How Small Businesses Can UtilizeFacebookTimelineBy: Chris Vaughn/Ashley Sasnett Design: Jenn Bryant
Table of Contents 1. Introduction 2. Visual 2a. Cover Picture 2b. Profile Picture 2c. About Us 2d. Tabs and Applications 2e. Landing Pages 3. Function 3a. Pinning 3b. Starring 3c. Milestones 3d. Post Management 4. Administration 4a. Admin Panel 4b. Messages 4c. Publicly Displayed Brand Information 4d. Insights 5. Specifications Review 6. Conclusion
1. IntroductionOn March 30th, Facebook will begin a mandatorytransition of all brand pages to the new timelineformat. While learning a new way of managingyour brand page might seem challenging and time-consuming, you should place a priority on learning howtimeline works so that you don’t lose the opportunityto share content or optimize fan engagement.The new Facebook Timeline is all about storytelling.It’s no longer about posting content that will bepresented in the newest-to-oldest news feed, but nowbecomes about creating an interactive experiencethat takes your fans on a journey of your business,and engages them in a way that the current formatdoesn’t support. In this guide, you’ll learn how the newtimeline will help you to take your fans through thestory of your brand with pictures, videos, stories andmore.Let this eBook serve as your step-by-step guide to setting up and managing your new Facebook brand page.By the time you’re done reading it, we’re confident that you’ll not only understand your new page, butyou’ll be excited to begin optimizing it and engaging with your fans on an even deeper level.
2. VisualThere are significant changes to the aesthetics of the new Facebook brand pages. With an emphasis onstorytelling, each element and graphic on your timeline page will serve to tell the story of your business toyour fans.Below are the key changes to how your timeline will appear, with step-by-step explanations on how to getthe most out of your timeline.2a. Cover PictureThe cover photo serves as the “main event” of your page. It’s the first thing that visitors or fans will seewhen they come to your brand page. Facebook has provided guidance for the content on the cover picture,but there will still be plenty of ways to make it very engaging.With your cover picture, you want to capture the attention of visitors quickly as soon as they come to yourpage. It should be:1. Welcoming2. Visually appealing3. Representative of your brandCover Picture Guidelines● Size: 851x315 (pixels)● Must not have price or purchase information.● Must not contain any text that says “download here” or any text that implies it.● Must not have contact information (Such as URL or company phone #).● Must not have calls to action (Such as “Like us now” or “Click here”).● You can click and drag the cover photo around to reposition it.● May update or change the cover picture as often as you wish.
2b. Profile PictureIf you’ve had a Facebook page before, this graphic is familiar to you. It’s been the primary identifyinggraphic for your fans in the past, and will continue to serve as a branding tool for the new timeline pages.Many brand pages are integrating their company logo directly in to the cover photo, instead of having it astheir profile picture. Some are opting to use their logo as their profile picture. Whatever you choose, it’simportant to keep both your cover and profile photos in line with your overall branding strategy.Profile Picture Guidelines● Size: 180x180 (pixels)● Will also serve as your ‘avatar’ in conversations and comments. (That graphic is 32x32 in pixels, somake sure it’s optimized to look good in the thumbnail version as well)2c. About UsThis will pull the text you had entered in the ‘Basic Information’ part of your Facebook page. This text willfall right below the profile picture and is an opportunity to succinctly explain your business to your visitors.There is a 150 character limit to this text box.Users, by clicking ‘About’ under this text, will be able to read more information about your business. Makesure to spend some time creating and reviewing the copy for these sections:● Founded date● Company overview● Description● General Information● Mission● Awards● Products● WebsiteYou want to make use of this space. Your most engaged and likely-to-spend prospects will want to learn asmuch about you as possible before giving away their business.
