As the March 30 deadline looms, Facebook brands are down to the wire to make the switch to the new Timeline. While this change has been much anticipated for individuals, and only recently offered for brands, many people (including myself) have resisted the switchover. Although Timeline may seem intimidating, these changes can help your organization increase its engagement and better connect with your customers and fans.
To help break through the clutter of details surrounding the switch, here are five basic tips to help you make the switch to the new timeline format:
- Choose a cover photo. The cover photo is a brand’s first impression, so choose wisely. Most brands choose to include their logo as the static profile picture and a seasonal or fun picture as the cover photo. Please keep in mind that cover photos should be graphic in nature and should not include marketing or sales language or a call to action, such as urging users to like your page.
- No default landing page. Brands using landing pages must take into account that landing pages are no longer an option in Timeline. Although apps (or tabs) can be linked directly through ads or by links outside of Facebook, potential fans who find your page through Facebook will see your Timeline first. To ensure that your page still makes a positive first impression, refer back to the previous tip about cover photos.
- Private messaging. Timeline allows for private messaging between fans and page administrators, similar to personal Facebook pages. However, the fan must initiate the message, which means brands cannot message a fan unless the user sends the brand a private message first. This feature can be a big step for customer service, but brands must figure out how they will handle private messages. One important feature to note is that private messaging can be turned off manually if a brand is not ready to use the feature or does not wish to communicate with fans in this way. Companies with stringent legal and compliance standards, for instance, may wish to keep direct communications limited to already-approved channels.
- Updated tabs. Tabs, such as About, Photos, Likes, Events, Videos and all third-party applications, now have a new look and page placement, and all are now referred to as Apps, so make sure those are updated. A short About section will be located directly below the profile picture on the page. Keep in mind that depending on the type of page (e.g. company vs. movie vs. person), the space allocation will be different. Another important change is that the most recent photo uploaded will always be featured in the photo tab thumbnail, though you can manually arrange those.
- Milestones. As Candace mentioned in her post earlier this month, brands can update Timelines with important milestones. Whether it’s the formation of your company to the launch of a new product, milestones will help to capture the most important events for a brand and give fans a story with which they can connect.
Obviously, there is much more to cover and little space to mention it all in one post. For more information about timelines, check out the Cookerly Public Relations whitepaper about the switch or contact us about our digital marketing and social media services.
Timeline is poised to become a powerful tool for brands on Facebook, but how powerful will depend on whether brands can adapt to these changes.