Timeline for pages will be automatically added to your Facebook Page on the 31st of March 2012… whether you like it or not. This means that the look of your page changes quite a bit. Visitors will no longer see a neat wall of posts (as we still do in our profile home view). And the welcome landing pages are relegated to a tab now, you cannot design a default landing page after the upgrade, all visitors will now land on your Page Wall with the new cover pic and your square profile picture at the top of it.
Here are my thoughts:
Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
For page owner and lead results it’s too soon to tell. Page owners won’t know if Timeline coverts more visitors and likers into tangible leads for a while. But I do see already some positive changes with the Cover pic a much more practical way to market your page and some very creative uses of posts, with the ability to favourite and pin them on the wall. The use of Tabs can be explored more.
As far as the demise of the Welcome Page goes...
It certainly means that users who doesn’t want to spend any money or time on graphic design can upload their own cover picture for their page which reflects their companies branding. You could simply use a photo of whatever it is you are selling. But it also means you have to rethink overall how your page looks in other ways.
A good thing is that the cover pictures should be much cheaperto have designed than the previous Welcome Landing Pages, if you are going to pay to have them designed (which is a service I offer) as they no longer need html, they are a simple jpg or png, much like a deep website header. You can’t actually put any links or opt in forms on your cover picture, as you could previously with a landing page, IN fact, Facebook absolutely forbids overt advertising or calls to action, even website addresses, (see Pic left, for their rules), I suggest you familiarise yourself and your designer with these new rules, because Facebook have been known to take down Pages that break their Terms Of Service rules, no questions asked, for what to some might seem like minor infringements before, and you certainly don’t want to lose your page if you have worked long and hard on building up your marketing on it. There are more specifics about the rules in the Facebook Terms Of Service which are:
- Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website.”
- Contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section.
- References to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features.
- Calls-to-action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”
- Covers must not be false, deceptive or misleading, and must not infringe on third parties’ intellectual property.
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How To Preview The New Timeline Or Change It Over:
Many people have changed their Facebook Pages over to timeline already, and its very easy to do.
You should now see this alert (pic left) on the top of your Facebook page when you log into your fan page. You can see what your page is going to look in Timeline like by clicking “preview”. Facebook will ask you to upload or select a picture for the Cover pic, and as long as you abide by the above rules you can select what ever picture you wish to best reflect your business. Facebook will allow you to of course to use your logo, your business name and description of what your business is, and your slogan as I’ve done with mine (see top picture on this post) you can change the cover pic anytime you like in the future, in the same way as you could change your profile pic in the past.
I found I had to upload a new profile pic for my new Timeline layout as the old one didn’t fit well, it previously had a border on it, just make sure it is a square picture 180px x 180px should do. I also designed my cover pic to fit around the profile picture, you could decide to be quite creative with that idea if you wished, and frame your profile pic using the cover pic in some way, I’ve used a shadow and put my name and slogan next to my profile pic.
You can return to your old pre-timeline look anytime up untill the 31st March as long as you don’t click publish, once you click publish thats it, you can’t go back to the old look. So I suggest you keep the old look if you do have a welcome landing page set up, until you have the artwork or picture for your cover picture selected or designed.
To return to the old look see this pic (right)
Cover Picture Measurements:
The cover pic I’ve used is 960 wide by 372 and its a PNG I find this gives the best resolution.
What happens to the old Welcome Pages?
The old welcome pages will still work but they are now behind a Tab (usually the tab labeled Welcome). You can be creative with your tabs and use them to highlight parts of your business. You could have one for services, one for your existing welcome page if you have one, that people can still interact with, one for sale items. there are no restrictions around what you can use them for, as long as they comply with Facebook’s terms of services and copyright.
The tabs are all now hidden behind a drop down menu, except for the first 4. You can move these around by hovering your cursor over the top right corner and replacing it with another one. The photo Tab is unmovable, and it doesn’t seem at the moment you can change the default picture, it will simply load up the last photo you have uploaded. You can also custom design the welcome tabs by clicking “edit” top right of each of the Tab buttons. As the tabs are now much larger than the previous ones, you can really use the top three for highlighting something special. Dimensions are 111 x 74 pixels
Posts: The new pages timeline is far more visual than the previous one was, to make it more interactive and attractive be sure to include pictures and or videos with your posts so that people are more likely to check them out when they land on your page.
Highlight or hide a Post: you can highlight or pin one of your posts to the top of your Pages wall, and I suggest you highlight a post that really sells your product. This post will be much larger and stay on the top of the wall for a week before moving down. Previously before all the posts on your Page Wall looked about the same, but it was hard to tell from a Pages Wall alone often what the Page represented, hence the need for Welcome Landing Pages. Now with your post options, tabs and cover picture you can really advertise your services and product very clearly. You can hide posts also that perhaps you don’t want to feature as prominently and create milestones, that highlight events in your business you would like to draw attention too.
Pages now have the ability for messaging so that if you wish to receive messages to your page from clients or leads, you can activate messages in your Admin Panel, choosing ‘Manage’ ‘Edit Page’ ‘Manage Permissions,’ and ticking the ‘Messages’ box.
Overall I don’t have a problem with the new Page timeline, I do think it looks very disorganised to my “neat freak” sensibilities but I can also see the benefits, particularly for people who are passionate about sharing and interacting on Facebook. Remember as before, visitors will only go to your page initially to “Like” your page, unless going back to check on a post they remember and want to revisit, the majority of your fans will never return.
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