2d. Tabs and ApplicationsRemember how your brand page had a navigation panel on the left side of the page, where your fans couldnavigate to different parts of the brand page? The new timeline has changed that, replacing that navigationmenu with these application “tabs” that you can control and use to direct your visitors around your page.Tips and Tricks For Your Tabs Bar● The first application listed will always be Photos. This cannot be removed or moved, and will displaythe most recent photo uploaded.● After photos, place the application tabs in order of importance. (What do you want your visitorsto see? Where do you want your visitors to go?) Keep in mind the top row of tabs will be your mostvaluable real estate on your timeline, and you’ll want to prioritize that content accordingly.● To change the application tab placement, select the drop down arrow to show a full listing of youravailable apps. Hover over the app you would like to move and notice a pencil icon in the upperright corner of the tab. Click on the pencil and then follow the commands to move the app to theappropriate position.● Tabs will use a default image, but can usually be edited! Go to the “Manage apps” section of thepage manager, and most of your apps will allow you to change the icon (size specs: 111x74 pixels).● You now have the option to hide how many ‘Likes’ you have from your home page (Users will stillbe able to see Likes if they pull down your tabs bar). If you are trying to build a following and don’thave many visitors yet, you may choose to not display your total ‘likes’ in that top bar. In contrast, ifyou have a lot of followers, you will want to publicly display that information.2e. Landing PagesYou will no longer be able to direct users to land on a particular page. (For example, sending a visitorstraight to a promotion or products page) The “wall” page will now be default for all visitors.Custom graphics can be uploaded with call to action text and titles, and added to the apps to encouragefans to explore that content. Custom content created using apps can still use a “fan gate” as a way tonecessitate a user to “like” the page in order to access that content, but not to access the page itself.This change might seem like it will negatively affect your ability to convert leads with your Facebook brandpage, but properly managing your tabs and the other new timeline features should not only replace thelanding pages, but should increase overall engagement and conversion.
3. FunctionThe new timeline doesn’t just look neat, it serves both form and function. Keeping with the storytellingmotif, Facebook has included a suite of features that will allow you to optimize your ‘Wall” to present yourfans and visitors specific and targeted information about your brand.Below are an overview of these features and some best practices.3a. PinningYou are now able to ‘pin’ specific posts on your wall. This is similar to making something “sticky” on amessage board or blog, ensuring it is prominent to all visitors.Pinning will be a powerful strategy for directing time-specific and promotional content to your fanbase andprospects. These posts can include calls-to-action or product highlights. As noted earlier, there are no longerspecific landing pages on the timelines, but a great pinning strategy should be able to engage just as well, ifnot better.‘Pinning’ Guidelines and Tips● To pin a post, just hover over it and click the the pencil iconto the right in the post’s frame and select “pin to top”● A post will only stay pinned for 7 days, at which point it willbe relegated to its proper place in the timeline. You can re-pin after 7 days to keep it pinned longer.● You can unpin (prior to the 7th day expiration) the sameway it was pinned.● Only one story can be pinned at time.● When pinned, the size of the post will not be affected.3b. StarringMuch like pinning a post, starring a post will allow you to display relevant and desirable information on yourtimeline. The major difference between “starring” and “pinning” is that starring the post will give it a boldand prominent placement by stretching it across the width of the screen, which will set it apart from theother content on your page.‘Starring’ Guidelines and Tips● To star a post, hover over it and click the star to the right.This will stretch the post to the width of the page.● Starred posts, unlike pinned posts, will not be reordered tothe top of your feed.● Unstar a post the same way you starred it.● A starred post might be a visually engaging or moreevergreen one, whereas a pinned post will be somethingthat’s more timely and directive to your prospects.
3c. Milestones‘Milestones’ are perhaps the most fun and engaging way to tell your story. You now have the ability toprovide the history of your company, which will serve as a great business resource for visitors.‘Milestones’ Guidelines and Tips● To add a milestone, go to your status composer’s box and click milestone. List the event and providea time and location. Give details of the particular milestone if you wish.● Adding a photo is highly suggested, unless you are happy with the flag place-holder that Facebookuses as a default. (Size specs for milestone images: 843x403 pixels)● You can create past milestones and back fill those dates to create a brand activity or history.● Some great milestone examples:○ When company was founded○ New product launch or changes○ New hires at company○ Company acquisitions or mergers○ Special events or anniversaries3d. Post ManagementYou’ll notice a wide variety of activity on your new timeline, and there will be times when you want to editor change your posts. There are some advanced controls in place for you to make sure each piece of contentis displayed just how you want it.Change Post Dates● Hover over the post and click on the pencil and choose‘Change Date’● This will reorder the post in the feed on the page, but itwill not change the size however, like starred posts.Hide a Post● Hover over the post and click on the the pencil and select‘Hide From Page’.● Will hide post from all visitors, but not from page admins.● This can be applied to any post on the page.● Excellent tool to remove ‘clutter’ from a page.Delete a Post● Hover over the post and click on the pencil and choose‘Delete’.● Will permanently delete the content from your page.
