Just got your head around Facebook Pages for your business and starting to get the hang of it?
Bad news – Facebook is changing it all again!
New York was the venue for Facebook Marketing Conference this week. At the event Facebook staff unveiled ‘Timelines’ for Facebook pages. From 30 March 2012 all pages will be moved across to this new design.
Timeline is a new layout which was introduced on personal profiles last year and which Facebook is now rolling out platform wide.
Facebook Page(business pages in our context) owners have the option of trialling the new layout now. Look for the option at the top of your facebook page. While trialling the Timeline view only page admins will see the new look however if you then choose to publish the changes then the new design will go live for all page users.
Quick Summary of the Changes
1. Large new ‘cover photos’ (851x315px) will be the first thing visitors to your page sees and will sit at the top of your page. There are restrictions as to what you can include in your photo ie. no calls to action or arrows pointing at the ‘like’ button and no special offers.
2. Custom tabs are now 810 px wide, up from the previous 520 px. If you’ve gone to the effort or expense of having a custom tab made then you’ll need to have this redesigned to make the most of the new look.
3. The ability to drop new visitors to your Facebook page on your custom landing tab has gone. Everyone will land on the main timeline page whether they are already a fan or not. It is still possible to send visitors to the custom tab directly if you are linking from your website, email signature or Pay Per Click advertising. This is a blow to pages that were using Fan-gated material that needed the visitor to ‘like’ the page to unlock the discount/free video etc as their landing page.
4. Only your first 3 application tabs are visible. Visitors will have to click a drop down arrow to see your other tabs – events, competitions, videos, fan of the week etc.
5. Big changes to the Facebook Ad system including ads shown on the logout screen and on the mobile version of Facebook. The decision to show ads on mobiles is interesting. Up until now Ads were only shown to desktop users of Facebook but so much of Facebook’s traffic now comes from mobile devices and will continue to do so that they’ve made this change to protect/grow their revenue. This focus on mobile devices by big players is worth noting for small business owners looking to keep ahead of their competition.
6. Page visitors will now be able to send messages to the company – opening up another customer communication channel.
7. Page admins will be able to pin posts for 7 days so that important announcements or discussions can remain highly visible rather than than being pushed down the page by newer posts as is the case now.
8. You will have the ability to add ‘milestone’ posts that will enjoy prominence in the timeline to mark significant events in your Business’s history.
What do we recommend you do at the moment?
1. Jump in and trial the new look for yourself as the Facebook admin for your business.
2. Hold off publicly publishing the new Timeline to your page just yet – there are reports of bugs with Page admins being unable to see their own posts.
3. Visiting your custom landing tabs now and copy of the direct URL link to that tab from your browser address bar. Take this link and use it to replace any hyperlinks on your website or email that currently point to facebook.com/yourcompany. This will ensure that people clicking on the link will still go to your custom tab after the new Timeline changes go live.
4. Work on your new Cover Photo (851x315px) and try to make it an image that captures what you want to highlight about your company – this will occupy the most visible real estate on your Facebook page.
5. Start looking at the Facebook ads platform. Early indications are that paid advertising on Facebook is going to be more important than ever. This is also said against the larger backdrop of Facebook’s IPO and their responsibility to shareholders of producing the highest ROI they can.
6. Follow our Facebook page so that you will get more news on the changes as we get them. You’ll also get the first notifications of Facebook workshops that will be held to take business owners through the new changes.
Have fun! The only thing constant in life is change…