Facebook timeline launches in April: Top tips for the transition

by Samantha Clemans on March 20, 2012

in Announcements, Blog, Facebook, Social Media

Facebook introduces the timeline

Facebook introduces the timeline.

Just when you thought you had your Facebook page all dialed-in — Facebook announced the timeline for brands and profiles. You officially have until March 31, 2012 until your page automatically transforms into the timeline.

In preparation for this switch over, we here at Winning Mark attended a webinar by Wildfire apps and have compiled some top tips for switching to the timeline. You can explore all the new features in Facebook’s Help Center.

Winning Mark specializes in placing and managing Facebook ads for political campaigns. To talk to us about your campaign, email or call Samantha Clemans at 503-221-7922 x213

New Facebook Terms of Services

In an effort to make Facebook interaction between pages and users more “genuine,” Facebook has some important new Terms of Services regarding what you can add to your cover photo. See section 3 of the Facebook Terms of Services for Pages for more information.

The updates to the Terms and services include: no price or purchase information; no contact information, like website or email address; no asks to “like” the page, or calls to action (which include statements like “Share with your friends”). Importantly, the new Terms of Services includes no arrows that point to the like button encouraging new visitors to like your page.

New page layout

The biggest visible difference to your Facebook page is the layout of the timeline. The timeline is exactly what it sounds like, a timeline of your “brand” — the appearance and use of the timeline will likely vary depending on what kind of page you have.

With the new timeline, Facebook can quite literally be a timeline, featuring special milestones or events in your campaign and organization. If you don’t like the idea of having a timeline of your organization or campaign, feel free to continue using your page as you have in the past. Status updates are still the core to pages on Facebook.

If you have questions about how to switch over or specifics of how to update certain aspects of the new timeline, visit Facebook Help Center for Pages.

Facebook Timeline Coverphoto

Facebook timeline will automatically switch over all pages as of March 31, 2012.

Cover photo

This is the first thing people will see when they go to your page. Make it compelling and interesting, people will make their first opinion of your page based on what they see here.

Tips to remember for the cover photo:

  • Photo should span the entire size of the cover photo space and be of high quality
  • Crop photos to be 850×315 pixels
  • Hide cover photo uploads from the timeline stream
  • Choose a cover photo that is landscape in orientation
  • Choose a photo that represents your campaign in an interesting way. Don’t use a logo, save that for the profile picture
  • You want something that will grab someone’s attention in a good way

About section and Apps

Facebook Timeline Apps

President Obama's page has good examples of how to maximize the About information and Apps display.

About information and Apps (formerly known as Tabs) will be located directly under your cover photo. This is a great place to add information about your campaign or organization and also provide supporters with interactive ways to get involved. In the example above, President Obama does a nice job of filling out the About information, and featuring Apps that help someone get more involved.

Tips on the About section of the timeline:

  • To update About information: Use the admin panel and go to Manage, then Edit Page, and then Basic Information. Scroll down to About and  fill in information about your page
  • Make the text no longer than 150 characters in length
  • Add the URL of your website and make sure to use “http://” in the URL so that it hyperlinks your link

Apps have taken over for custom landing pages and Facebook “tabs.” In the past, you often saw popular marketing campaigns that involved a custom splash page, containing a video or interesting image with an arrow pointing to the like button asking people to fan a page. This is no longer possible with the terms of services changes and the exclusion of custom landing pages.

Tips for Apps:

  • If you have a custom landing page or a tab, they will automatically transfer over to being an App, however, you may have to edit some features like changing the custom image
  • Change the app custom image by going to the Admin Panel, click on Manage, Edit Page, and Apps. Click on Edit Settings next to the app you would like to edit and then upload a new custom image
  • Want to add an App to collect emails? How you will create this App will depend on what kind of email client you use, check out these tips from Campaign Monitor (CreateSend) and Salsa (Democracy in Action).

Private messages

Anyone now has the ability to message your page, whether they are a fan or not. However, you can edit the settings for this through the admin panel. You cannot initiate conversation with someone and can only message people from your page if they send you a message first.

Admin panel re-design

The administration panel has also gotten a face lift. When you click over to a page that you admin, you will now see a large admin panel at the top. You can hide this from view, or use it to change settings, add more information to your page, see who has recently liked your page, manage new messages, and more. You’ll also want to note that managing page admins is in a different place than before; you’ll have to go to the Manage link, then Edit Page, and then Manage Admins.

Insights are housed in the admin panel and have received an minor update as well. It’s mainly a new layout but one cool feature we like is that you can see analytics per update you post to your wall. Read more about Facebook Insights through this nifty document (PDF).

The new way posts work on the timeline

“Highlight” important posts so that they span the entire length of the timeline. To highlight a post go to the post and hover over it and then click on the star. Your post will now span the entire width of the page. This is great to help break up the timeline and feature a post that you want to have more attention.

Posts that are not highlighted will share half of the timeline feed with another post. In this vein, you’ll also notice that posts in general will now alternate side-by-side on the timeline, rather than in one long list of updates.

Pin a post to the top of the timeline and have it stay there for 7 days. Pin a post by going to the post you want to pin and click on the pin icon, to the right of the star. This will save this particular post to the top of your page for 7 days and after the 7 days it will go back to its original place in the timeline.

Facebook Timeline Highlight Posts

This screen capture of President Obama's Facebook page shows highlighted posts. The top post is highlighted and spans the entire width of the timeline, while the two posts below are not highlighted and occupy half of the wall respectively.

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