Eight Timeline Tips for Your Brand

With less than a week to go until Facebook completely overhauls brand pages to adopt the Timeline look, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and make those changes to your businesses Facebook presence. Didn’t see the news? Facebook announced at the start of March they are changing every brand page over to Timeline at the end of this month – like it or not.

Here are eight great tips to improve your new Timeline experience, and ensure that your clients and connections stick around.

Craft a clever cover image

The new, large image at the top of your brands Timeline is called a ‘cover image’ and there are some great examples of creative uses for these. Yours should be reflective of your brand, without resorting to just whacking your logo in the center of a (minimum) 399px canvas.

You need to be aware that there are some basic rules too. Facebook has rules that declare that your cover image cannot 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”

Without the option of large ‘Like us to Win!’ banners on those brand pages, businesses will have to earn likes through being engaging, at least that’s what Facebook hopes happens.

You can check out some great examples of cover pages at SocialFresh and eConsultancy.

Trawl through your Facebook past

The first thing everyone should do is travel back through all of the posts you’ve made on your business page, and make sure that you still want them seen. In earlier incarnations of Facebook, a post from six months ago was unlikely ever to be read by that new client, however, with Timeline there’s a good chance that it will. Delete those posts you feel don’t add any value or are not on brand for where you are today.

Embrace the timeline feature

Go back in time and add important milestones for your brand. By default, your Timeline stops at when you joined Facebook, so add a new post and date it to when you started business (if indeed that was earlier than when you joined Facebook) and set that post item as a ‘started’ announcement. Then, all new posts can appear anytime after this date, but not before. We’ve used this feature in my business to highlight office moves and important dates in our history.

A great example is from Australian national broadcaster, the ABC, who has done a brilliant job of adopting the Timeline tool for their Facebook page to display a history of the broadcasters news service – replete with audio, video, images and more.

Highlight your best posts

You’ll see when adding or editing a post that you can choose to highlight the post – this means the post will cross over both columns, and be full width of the content area. This is a fantastic way to draw attention to important posts, and works exceptionally well with graphic posts, such as new portfolio pieces or photographs.

It could be tempting to highlight all of your posts, but the result will lose impact – save this option for really important posts only, and don’t overuse it.

Push timely posts to the top

Another option to highlighting a post, is to ‘Pin’ the post, meaning it will sit at the top of your Timeline for the next seven days, irrespective if you post more content or not. This is a great method to draw attention to something timely, such as a sale or an important event approaching.

Rearrange and redesign those new tabs

One of the new design components of the timeline update which you cannot avoid is the movement of tabs from being fairly inconspicuous on the side to now being large squares directly below your cover image.

Good news is that you can rearrange all of these boxes (except for Photos) to place more prominence on the first four. These are the only four a user will see unless they click the small arrow next to these, which, quite frankly, is not very likely to occur.

Even better news is that you can actually upload an image for many of these tabs, however not all – the Photos square and likes squares cannot be redesigned.

Tweak that custom landing page

Previously had a custom developed landing page for users to your Facebook presence? You’ll likely want to keep that hard work, however you should take a look to see that it meets the new design, and you’ll want to possibly change the text, given it won’t be your users default landing page any longer.

Be more engaging

All of this change is reflective of Facebook’s move to play down the ability forbrands to literally buy large followings on Facebook through competitions and other incentives. They want Facebook to be more engaging, and they expect brands to do the same.

Just like the recent decision last year to turn off automated feeds from RSS, this step also reduces the ‘auto pilot’ behavior of businesses, and means you need to be actively involved on the platform if you want your business to stand out.

All of this may sound like a lot of work, but it really isn’t, and will ensure your business will still look good on Facebook. Next step is to start using timeline more frequently and embracing the medium – more on that in a future article. Good luck!

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  • http://www.resonateweb.com Sapan Shah

    I can’t even find a list of people who have “Liked” my page. Previously clicking the “Likes” link would open up a popup. For people who exchange “Likes” I need to know who all are Liking my page to reciprocate. New Timeline feels too complicated, almost like 90’s VB programs :-(

  • http://suskiwebdesign.com Mary Suski

    Excellent article – concise yet informative! Will definitely send it around, thank you.

  • http://PremiumWebsites.net Dotty Scott

    Great tips – I added my Start Date so not I can add Milestones. Will be going back through time to do this.

  • http://www.kerrie-redgate.com Kerrie Redgate

    Thank you so very much, Miles! This is the most useful and informative article I’ve read on mastering and taking advantage of the new changes to Facebook. Much appreciated! Timeline has been quite daunting for me, and, I have to say, I don’t like the new 2-column layout – especially when posts move from side to side! I greatly appreciate your help & generosity!

  • http://www.uglyfashionmedia.com Eoin Oliver

    Some ideas I had not considered there. Good points well made. I’d definitely like to see an article on Facebook covers. The rules threw me straight out at first!

    Sapan, you need to go with it, you can’t fight it. It’s not that complicated, and to be honest, I feel like it’s nicer to look at. More like a web page.

  • http://www.infiniteewebdesign.com Infinitee

    Thanks for the “Highlight” tip!