I always say that there are three things in life that are certain: death, taxes, and changes to Facebook.  Well, heads up!  There are only a few days left before you have to convert your Facebook business page to Facebook’s new timeline format.  After March 30th, they will automatically be converted.  In this article and our next, I’ll highlight what will change and how to make these changes work for you.

For this post, we’ll look at the changes affecting the user experience.  The most obvious are the visual changes that visitors to your Timeline will see.

The new timeline “look”. Many business page admins opted for a custom graphic instead of the default square thumbnail.  That is no longer available.  Now, viewers will see two main images:

  • A large image (851 x 315 pixels) of your choosing spanning across the top of the screen.   Large and bold, it makes quite an impact. You might choose a photo of your brick and mortar store, staff photo, product photo, or a photo of customers using your product.  Caution: Facebook is keeping this area clear of any overt advertising.  So they do not allow you to include your contact info, a message to “Like” your page or any promotional message, such as “get 10% off”.
  • The second image, a profile photo, is smaller and positioned on the lower left side of the cover image.  This is usually your logo.  The overall effect of these changes is dramatic.  Your Timeline will look more like a magazine cover or the home page of a website.

Out with the custom landing tab, in with the new apps format. Many Facebook business pages had a custom landing tab, or “welcome” tab.  If a visitor to the page hadn’t “liked” that page, they would automatically be taken to this tab, which usually had a compelling message urging them to “like” the page.  This default capability is now gone.  You can still have the tab, but it will be listed among the rest of your apps.  Another change is in the placement and look of the apps.  In the old format “Apps” were listed on the left side of the screen.  Now apps will be prominently displayed in boxes across the top right of your page underneath your page name.  It’s important to note that the apps appear after the boxes containing your photos.  The box for photos always appears first and cannot be moved.  The number of Likes box and any of your apps can be reordered. Make sure that the apps you really want your viewers to see are shown first or second  after your photos, because viewers will need to scroll to view additional apps.

New “About” section appears under the profile photo.  This is your company description, and links to additional pages where more information can be shared.

Anyone will be able to post on your business page.  Currently, only “Fans” can post.    That will no longer be the case.  And, it goes beyond that.  Say, for example, a “Friend” of a Fan sees one of your posts on the Fan’s page and comments on it.  Now, that comment will also appear on your Timeline.  Administrators will have the option to adjust settings so that posts by others would have to be reviewed by an administrator before they appear.  The impact of this change is that you may see many more messages appear than before, and from a much wider circle of viewers.  You’ll want to make sure you keep up to date with the conversations.

You will be able to “Pin” a Timeline post. “Pinning” a post will keep it at the top of your timeline until you remove it (maximum of 7 days), so that viewers will see it first.  This is a great way to keep special announcements, offers, etc. visible.  This functionality may have been added because businesses will no longer have “landing pages”, where they could direct new Fans to  “Like”  the page or view special offers.

Keep in mind that underlying these changes to the way Facebook looks and operates is Facebook’s strategy.  Facebook is evolving from a platform where the goal was to simply gain as many Fans as possible to one where engaging and building a loyal customer base is the key.  The bottom line is to continue to get to know the interests of your customers and direct meaningful content to them.  But isn’t that the case with any good marketing?

 Stay tuned for our next post that will provide more information on Facebook changes!