The Clock Is Ticking—Are You Ready?

Facebook Timeline Goes Live for ALL Fan Pages on March 30

I must confess. I didn’t willingly jump on the Facebook Timeline bandwagon. I went there grumbling. Sometimes as a communication consultant, I’m forced to go places sooner than I would otherwise in order to guide my clients through the process. Once there, however, I find there are some treasures to be found. Such is the case with Facebook’s Timeline.

Soon that choice will be no longer. Whether you want to or not, you’ll be forced to embrace Timeline come March 30. So, you might as well jump in with two feet now and use the preview time to fine tune your page. You’ll probably find the water is quite pleasant. I did.

But enough of the analogies, here are the top things you need to know to get started. The rest, you can build along the way.

The Cover Image Is Crucial

Why? Think of it as your welcome mat. It’s prime real estate baby—851 x 315 pixels worth. So don’t just slap any ol’ photo up there. Spend a lot of your creative juices on this space. You’ll be glad you did. Here are some tips:

Convey something about you or your business—a big something, so visitors grasp what you’re about before they read your wall

  • Tell a story
  • Make it about your fans
  • Change it up regularly and think strategically about those changes
  • Think outside the-one-single-big-photo box—while it’s one big image area, it doesn’t have to be a single photo
  • Rock the-one-single-big-photo if you do use one—make it really say something
  • DON’T include call to actions—of any kind—it’s a big no-no

Mari Smith—you know she’s about Facebook

Lujure—does this look like one photo to you?

Mari Method—you know how she can help you and who she already has

Kiyonna—they change it up regularly and feature their customers

Profile Photos Are Small Again

If you took advantage of the tall, vertical space that Facebook gave us for our profile avatars, you’ll want to rethink that for March 30. All profile pics are 30 pixels square. Period.

Custom Tabs Are Now Apps—However Default Tabs Are No More

At first glance, it looks like all the custom tabs you created go away with Timeline. Not so. They’re simply renamed and relocated. Tabs are now apps—complete with their custom URLs, so you can drive people to any landing page from your campaigns, site, etc. They’re just beneath your cover image and like/message buttons. And, you can:

  • Choose which apps are in the featured four (there’s a number with a drop down, telling visitors you have other apps, too)
  • Customize the thumbnail used for each app, including adding call to actions

Notice how Carolyn Rife Photography, who rocks the-one-single-big-photo, has photos, likes, contacts, and photo contest in her app area or how Lujure promotes their app builder, webinars, and support.

Pin and Highlight Posts Should Feature Prominently in Your Page Strategy

Ever wish you could keep a critical wall post high on your wall for more than a few minutes, hours, days? Now you can. Just pin it. You can pin a post for up to seven days, but limit it to one or two days, rotating out your featured story. Simply click the pencil in the upper right corner of your post, and select “Pin to Top.”

Another way to make a post pop is to use the highlight feature. Click the star in the upper right corner of your post, next to the pencil and voila! Your post now spans both columns on your page.

Photos REALLY Have Impact Now

Photos appear a lot larger in Timeline, making associated posts jump. Start using them if you’re not. Use them more, if you already are—but don’t overdo it. And be strategic about it. Facebook also lets you reposition photos. Simply click the handy pencil in the upper right corner, select reposition photo, move it to where you’d like it, and click save.

Other Important Stuff to Look at in the Very Near Future

There are a lot of other changes that you’ll want to incorporate as you manage your page, beyond the important stuff above, including

  • Milestones
  • Messages
  • Like button
  • Interest lists
  • Personalization
  • Admin Panel

If you’re anxious to get started on these and more, read this great article by Mari Smith, Facebook guru extraordinaire, for her insights on these topics: Facebook Timeline for Business Pages.

And if you want me to go into detail about any one of these areas, just ask. Questions are my favorite blog topic resource. 🙂

avery@aveconsulting.com' About Avery Horzewski

Principal of AVE Consulting, Avery is a marketing and customer communications consultant, and serves on WIC's board of directors as president. As a consultant, she works with companies of all sizes to develop compelling, persuasive, and effective customer-centric marketing and communication strategies that encompass everything from websites to social media to print collateral. Avery assumed the role of WIC president in January 2010, after overseeing the organization’s marketing, PR, social media, and website initiatives for three years.

Comments

  1. Great overview, didn’t know about the ability for businesses to pin to top, sounds like a great tool. I’m a fan of the new timeline format overall, images yes but also my brain works chronologically, so appreciate being able to scroll back through time and remember, for example, what my favorite business recommended *last* New Years when planning this year.

  2. Thanks Lisa! And yes, the ability to go back and find a post from a specific period of time is a great capability. And I’m sure your favorite business LOVES you interacting with their page that way. 🙂

  3. Great post, Avery! Thx for taking the time to provide examples…awesome!

    A tip for finding images for your timeline: Google Free Images. That’s where I found mine and it does the job very well…didn’t have to pay a dime! Now to pay attention to all of the OTHER things you highlighted here…ay yi yi!!!

  4. Great suggestion Jen! I always forget about Google Free Images, as I have a Dreamstime account.

  5. Great post, Avery. And I do have a question.

    How do you change the position of the apps? I understand that four of them show up on my page, but how can I control WHICH four? I’d rather not show my “Likes” number until I get a few more “Likes”.

  6. Thanks Holly! I apologize for the delay in replying. I was out of town and unplugged. 🙂 To change the position of your apps, click the number with the down arrow to the right of the last app that’s displayed. Hover over the position you’d like the app to appear. A pencil icon will appear, click it and then choose the app that you’d like to appear in that spot. And to my knowledge, you can’t hide the number of likes your page has. Have a great day! 🙂

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