Facebook Timeline Changes and How They Affect Your Business / Fan Page
NEW FORMAT TAKES EFFECT MARCH 30 (however, you can switch your page over today)
Facebook implemented major changes to business pages today (some still refer to these as fan pages). This affects a lot of our clients, so we decided to give you a quick digest of all the tweaks that will eventually affect your page. You can maintain your original look and layout for the time being, but the whole business page universe magically converts to the new layout on March 30th. That means you’ll be forced to accept the new layout and rules at that point.
Generally, there will be no more landing tabs (or navigation) on the left side of the page. Under the new “timeline” layout, these now show up in a horizontal bar across the page, beneath the text big icons they’re associated with. It’s the white background and blue lettering you see in the following image for Starbucks below (“About,” “Photos,” “Likes,” “Starbucks Card,” “International”). Those are the old tab links.
Another big change is that customers/followers can now directly message you as a brand. Remember how (unlike personal pages) there was no message feature or button on Facebook Business Pages? Well, now there is. Hooray, more engagement (“engagement” btw is definitely the word of the day from the Facebook Marketing Conference today). Another interesting, high-level development is the addition of a fully featured admin panel. We’ll talk more about that below.
Here’s a summary of the major changes and their implications:
- Photos, Likes, and Apps are now at the top of the page, so photos show up in the first spot. You can change the order of things that appear here. Prioritizing what shows up first is easy. There’s also a maximum of 12 apps that can be shown
- The new layout also allows you to pin your favorite post to the top of the timeline. When you hover over the story, you can click on the star icon to make it wider or use the pencil icon to pin it to the top of the page. There’s also an option to delete it.
- The new admin panel keeps track of your page activity. You can respond to people directly when they write on the timeline, and there are nifty logs where you can track all your posts and activity.
- The Messaging feature allows your fans to privately message you, and those notifications show up in your admin panel as red alerts (just like personal pages).
- The cover photo can be up to 850px by 315px but there are some limitations.
Cover image/photo LIMITATIONS: You can’t have overtly promotional info in there, like pricing, discounts (think 40% off!!!), and downloads. You don’t want to put your web address, email, mailing address or other contact info in there. Facebook wants that to all be in your About section. They’re also discouraging references to “like,” “share” or any other Facebook site features. We have, however, seen companies bucking the system today. We’ll see how long it lasts. They’re doing the traditional fangating practice of using graphical arrows in the image to point to the like and message buttons. Lastly, Facebook is discouraging calls to action in the cover image. These are things like “Get it now,” “Tell your Friends,” and “Act Now and Save 10%.”
There’s lots more info in the official Facebook marketing guides here.