Facebook has rolled out the biggest design change in years with Timeline for Fan Pages. The new design is a two column, visual presentation of your posts that highly favors graphic images as a brand asset. If you can tell your business story through photos or graphics, then Facebook’s new design will be a boon for your business. There are six nifty new opportunities to promote your business built into the design.
1. Cover Photo
This billboard style photo will cover the entire top view of your fan page and the maximum size is 851 x 315 pixels. Facebook explicitly states that this must not be an advertisement, a call to action such as “like our page” and cannot contain a URL. But you can visually represent your brand, so think creatively.
Even if you have not yet settled on the ideal image to represent your business, I recommend that you upload a photo or image that is appealing, attractive or inspirational as a placeholder. If you do nothing, when you log on tomorrow, there will be a large blank, possibly gray, rectangle at the top of your page, announcing to potential fans, clients or customers that you’ve neglected to keep up with the changes. Not the message a business wants to share with the world. To preview the Timeline design and upload your cover photo, enable the preview at the blue “preview” button at the top right hand side of your page. Then click on the button that says “add a cover.”
2. Profile Picture
Facebook says that your profile picture on a fan page must be uploaded at 180 x 180 pixels, but will display at 125 x 125 or 150 x 150 depending on the size of the viewer’s display. Page profile pictures display next to your page’s name in your fans news stream, so it should stand on its own to represent your brand. You can also be creative with how your profile picture and cover photo go together. On your Page’s cover, the profile picture displays 23 pixels from the left side and 239 pixels from the top of your cover photo, so be sure to plan your cover photo so that your profile picture doesn’t obscure important parts of the photo. There are no rules, at this time, about what you can and cannot include in your profile photo or avatar, and therefore some brands are using this spot to include their web address or phone number.
Pay close attention to your about box, directly under your profile picture. This is your potential client or customer’s first invitation to join you on your website. I recommend starting your about box information with a live, full URL that leads directly to your website. Don’t rely on people searching for information on how to reach you or learn more about your brand. Make it obvious and easy.
4. App Boxes
Three of the four boxes below your cover photo are customizable and represent the most visible way to highlight promotions or special information on your new Timeline. These are your former “tabs” which resided in the left hand column of your Facebook fan page. These tabs most likely housed your opt in offer, your welcome tab, your “about me” page, your store or your sweepstakes or contests or any other custom tabs you’ve created for your brand. These are now referred to as apps by Facebook because they must be created in an iframe app. The images that represent these apps are boxes that are displayed on your page just below the cover photo. The images on these boxes can be customized and the size of each box image is 111 x 74 pixels. Although the Photos app will always be in the first position and the image will always display whatever photo you last uploaded, the other three slots are available for you to customize and order and you can read detailed directions on how to do that here.
5. Star or Pin
Each individual post can be highlighted in two ways. First, you can pin a specific post to the top of your page for 7 days at a time. You might want to pin a special offer, a launch, a live event or something of that nature to the top of your page during a promotional period. To pin a post to the top of your page, mouse over the upper right hand corner of the post until you see the pencil. Click on the pencil and a drop down menu will reveal itself. Click on “pin to top.” The pin will last for 7 days and then the post will be returned to it’s chronological place in your Timeline.
Another way to feature a specific post is to star it. When mousing over the top right hand corner of the post, click on the star and your post will cover two columns instead of one.
Milestones are a way of highlighting key moments in your brand history. Brands like Ford Motor Company are using Milestones to take readers on a historical journey into the life of their brand, all the way back to 1908, evoking an emotional connection that is powerful, visual and creates opportunities for fans to share fabulous pictures of Model T’s and other iconic cars. Milestones are automatically expanded to cover two columns. To add a Milestone, select Milestone in the status update bar on your page, add a headline, location, date and details for your milestone and include a photo. Click save. You can also scroll to any spot on your Timeline and click to add a milestone or other type of story for any date.
So upload your cover photo, customize your app box images, add some milestones for your brand or business and pin an offer or special event to the top of your page. I invite you to share your page URL’s here to inspire others. Let’s create a resource list of best practices, together.