As you may well have already seen, Facebook Pages have a new look and functionality which was rolled out on 30th March, the change will be seen as a fairly radical one for many brands who will now need to be thinking of telling their brand’s story rather than trying to interact with customers in the style of a message board.
This has implications for both brands that already have a Facebook presence as well as those who haven’t yet made the Facebook leap. Below are the key areas to look at when updating or setting up the new Facebook timeline for your brand.
The most obvious change to the new Facebook timeline is addition of the Cover photo, the full width image that sits permanently at the top of your page should be unique to your business, brand or organisation.
With the tab format no longer, the default page will always be the timeline; this puts greater importance on the cover image. The cover image will be the new focal point for existing and new fans alike.
There a number of requirements associated with your cover image. Cover images must be at least 399 pixels wide and 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 ‘about us’ information
- References to any 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”
But don’t forget your profile picture. This will publicly displayed across Facebook as before, therefore you should upload a 180 x 180 image (which will automatically be resized to 32 x 32.)
The new Facebook layout puts a huge emphasis on the visuals, make your page compelling by keeping your posts as image centric as possible. Good use of images will make your page easy to scan and help make it more engaging as a result.
The new Timeline allows for much greater customisation through starred, pinned, hidden and milestone posts. A new feature of Timeline is the ability to star posts; this will highlight the post and result in the post expanding across the screen in widescreen. Additionally you can now hide posts that are timely or you no longer want to appear on your timeline, such as competitions, product recalls and apologies.
Cited by Facebook as a tip to help engage people with your timeline, a pinned post will ensure people notice your most important content by appearing in the top left of a Page’s timeline with flag in its top-right corner for 7 days.
In addition to pinned and starred posts, Milestones can be added to your Timeline these are key moments you would like to highlight on your page, they are automatically expanded and have a flag icon; they are a perfect way to tell the history of your brand. For best results use an image 843 pixels wide and 403 pixels tall for Milestones.
In the new Facebook design, applications are given less prominence, up to 3 applications can be included on your homepage alongside the Photos application but to view anymore, users will have to expand the apps section.
Old applications will still display but will look narrow in the new layout which now incorporates wider 810px apps.
User comment control and messages
Unlike before, Facebook now puts brands in complete control of comments; it’s now possible to ensure that all conversations that appear on the page will have received prior approval.
Previously the only way consumers could communicate with brands through Facebook was by publically posting on the wall. The new Facebook means users can send messages privately by selecting the new “Message” button (located next to the “Like” button.) Should the brand wish this to be visible, the brand can then respond privately.
Facebook recently supplied a number of recommendations in order to help increase engagement with your page. These are as follows:
- Keep posts succinct – between 100 and 250 characters
- Use photos – posts with photos result in twice the engagement of those without
- Post regularly – there’s no right answer here but generally Facebook recommend once a day
- Use Facebook Insights – look closely at Facebook insights and find out what posts are being well received and do more of the same
The new Facebook design means brands need to re-assess how they are using the social network and think a lot more about how their profile can tell an engaging story with a lot more emphasis on the visual.