On Wednesday 29th February Facebook held their first Marketing Conference – effectively F8 for marketers – and announced a new suite of tools for brands on Facebook. Among these announcements was news of the launch of Timeline for brand pages.
Brand admins can preview their page in Timeline now but have until 30th March to prepare and publish the new page, at that point Facebook will update all pages to the Timeline layout automatically.
This is your guide to transitioning a brand page to the new Timeline layout.
If you didn’t catch them, here’s a reminder of the new features and changes that were announced.
- Your page will have a cover photo: a large, static, 851 by 315 pixel photo that appears at the very top of the page.
- Profile picture: A brand profile picture will appear over the lower left of your cover photo.
- This picture is separate from the cover photo and is 180 by 180 pixels.
- When shown in the Timeline or in a user’s newsfeed this is resized to 32 by 32 pixels.
- Timeline: all posts ever made (not including hidden or deleted posts) will be shown in a vertical timeline.
- A menu on the right allows users to browse through the history of the page.
- There are three new types of post:
- Pinned posts: a single post can be ‘pinned’ to the top of the Timeline for a period of seven days (a pinned post will display with a ribbon in the top right). At the end of seven days it can be re-pinned, re-pins are unlimited.
- Highlighted posts: any post can be ‘highlighted’. A highlighted post image is resized to a 843 pixel width (from 404 pixels).
- Milestones: a new type of post that appears in the Timeline and can be used to mark a ‘milestone’ in the history of the brand. These looks just like highlighted posts but show a flag icon, title, and description at the top.
- ‘Apps’ replace ‘tabs’:
- Apps cannot be set as a default landing experience (as tabs could be) as all users will see the Timeline by default.
- Thumbnail images for apps are 111 by 74 pixels, these appear below the cover photo and are accompanied by the app name and 16 by 16 pixels app icon.
- Only four app thumbnails may be displayed at a given time. The ‘photos’ app is locked and cannot be moved but the other three app thumbnail spots are flexible. Any apps that are live but whose thumbnails are not displayed within the four spots can be found in a drop-down menu.
- Apps themselves can be 520 pixels in width (with vertical white bars either side) or 810 pixels in width.
Preview your page in Timeline
The first thing to do is see what your page looks like in Timeline right now.
- Log in to Facebook as an admin and visit your page.
- You should see a banner announcing that new Facebook pages are “coming soon”. Click the button to ‘preview’.
- Your page will now be shown in Timeline preview mode, it will only be published if you click the ‘publish’ button or when Facebook automatically published it 30th March.
Cover photo and profile picture
The cover photo and profile picture are now the first things a user will see when visiting your page, so make the most of them.
- Add a cover photo.
- 851 by 315 pixels in size.
- It must be a static image, no animations or videos I’m afraid.
- You can’t include ‘price or purchase information’ such as “download it at our website”.
- Don’t add contact information like web, email, or postal address, or other information intended for your page’s ‘about’ section.
- No references to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features.
- No calls-to-action e.g. “get it now” or “tell your friends”.
- Update your profile picture.
- This should be 180 by 180 pixels in size but still meaningful when resized to 32 by 32 pixels.
- It must be a static image.
- Try integrating the cover photo and profile picture.
- This has been popular on personal profile Timelines.
- NB: The profile picture must work on its own (as well as in conjunction with. the cover photo) so it wouldn’t be a bad idea for it to prominently feature your logo.
Apps aren’t going away, they are still a great place for immersive brand experiences but you’re going to have to work harder to get users to visit them.
- Check the content and layout of your apps.
- Does your app refer to any of the old Facebook navigation, e.g. “click on a tab on the left”?
- Create and add a thumbnail image for all your apps.
- This should be 111 by 74 pixels in size.
- Include meaningful imagery to indicate what the app does (remember that the app name still appears below the thumbnail).
- Upload this through the app’s ‘edit settings’ link. This can be found in apps section of the page settings, or by hovering over an app thumbnail until the pencil icon is displayed.
- Pick those apps that you’d like to feature in the three flexible thumbnail spots, the others will be demoted to the drop-down menu.
- Check to see how your apps look in the new 810 pixel width. It’s not required to update your apps as they should still work in the 520 pixel width.
Now is a great opportunity to tidy up your page.
- Update the ‘about’ text and check that any listed ‘place sub-categories’ are correct.
- These are now featured prominently below the profile picture and to the left of the app thumbnails.
- Check your page’s ‘about’ section for language and consistency with the new layout.
- Remove text like “how to use our page” that refers to tabs, etc.
- Moderate any outstanding user posts.
- Ensure you have your location listed.
- One of the features of Timeline is a map, so you’ll want to make sure that people can find you if they need to.
Users are likely to go back and take a look at your history in Timeline, so it’s best to make sure it looks good.
- Check your page’s ‘founded’ post.
- Check the date.
- Set the term to use, you can choose from: ‘founded’, ‘started’, ‘opened’, and ‘born’.
- Add additional information like a photo, the location, and a description.
- NB: Facebook only currently allows a ‘founded’ date to be from the 19th century onwards, sorry older brands!
- Go back and highlight any posts, or add new milestones, which you feel should be featured.
- Users will expect to see major events in the brand history featured.