BY ELIZABETH CANON
Facebook recently announced that it is rolling out the Timeline redesign layout for Pages (this format had previously only used for individual profiles). While converting to the new layout is currently optional, as of March 30th, all brand Pages will appear in the timeline format. What does this mean for your brand’s Facebook Page and how can you prepare?
Well, for starters, the new configuration offers a more highly visualized experience; a benefit for brands (especially those in fashion that rely on imagery to convey an experience). The new format also lends itself to storytelling, and provides the opportunity for brands to more readily express not just the current content, but the legacy of the brand throughout history.
Over the next month, here’s what marketers can do to prepare for March 30th:
1. Get acquainted with the new layout on your personal profile. Play with the navigation, reorganize your content and become familiar with the new features.
2. Carefully choose your profile picture. This image becomes much larger and more prominently featured in the new Timeline (a 851 x 315 pixel banner to be exact), so be sure yours is high resolution and captures the essence of the brand. This can be changed as frequently as you like, but know that cover images cannot include a call to action or prompt for people to “like” your Page.
3. Re-examine your content. The new layout has a timeline feature that allows fans to click on a time period to access content. If you’re a brand that posts very frequently to engage fans, you may want to weed out some of the posts that don’t enhance the story of your brand. Ideally, you want fans to be able to select a timeframe to see a curated collection of content that allows your brand story to come across quickly and effectively.
4. Pay homage to your history. The timeline feature starts as early as your brand or business was born. Though your brand may have been in existence 10 years ago, you surely weren’t posting to Facebook and your timeline will show a gap from the brand’s inception until you started posting content. Go in and chronicle milestone dates, events and occurrences throughout history so the timeline becomes a vehicle to tell the brand story.
5. Understand how the new layout impacts apps. Before, page administrators could control the tab a user landed on if they weren’t a fan. This will no longer be the case, so your apps may get less attention. Also, apps will be moved from the left column to the right hand side of the horizontal Page, and will be represented by images instead of text.
6. Geotag your photos. The new map feature plots where your brand is or has been, based on the photos you’ve tagged with a location. For events, store locations or travel excursions, be sure your photos are tagged appropriately so that your map section is engaging.
7. Prepare to handle customer service inquiries. The new layout allows fans to send private messages to Pages. However, this is only one-way, meaning that as a brand you cannot send new private messages to fans, you can only respond to their inquiries. Customer service questions or issues can now be dealt with privately, rather than on the public wall. Start setting up customer service protocol for how to handle these direct messages on Facebook.