How to prepare for Facebook Timeline

Facebook will be switching all brand pages to the new Timeline view this Friday. While this is a big change for many, a little understanding will make the transition that much easier. As announced at the Facebook Marketing Conference (#fmc) they called it “Mission control for your business on Facebook” and with the new platform, this holds true.

In no confusing terms, here’s a brief run down on some of the new phrases and terms you’ll need to know and understand for the transition to Facebook Timeline.

Cover Image

Your Cover Image is the large header area that appears at the top of your page. This is the first thing people will see when they come to your page now.

Cover Images should be 850 pixels by 315 pixels but may not contain any of the following:

  • 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”

(Source: Official Facebook Forums)

Pin Posts to Top

Facebook now allows you to pin certain status updates to the top of your Timeline, featuring them for up to seven days. This is great for showcasing or recognizing any special promotions or content.

Highlight or Star Stories

The Timeline view offers the ability to highlight certain photos and updates more than others. Use a combination of these to create an interesting and eye-catching page.

Message Fans

Fans now have the ability to message page admins directly. This feature can be turned on or off.

Timeline Events

Populating your timeline is simple with the historic events section. Timeline includes a handy condensed timeline at the top righthand side of the page. Add your company’s founding information, or other changes along the way. Companies like Coca-Cola and the New York Times showcased the different phases of their companies throughout the years.

Are there any significant events for your company? Maybe you changed your name, maybe you moved into a larger warehouse or distribution facility. If you’re an artist or musician perhaps it’s when you played your first paid gig or when you got signed to your record label. Get creative with the tools around you.

Bye Bye Landing Tabs

Landing tabs are no longer the first thing people will see when they arrive to your page. This is both a gift and a curse for brands. For the past year or two people have been sinking countless dollars into robust landing pages. Now, application boxes open in the canvas window (760px now instead of the tab’s 520px width) and still offer rich experiences, but clearly you’re going to need to get creative to drive Facebook application traffic.

As the Timeline for Pages transitions to mobile, expect to see more changes and improvements on the Timeline for Brands platform. With the introduction of mobile ads Facebook wants people to spend more time on their site and application, and the timeline view turns a new chapter in this ever-changing social web.

If you need any help transitioning your pages and tabs over or just want some advice in general, I and my team here would be glad to help, just send a tweet or email.

What do you think about this transition to Timeline? Have you switched over your page already? Leave a link in the comments so we can take a look!

PS: Lately everyone has been asking me – How do I change the name of my Facebook Page?

If you have a terrible name for your Facebook page, change it now! Make sure it’s descriptive and accurately describes the content. Avoid a lot of punctuation too.

To register for a name change on your page, click here.

Note that a Page is not a Profile, and should not be confused. Profiles are for individuals, and Pages are for brands, musicians, anything that isn’t one “personal” being.

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