On March 30, 2012 all Facebook pages will automatically get the new timeline design. Don’t Panic. There is time.
First off, if you are having a good return on your page investment, carry on as usual. The addition of the timeline gives a few new items, takes some others away, but in general pulls together a lot of changes in the past 6 months on Facebook for the betterment of page administration and deployment. This article is to help you through those changes and realize the task at hand, while involving some work on your behalf, is not a big hairy deal in terms of effort.
If you have more than one page, you can manage the preview for all your pages in one place. This most likely will go away after March 30 launch. Facebook has more information on the official page dedicated to the redesign.
The message you will see when you go to your page that you admin will be as follows:
Review what’s on your Page now, and add or hide what you don’t want people to see. You can also learn more and see how the new design looks on other Pages like yours.
- Only your admins can see this preview
- On 30 March 2012 your Page will automatically get the new design
- Until you publish your Page, you can see your old design any time
Some of the main changes are:
- Tabs are now called Page apps.
- Page app icons need different ones for each. (111 x 74 pixels).
- Default amount of Page apps shown is three besides the Photos.
- The Photos app is non exchangeable in location. This makes the photos more important as a tool.
- You can choose to put Likes below the fold in exchange for a more important Page app.
- Profile Picture (180 x 180 pixels) high quality. Logo with name is OK.
- Cover Photo (851 x 315 pixels). Cannot have any sales message, web or street address.
- Maps. You can tag photos to locations. This can be done with our Photo gallery of street views of the dealerships.
- Fans can now send private messages to admins. Something else for us monitor.
- Pinning posts – only admins can do this. Attach a post to the top of the page for up to 7 days.
- No more default landing tab. Advertising can of course link to the Page app of your choice.
- Friend activity is now more visible.
- Timeline allows for posting of key milestones.
Detailed Migration Punch List
1. Cover Photo (851 x 315 pixels – Minimum of 399 pixels)
The cover photos will be very restrictive. I am not sure why that is, but in any case you have to feature more about your brand or showcasing a product or service, rather than a sales message.
“Note: This space is not meant for promotions, coupons, or advertisements. Your cover photo should not be primarily text-based or infringe on anyone else’s copyright. Learn More <http://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=276329115767498> about choosing a cover photo.” – Facebook
Covers must not be false, deceptive or misleading, and must not infringe on third parties’ intellectual property. What you are NOT allowed to include in the cover photo:
- 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 intended for your Page’s About section
- 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”
[See also Mashable: Five tools for editing your Cover Photo]
2. Profile Picture (180 x 180 pixels)
We are now back to a square, so make sure the square is a good representation of your page. Your corporate logo for example. Facebook recomends that you use a high-quality image that scales from 180 x 180 pixels to 32 x 32 pixels thumbnail image. THis is a great improvement over the quality issue in the past. The thumbnail appears in news feed stories, ads, and featured stories.
3. Post Pinning
Are they grabbing a verb from Pinterest here? You can Pin an important story to the top of your Page each week. Posts can stay pinned for up to seven days. Hover over a story and click on the star ( star icon ) to make it wider, or on the pencil ( pencil icon ) to pin it to the top of your Page, hide or delete it entirely.
Set your favorite posts from others to “Allowed on Timeline” in the activity log.
4. Sort Apps
Tabs you created are now called apps. You can make an app to create a called in HTML page from your server for a default landing tab. This is still the case, but the tab appears in the apps list of which there is a default of four. You can arrange them all but the Photos which stays in the number one place. One would have thought it to be Likes that would have stayed static.
Photos, likes and apps are now at the top of your Page. Photos show in the first spot, but you can change the order of everything else so people see what matters most. You can show a maximum number of 12 apps, so make sure to put your most important ones first. Your photos and custom apps appear at the top of your Page.
5. Page App Icons (111 x 74 pixels)
It is more important now to make sure that if you are using the same image for each tab app before this, you should differentiate the app icon. Customize the images for your apps by going to “Manage” from the admin panel and choose “Edit Page” in the drop-down menu. Under the “Apps” section, click “Edit Settings” for the specific app image (111 x 74 pixels) you’d like to adjust.
To edit icons for each app go to https://developers.facebook.com/apps
6. Larger Canvas – 2 Choices
Take advantage of larger app width Page app width can now be adjusted to be “Narrow” (520px) or “Wide” (810px) in the Developer App under “Edit App”. To width for each app go to https://developers.facebook.com/apps
7. Default Landing Page
So if you have put a lot of effort into creating a default landing tab, then this is going to be a bit of a pisser for you. That option is now going away. Default tabs were a custom tab that was set as the entry point for non-fans of the page – a welcome or promotional page is usually the case. All will now hit the wall. Of course if you advertise, you can simply use the url of the tab you want them to go to.
Other ways to combat this is to be more creative with your pinning where you have a post stuck on top of the wall for up to 7 days. But don’t count on the new cover photo to help you out with branding too much. It is going to be very constrictive.
8. Respond to Private Messages and Admin your House
Like a personal profile, people can now contact you privately using messages. Notifications about new messages will appear right in your admin panel. To turn messages off, uncheck the box next to the Messages option in your admin settings.Respond when people write on your Page timeline.
9. Review Activity
Visit your activity log to review all your posts and activity. Use Page Insights to optimize your Page posts. For example, find out when people engage most with your content and post during those hours. On average, Facebook estimate that page visits and engagement is higher between 9pm and 10pm in the area they are at. If your page covers a larger geographic space, you might want to target a time near then. The most active group at that time is also the 18-24 Millennials.
10. Use the Timeline to Strengthen your Posts
Publish visually engaging Page posts. While a diverse set of post types is important, posts including a photo album or picture can generate 2X more engagement than other post types. Take advantage of the Milestone feature in the new Timeline to publish key events or dates – such as big campaigns, changes to your business or customer wins.
“These updates are likely favored by the EdgeRank news feed visibility algorithm, and may receive more impressions in the news feed and more prominence on Timeline than standard posts. Milestones appear full-width on your Page with a special flag icon on top. Don’t be afraid to use them whenever somewhat appropriate. Users also see the standard composer, sans Milestones, and can use it to publish feedback publicly to your Page.” – TechCrunch
NOTE: You should also review Make a new tab with a native Facebook App which will help you make new Page apps as there have been changes there as well.