On March 30th, whether you like it or not, all business Facebook pages will convert to the new Timeline format. While there are some disadvantages – like no more like gates or landing pages, and no clear positioning messages allowed in the cover photo – there are many great new features to help you promote your business. Here are a few tips to help you take advantage of what I believe are the best new features. I’ll keep them simple for the non-techie types.
- New cover photo – Of course the most notable is the big new cover photo. You can upload a photo or another custom graphic. I’ve found that this space really shows off about any picture really well. Don’t feel like you need a horizontal one. Pick your favorite picture that represents your business well and play around with the positioning. Chances are it will look great in the space. You can also upload a custom graphic here, but I really think the photos look much nicer. Keep in mind that you are not allowed to incude price information, calls to action or contact information that is intended for the about the section.
- Timeline – the new timeline allows you to feature signficant happenings in the history of your business. Here’s your chance to include the stuff that’s important that happened before your Facebook page was created. Include the date your business was founded, expansion dates, openings of new facilities, dates of significant product or services offerings, awards, etc.
- Feature posts in your timeline – You can “feature” posts in a variety of ways to really show them off. You can hover over the top right corner of the post and you will see a pencil icon. Click on it and you’ll see several choices. You can pin a post to the top to give top billing for the next seven days. Change the date on a post to move it up on the timeline to be more visible. Hide posts from your page to keep them on the timeline, but remove them from view temporarily so other posts will be more prominent. Or delete a post to remove it permanently. By clicking on the star you can “highlight” a post making it appear across both columns of the timeline.
- About info more prominent – The about section under the cover photo automatcially pulls information from the about section of your page. Facebook says the information pulled depends on the category your page is assigned to. While you can’t edit which fields it pulls from, you may be able to edit those fields making important things like your website show up under your cover photo.
- Promote the most important tabs on your page – the little boxes (also known as tabs or apps) directly below the cover photo can be cutomized to highlight the tabs you want your fans to see most. Four boxes are directly visible and if you click on the down arrow, eight will become visible. After clicking the down arrow you can also hover over the top right corner of each box. Then you can swap the box with outher boxes, remove it from favorites or edit the settings. In “edit settings” you can change the name of the tab and upload your own image for that tab.
- Private messaging – While you still can’t message your fans directly, they can now message you privately. This will give them the opportunity to contact you with concerns privately without posting on your wall for all of your other fans to see.
- Notifications tab – Notifications about when you get new likes or when people like or comment on your posts now show up at the top of the admin panel. Assuming you visit your page regularly and if you get a lot of activity on your page, you may want to turn off your email notifications.
Overall, I’m excited about the new changes. Although we don’t always realize it at first, Facebook really does a great job of continually improving the functionality for businesses. On a side note, these new changes, along with some others I didn’t mention, make Facebook advertising more effective for businesses as well. If you have not tried Facebook advertising, you may want to look into it. It’s very affordable and very targetable. I’ll write a post on social media advertising another time.
How are you using the the new Facebook timeline for business pages? Which new features do you like?