Much controversy from its 800 million users greeted the introduction of the Facebook Timeline, with comments ranging from acceptance to downright rejection. However, despite all contentions, the social networking giant seems bent on implementing the timeline. In fact, it continues to introduce changes based on the new profile look, as seen in its recent revamp of business pages.
Creating a Facebook page is one of the ways a company establishes its online presence. With the advent of the new timeline layout for branded pages, Facebook gave business owners more ways to control the content of their pages, as well as a few more additional features. Facebook announced its timeline feature for all users in September 2011. Five months later, Zuckerberg and his team decided to focus on branded pages and gave it another face-lift. By March 30, 2012 all business-related pages will sport the new Facebook profile. The question on everyone’s mind is, What does this change mean for business owners?
Advantages of Facebook Timeline for Business Pages
The mandatory implementation of the timeline looms over every Facebook profile, be it a personal or branded page. Since this is how a branded page will permanently look, every business might as well use the timeline’s advantages. These include:
1. Better advertisement for business pages. The new Facebook features allow users to see a company’s details by placing them on the most prominent part of a profile page. Businesses can now display their:
Cover photos. Facebook gave branded pages a banner photo equivalent of websites. With an eye-catching cover photo, businesses can entice their readers more to use their services or products.
Profile photos. Profile photos—the smaller image on the lower-left corner of cover photos and the one that shows on the left side of your every post—can be used to display the company’s profile logo. Others get more creative, however, by using it as a smaller part of the bigger cover photo.
“About” section. Previously displayed in the “Info” tab, the new layout now includes the “About” section right under the profile photo. Businesses can now provide a witty tagline or a short and straight-to-the-point description.
2. Showcase more of your company’s achievements. Every company reaches milestones throughout its history. With the timeline profile, businesses can now give readers an overview of its most noteworthy events. Fans will be able to see which year a particular store opened, when their favorite product was launched, or how the company began.
3. More control over what you can show to your followers. Contrary to popular belief, Facebook is not going to make status updates or photos that its users have previously set to private, public. The good thing about the new profile is that it allows business owners to play up the content they deem more significant through the Activity Log. Owners can do this through:
Highlighting content by “pinning” it on top of the page. This will save readers the effort of backtracking through previous posts in search of relevant content.
Increasing the size of photos from its standard measurement to the full width of the page.
Changing the post dates, if necessary.
4. Engage more with your readers. For business owners, creating a more engaging discussion with its customers or clients is essential for proper feedback. Facebook provided a means for businesses to easily interact with its followers, especially in cases of positive or negative comments regarding their services or products. The new admin panel, to be discussed in the latter part of the article, tracks conversations about your company.
Admin Features for the New Facebook Layout The end of March will see the last days of the old Facebook profile for business pages. Although the new timeline layout is readily available for everyone, there are still a lot who have not opted to change their profile page. Since it’s already inevitable, site admins should be prepared before the new Facebook page goes live for every branded page. For those who have yet to change their profile page, there are a number of new features Facebook added to the admin panel, including:
1. Uploading cover and profile photos. As mentioned, businesses can now take advantage of cover and profile photos similar to those featured on personal pages. These photos are placed directly below the profile photo, together with the number of people who liked the page, photo albums, videos, and applications (events, maps, etc). When uploading cover and profile photos, take note of the following standard sizes suggested by Facebook:
Cover photos should be 851 x 315 pixels.
Profile photos should be 180 x 180 pixels.
2. Messaging features. The previous Facebook layout does not include a messaging option for branded-focused pages. The new profile now allows Facebook users to interact privately with a particular brand. The admin, however, can turn the messaging features off if they want to.
3. Revamped dashboard. With the new admin panel in place, businesses can now take stock of the activities on their pages in a more convenient and accessible manner. The revamped dashboard includes the following:
Inbox. Since brand-focus pages can now send and receive messages, the admin panel provides businesses a more systematic way of viewing private conversations with its followers.
“Insights.” Facebook included its resident analytics tool in the new admin panel through Insights. The “Talking About This” option allows admins to view conversations regarding their company. The “Reach” tool, on the other hand, tells the exact number of people who are being reached by every conversation.
Companies with the New Timeline LayoutMore and more companies are now switching to the new Timeline layout, even before its mandatory change. Here are three companies that benefitted from the new Timeline:
The New York Times. One of America’s daily newspapers has changed its Facebook profile to the new layout. In a seemingly act of thanking its readers, The New York Times features a cover photo of its staff applauding while in a busy press office. The profile photo displays the company’s logo. Its two million followers will see links to stories written by the publication.
Nike. Popular sportswear and equipment company Nike has reached 8.1 million likes to date. Its Facebook profile, using the new Timeline, displays a cover photo of a number of its products surrounding a tagline. Known for inspirational taglines, Nike’s “About” section includes a quotation from one of its founders, Bill Bowerman. Majority of its contents include sports-related photos and articles featuring their products and/or famous athletes using their products.
Starbucks. Internationally known for its quality coffee products, Starbucks’ Facebook page features photos and links to articles discussing their products. Their cover photo displays coffee beans, while their profile photo features their logo. Using Timeline’s new features, its 29 million followers can now easily view a number of Starbucks’ important events throughout its history.
As with every change Facebook introduces, disputes from its users are unavoidable. However, contentions aside, the new Facebook Timeline will undoubtedly benefit businesses in more ways than one. If they haven’t switched to the new layout yet, businesses should already begin to prepare themselves for the new changes Facebook will implement by the end of March.