This Friday, March 30, 2012, all Facebook business Pages will be migrated across to the new-look Timeline layout.
This means that the Facebook Page you have worked so hard to set up with its welcome page and long profile image, will shortly be turned on its head.
While an ideal response would have been to start planning for this change a few weeks ago, when Facebook placed those in-your-face messages across your Page when you logged in to check statistics, respond to fans or create/share new content, there are a few quick things you can do now to at least look presentable while you sort out your approach.
To deal with this, a wise way might be to:
- Understand what is changing
- Reflect upon who visits your Facebook Page
- Take your first steps
So let’s begin.
What Timeline does to your Facebook Page
The most noticeable change to your Facebook Page will be the replacement of any welcome pages you set up, or your Wall if that was the landing page by default, with a new Timeline display of your Facebook Page entries, topped off by a large cover image that stretches across the whole screen.
Instead of visitors just seeing your latest contributions, they will now see large Timeline references next to your entries. This means that if you have not updated your Facebook Page for a few weeks, months or years, the Timeline is going to ram that message home – I wouldn’t be surprised if some animated tumbleweed was set to roll across the gaps in the Timelines of the worst offenders!
If you had created a custom landing page with fan-gating and all the tricks, it will still be there but be relatively neutered by these changes unless you add a thumbnail image for each one. Your apps now appear in boxes at the top right of your Timeline, underneath the cover image. By clicking the dropdown arrow at the far left of the row of app boxes, you can then hover over each one, click the edit link, then follow the steps for uploading a thumbnail image. You will be able to get quite creative with these but for now, make sure they look right and actually help your visitors find what they lead to.
Your profile picture or logo now really should be square to work best in the new layout.
Fans can now send you private messages. While you can turn this feature off, such a move would defeat the purpose of having a Facebook Page methinks.
Who actually visits your Facebook Page
When you realise that recent research shows only one per cent of Facebook Page fans actually RETURN to your Facebook Page, you can afford a small sigh of relief. But only a small one. Your Page is the most likely place that NEW fans might check you out and decided to Like their ways into your world. First impressions count for much in this world. Therefore, apart from only focussing on good, engaging content, be sure to make your page memorable and ‘likeable’.
This is probably a good time to think through your Facebook Page marketing strategy to determine whether you need to change what you are doing in that social network. It could be the perfect time to evaluate your efforts thus far, check your web analytics for the number of visits you have received from Facebook and analyse the quality and quantity of interactions. Is it still meeting your objectives? Have you set some?
For now, I will assume you have answered yes to the preceding questions, in which case it is time for some action this week.
Do something or share something via your Facebook Page. Then regroup and think about how or why you need to use this channel for your market.
Check and update your logo. Make sure it is square and various geeks suggest 180 x 180 pixels is the way to go.
Create and upload a cover photo. It needs to be 851 x 315 pixels and cannot contain any calls to actions or contact details. This means no arrows pointing to like buttons, no mentions of sales, etc. There is some debate over how well this will be policed but my hope is for you to sleep soundly at night.
Check that any apps you are using still work. I will with a client last Friday who’s app had upgraded itself to be running the new Timeline even though she had not made the move. This left the iFrame she had embedded looking out of whack and bringing down the professional appearance of her Page and its efficacy.
Finally, for now, it might be a good move to highlight important posts in your Timeline by making them stretch across both columns of your page. Simply hover over the post in question and click the highlight star.
There are some other bits and pieces behind the scenes with your new Facebook Timeline Page. For now, these steps will help you stay on track. If any questions arise, visit the Baker Marketing Facebook Page and submit your marketing question via our Facebook app called Baker’s Shout. Or just comment here, of course.