Top 5 Facebook Timeline Changes Affecting Your Business

That’s right, Facebook is changing.  On March 30th, every Facebook business page will be automatically switched to a new Timeline format.

Don’t panic!

The new format is really great for brands that use it the right way.  It’s visually appealing, gives businesses an immense amount of control over their story, and will eventually allow for some cool additional marketing techniques to fans.  Here are five of the most important changes that will take place at the end of this month.

1. Visual creative

The most notable change in the Timeline format is the addition of a cover photo.  The cover photo must be at least 399 pixels wide and comes with some pretty strict rules.

Via Facebook’s guidelines, cover photos may not contain:

  • Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”
  • Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section
  • References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features
  • Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”

Your profile image, which sits on the bottom left of the cover photo, has also changed dimensions to a 180 pixels by 180 pixels square.

2. Tell Your Story

The new Timeline allows brands and individuals alike to tell their story – from start to finish.  Whereas Facebook has historically had a “what have you done lately” format, the new Timeline allows pages to go back to their start.

When did ‘Debbie’s Doughnuts’ open?  When did the shop sell its 10,000th doughnut?  When did they add beer to the menu? (Wouldn’t that be something?!)

All of these Life Events and more can be added to the story of the brand throughout the Timeline.

3. Highlight / Pin Posts

There are two added options for each post that ultimately give users even more tools to craft their story.  If you choose to highlight a story by clicking the star on the top right of a post, it will span across the Timeline and increase in size.  If you choose to pin a story by clicking the pencil on the top right of a post, it will keep that story on the top of your Timeline for up to a week.

4. Fan-Gating

The popular fan-gating tactic that many businesses have used on Facebook is not gone completely, but needs to be rethought.  Before, Facebook allowed business pages to have a default landing tab.  When a new user went to the page, they saw the default tab with a call to action message, such as “Like us to receive fan-only offers!”

With the new Timeline format, businesses no longer have the option to set a default landing tab.  Not to worry!  When you create a new tab (technically called an “app”) on a Facebook page, that app will have a permanent URL.  Any Facebook Advertising should drive users to this specific URL where they will receive the call to action message.  To take it a step further, you can put this URL on your homepage to drive people to the same message.  Anywhere you want users to see that message, simply use the fan-only offer app’s URL.

5. Facebook Offers

While only a few companies currently have this option, it should be rolled out across the board soon.  Facebook Offers allow you to target your existing fans with quick and easy coupons that they can claim directly trough Facebook.

Do you want to get some people over to your new carwash?  Throw out a “Free carwash!” coupon to your loyal Facebook fans to let them know how much you appreciate their business.  When a fan claims the offer, they will have the option to let their friends know as well.  Not only would Facebook Offers keep your loyal customers engaged, it has the potential to help you gain new customers as well.

The Facebook mantra of telling your story with Facebook is being spelled out in the new Timeline format.  Change is good – and we’re confident that businesses who embrace these new changes will enjoy the perks.  Now go out there and tell your story!

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