8 changes advisors need to know about the new Facebook business timelineArticle added by Amy McIlwain on March 23, 2012
Amy McIlwain

Amy McIlwain

Denver, CO

Joined: August 26, 2010

Although the new Facebook business timeline is vastly different from the previous layout, it provides a greater opportunity to really capture the spirit of your business.

Last month, the redesign for Facebook business pages was unveiled at the Facebook Marketing Conference in New York. The redesign, which launches March 30, features the new timeline format and cover photo, thus allowing businesses to showcase their stories, be more expressive and connect with consumers in new, fresh ways.

If you have any anxiety or uncertainty about the change, don’t worry. Facebook not only gives you an awesome tutorial, they also provide you with a 30-day grace period to strategize and plan for the new format. Below are some of the fundamental changes that your business needs to know about the new Facebook business timeline.

New cover photo

If you have a personal Facebook page, you’re probably already familiar with the timeline cover photo. The business pages are no different.

Now, instead of having a strip of photos at the top, you have one large photo to showcase and capture your business (minimum of 399 pixels, maximum of 850 x 315 pixels). Unlike the Facebook landing pages (which no longer exist) your cover photo cannot have any calls to action, promotions or any contact information. It must simply be eye catching without many words.

I suggest using an image that tells a story or makes a powerful statement about your business. Revisit your company’s mission, values and areas of expertise and choose an image that encompasses those unique elements.

The New York Times used an image of their team, which captures a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the faces behind the mass publication.

New "about" section

The about section that used to be lost in the info tab on your company page is now front and center at the very top. Because you have a limited number of characters on your about section, consider rewriting it to make it concise and powerful.

I suggest using a tag line or a sentence that captures your brand’s mission and values. Here are some awesome examples of what some big companies are doing:
  • New York Life: “The official page of the New York Life Insurance Company – The Company You Keep® www.NewYorkLife.com”

  • Nike: “If you have a body, you are an athlete — Bill Bowerman”

  • Mashable: “Latest digital, social media, business, tech, entertainment and mobile news from Mashable.com, the top resource and guide for digital culture.”

  • Coca-Cola: “The Coca-Cola Facebook page is a collection of your stories showing how people from around the world have helped make Coke into what it is today.”

  • American Family Insurance: “Your dream is out there. Go get it. We’ll protect it.”
Larger, highlighted posts

Before timeline, all Facebook posts were created equal. Not anymore. Now you have the option to highlight posts and pin relevant posts to the top of your timeline for up to seven days. You can also change post dates, which allows you to bump up posts you want to keep at the top of the page.

This is useful if your company is having a special promotion and/or wants to add a degree of importance or emphasis to certain posts. To feature posts, simply click on the star located in the top right hand corner of the post; to change the date, click on the pencil.

Facebook admin panel, icons and page name change request form

Insights are now located in the admin panel at the upper right corner of the page. While the navigation of insights is slightly different, it still features notifications, messages, new likes, insights about your posts and page tips.

Your pages apps are now located to the right of your about section. By clicking the pencil in the top right corner of your app box, you have the option to change its positioning, remove from favorites or access the edit feature.

More good news

In the past, businesses were required to completely delete their Facebook page if they wanted to change the title of their page. Now, they can request a name change by accessing this form. This is really convenient for those who have changed their branding, have a misspelling in the name or want to make other changes without completely starting over.

Messaging and milestones

The old Facebook business pages used to have restrictions on messaging. Fans could not message brands and brands could not message fans. With the new timeline format, there are no longer barriers between business and fan communication. Brands and fans can now message one another.

As a financial professional, remember to archive all communication via messaging.

Another powerful addition to the new Facebook platform is the milestone feature. The milestone feature is located by the status update box and allows you to add memorable dates and events that occur in your business. This is a great way to feature important occasions and share your business’ unique story to the world.

Take some time to revisit your company’s history and add milestones for important dates, such as when your company was founded, when they brought on a new CEO or when a new product or service was launched. Be creative and thoughtful during this process.

Because we’re social media experts, we added the birth of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest to our milestones.

Although the new Facebook business timeline is vastly different from the previous layout, it provides a greater opportunity to really capture the spirit of your business. Put some time and thought into this new layout to determine what messages and ideas you want to convey about your business. The sky’s the limit.

What are your thoughts about the new layout?
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