BREAKING NEWS! Facebook has finally announced it is rolling out Timeline for business pages and you can access the functionality straight away. But before you rush out and activate the page, take the time to plan properly for the shift.
The good news is that you can activate a preview of what your page will look like, by going here. This means you can make all the changes you want, experiment and learn about what this means for your brand, before the mandatory switch on the 30th March.
It is anticipated that the new Timeline will keep fans on your page longer, allow you to paint the story of your business in a much more compelling way and it gives you far more control than ever before. Your fans can now direct message you, which is a completely new feature and opens up major possibilities for customer service.
These are the basics, more advanced options to come:
Turn on Timeline
Click here to get a list of the pages you manage and turn on the preview of one page or all at the same time.
Once you click the preview button it will automatically convert your page to the Timeline. Only your page administrators will be able to see this. Your fans will still see the old Facebook layout until you activate the page.
You will see a message at the top like this:
Landing Pages, Tabs and Apps
There have been many speculations about what will happen to landing pages, tabs and apps. Landing pages are no more (sort of). The beautifully customised page you once had is no longer able to be set as a default. When people come to your page, all they will see is the Timeline. The original tab is still accessible though – up in the right hand corner. This means that your Timeline is now your Welcome Page and needs to convey the same information.
When you click it shows the tab as a whole page.
Customise your Brand Timeline
These are the things that are a must do before you launch your Timeline. There are many things you can do to maximise the potential of your page and we will bring you those in a future blog post. This is what we suggest in the first instance.
1. Add a cover photo. You now have more prime real estate than ever before to showcase your brand, your products and services and to show the human side behind your brand. The dimensions for a cover design are: 850px wide and 315px high. Facebook terms state that this cannot be a call to action (eg: ‘Like’ this page) nor can it be direct promotion.
We will see an explosion of creativity in this space and remember – you can change it as often as you like.
2. Historically, the About section showed just 2 – 3 lines on your brand page. You are now able to include up to 130 characters which will all show on the page. Make sure you include the url to your website, as it will automatically hyperlink. Just click on the About link under your Cover Image and it will take you to the back end to edit. The section that shows on the Timeline is the About field. We have made ours bigger!
5. Highlight posts. As with personal profiles, you can highlight a post and it will feature right across the width of the Timeline. You do this by clicking on the little star in the top right of the post. Get creative about highlighting key messages!
4. Choose your visible posts. Whist your Timeline is in preview mode, it is worth going
through and hiding any posts that you don’t want or need to show up on your Timeline. As the new Timelines roll out, your fans will be curious about how they work and will likely go investigating or browsing. Make the visible content your most compelling.
Click on the little pen icon at the top right of each post. You have the option to change the date, reposition the photo (very cool new feature!), hide the post from the Timeline or just remove the photo from the post. This allows you to create a very visually appealing Timeline!
5. Pin to Top. You now have the ability to pin a post to the top of your Timeline for a week. Wow! This allows you to keep an important announcement front of mind, showcase customer posts or give attention to a product or service.
You will notice a little yellow ribbon on the top right of the post to indicate it is a pinned post.
As you get used to the Timeline you will think of many ways to use this feature. Just remember – this is all about adding value to your fans and user engagement – not just pushing your brand!
New Admin Panel
There is a new admin panel which gives you a much clearer view of new activity, new likes, insights and direct messages. It can be found in the top right of your Timeline.
As you can see – when Facebook make initial changes their insights often take a few days to catch up. So don’t be put off if your insights crash. It is just an adjustment period.
There is a nice little navigation bar at the top that allows you to switch views on your Timeline. You can use this bar to see:
Timeline menu shows you the different landing pages, tabs or apps on your Timeline
Now menu allows you to choose a particular time frame to view your Timeline. This is important as it gives your fans a much easier way to go back and look at your history. So make sure only what you want showing is showing!
Highlights menu allows you to see your Timeline with only the highlights, activity by fans, posts by other pages and posts by others.
That gives you the basics! We will do more posts in the coming weeks to show you other features and creative ways of using Timeline. For now, breathe, explore, experiment and maybe wait a few days before launching your Timeline to let any bugs get ironed out.
You can also watch the official video from Facebook for more guidance.
Post your links for us to see when you go live and let us know if you run into any trouble. Always happy to help! Happy timelining!