converted to apps automatically, so there is no need to reconfigure much. However, when you click on your tabs, you will likely have a lot of white space. The dimensions for tabs have changed, and you now have more room for creative. Eventually, you will likely want to readjust your tabs and apps to fit the space appropriately.

Landing Tabs - Looks like this feature is gone! When you visit a page that you are not a fan of, you will not get prompted to their welcome page. That just reinforces the need to have a great cover photo.

Friend Activity - Facebook strives to integrate friend activity into every aspect of your Facebook experience, and now it is the first thing you see on the brand page; if your friends like a page or interact on the page, you will know it.

Pinned Posts -  If you have an important post that you don't want to get lost in the shuffle, you can "pin it" to the top of your page. Every time you post something new, this post will still stay at the top. This is a great feature for ongoing contests or deals so you don't have to re-post about them everyday.

More Visuals - Not only does the cover photo give you more photo space, but now your stories are larger as well. When you post an image or a link, the space is much larger and gives a heavier focus to the visual. The most engaging and noticeable posts will be the ones with eye-catching pictures.

Milestones - Telling a story about your brand has never been easier. Start from the beginning, and tell the story of your brand: how you started, milestones, special events, and more. In the past, most people engaged with brands through their news feed, but now people may be spending more time browsing through your actual page starting from the beginning! Use the star feature to save posts and stories you love, and add milestones by clicking on the center line or adding them in where you would post daily content.

Admin Panel - Facebook is working on giving page admins a larger overview of what's going on with their page. Charts and numbers are prominently featured at the top of your page, so you can be checking in all day long. New notifications and "likes" are displayed on the panel as well as check-ins and the ability to share the page. Everything involved with managing your page and creating ads can be done straight from the panel. The most significant change comes in the form of messaging. Brands will now be able to send private messages to users who interact on their pages. Instead of emailing a user privately, you can handle your customer service issues directly on Facebook.

For a quick course on brand timelines, you can take one here or take a tour from Facebook. This is likely just the beginning. Today at fMC, they will be announcing brand timelines and other significant changes. Stay tuned and watch live starting at 1PM EST!

Update 2:30PM EST:

As suspected, several more changes were announced at fMC. Here are some of the highlights!

Focus on Stories- A common theme today is that idea that Facebook pages are the mission control for businesses. From there, you can make various types of ads that are all story driven. Here are some of the premium ad products brands can choose:

  • Reach Generator - This is a premium ad service for big businesses. Instead of paying by click or impression, it is an ongoing sponsorship that guarantees one sponsored post a day and a 75% reach over a month. Beta partners have shown significant increases in fan counts.
  • Mobile Ads - Ads will now show up on the Facebook mobile application in the newsfeed. There are tons of users who use Facebook on their phones so this will increase your ads visibility.
  • Ads When You Logout - Apparently, a significant number of people log out of Facebook everyday. Now, when you log out of Facebook you will see more ads.

Although I applaud the leap from ads to stories, I worry that these premium ads will leave small business with little ad visibility. Previously a platform for everyone, it seems that ads are now targeting exclusively with those who have big enough pockets to pay for them.

Brand timelines, Premium Ads - Love it or hate it? Share your thoughts in the comments below! Download our free webinar recording How Brands Can Leverage Facebook’s Timeline and All of Facebook’s Newest Changes.