At the end of this month, all businesses who have a Facebook Page will need to conform to Facebook’s new timeline format, as we’ve learned from their recent fMC 2012 Conference. If you haven’t watched the hour long video, don’t worry. We’ll break it down for you.
The conference started off on somewhat of a pretentious note, with Facebook touting its impact in the world, from common folk to world leaders. (In fact, Facebook fancies itself an activist who believes it had a direct contribution to Egypt’s 2011 revolution.)
Despite its overzealous nature, the conference gave businesses some important takeaways. For one, we are all reminded that today’s consumer is not influenced by companies who talk at them. Even though the Internet has changed the way businesses can connect with their customers, the same mistakes are being made.
Instead of having conversations with their customers and exhibiting complete transparency, many businesses are still using Facebook as a way to talk at their customers. They upload videos of their commercials, photos of their ads and billboards, and post announcements of new products, services and specials (as opposed to engaging in real dialogue with customers).
To help combat this, Facebook says it has listened and in response, developed a “better” way for companies to use their branded Pages. Ergo, the Facebook Timeline. As Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg puts it, “You have an identity. Use it…Your customers are listening, and your customers are talking, so engage them.”
Although personal profile pages had already started using the new timeline layout, it was unclear until now how this would affect Pages. Here are some of the main updates for businesses to know:
1. Cover Photo and Thumbnail Avatar
The first thing you’ll notice is a giant image box for your “cover” photo. There are restrictions, however, about what’s allowed in that box. Facebook says this box may NOT contain:
- Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”
- Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information
- References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features
- Calls-to-action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”
Read all about the guidelines HERE.
2. Pinned Stories
One way to keep a call-to-action front and center is to “pin” it. When you enter a post, click the pencil and choose Pin to Top. This will keep you post at the top of your timeline for up to a week.
Just like in your personal life, your company can have “life-changing” events. Let’s say you’ve moved to a bigger, better office, and you’d like to share that information with your customers. Setting a Milestone is a way to help tell the story of your business.
4. Custom Welcome Pages and Apps
If your Page has a default landing tab, (for example, a “Welcome” Page), it may look like it has disappeared. Although it can no longer be forefront, it can still be found within your showcase of applications. It is possible, however, to reorder how your apps appear by clicking the down arrow, then on the pencil as you roll over the app you wish to move.
5. New Advertising Opportunities
Facebook unveiled two new advertising products, called Reach Generator and Premium. With Reach Generator, Facebook claims that it guarantees your Page will reach 75% of your fans (as opposed to 16% as it currently might). Premium lets you share your most compelling stories in the “best places on Facebook.”