4. AdminstrationWhile the presentation and the functions of the new Facebook timeline bring many improvements to thepage, there are also some additions and improvements on the “back end” of your page that only pageadministrators will have access.Listed below are the areas in which you’ll be able to keep your page optimized.4a. Admin PanelThe ‘Admin Panel’ is the main hub of all your administration duties. The panel has four primary sections:● Notifications (A list of your most recent page activity)● New Likes (Your most recent fans)● Messages (Most recent messages in your Inbox)● Insights (A brief look at your page analytics)You can drill down into any of the four categories with the ‘see all’ option in the right corner. If you’d like tohide the panel while viewing your page, click the ‘Hide’ button in the upper right corner of your page. Clickon ‘Admin Panel’ when hidden to bring the panel back up.4b. MessagesFans can now directly communicate with your business via messaging, and you can respond back via privatemessage as well.Private Messaging Guidelines● Users are not required to have ‘liked’ the page to communicate with the page or for the page tocommunicate back with them.● You can remove the messaging feature (and button) from your page by selecting the ‘manage’ optionand then selecting ‘edit page’ and de-selecting the ‘show message button’ on page.● Pages cannot initiate private messages with Facebook profiles (fans or visitors- it makes nodifference). They can only respond when the visitor has messaged them.● A business may only reply twice to fans and then its capped until there is a response from the visitor,at which point the business may once again reply.While the private messaging guidelines might seem strict, they are aimed to protect Facebook usersfrom receiving spam or unwanted solicitation. You’ll have the opportunity to participate in the two-waycommunication if your page has engaged a visitor to the point of direct contact. This is even more reason tospend sufficient time optimizing your timeline!
4c. Publicly Displayed Brand InformationWhen a user clicks on your ‘Likes’ tab, they will be taken to a page that will provide them with some of yourbrand page analytics. This includes:● Total likes● Total ‘People Talking About This’● Page Insights: Your page’s demographics and most popular content● A 30-day rise and fall of your page’s activity4d. InsightsIf you click through to your Facebook Insights from your Admin Panel, you’ll notice a page featuring some ofyour brand page’s most important analytics. This includes:● Total Likes – How many people currently ‘like’ your page● Friends Of Fans – This counts all your fans multiplied by how many fans they have● People Talking About This – The number of unique people who have created content around your page(see more below)● Weekly Total Reach – The # of unique people who have seen content on your pageYou’ll also notice specific analytics on each piece of content you’ve posted to your page. You need at least30 fans to access Facebook Insights.There are a variety of ways you can explore and learn from your Insights. For a comprehensive review ofFacebook Insights, head to our Facebook Insights guide.5. Specifications ReviewThe new timeline is a visually stunning and engaging environment. Your cover graphic will stand out as thefirst thing your visitors see, and you’ll now have the chance to spread out certain graphics you choose acrossthe width of your page. Whatever your photos strategy is for your page, you’ll have complete control overhow they are presented to anyone viewing your timeline.Facebook will auto resize your photos if you upload them to the specific places, but if you want to get thebest quality and resolution from each graphic, here is a listing of the exact specifications for all of thetimeline photos.Facebook Cover Photo● Size: 851x315 (pixels)Profile Photo● Size: 180x180 (pixels)‘Avatar’ Photo (The graphic that is used as a button or thumbail in comments)● Size: 30x30 (pixels)Tab Photo (Some of the graphics on your tabs are customizable, see ‘Tabs and Apps’ section)● 111x74 (pixels)Milestones Photo● 843x403 (pixels)
6. ConclusionAs outlined in this guide, the appearance and management of your Facebook brand page has undergonesignificant change. Your new timeline should tell a story much like a book or a movie where you visitor takesa walk through the history of successes of your business. This should help to familiarize yourself to yourclients and prospects and build an atmosphere where dialogue and engagement is encouraged at a high-level.It’s important to remember that Facebook is the same two-way communication tool it was before fancydesign and function changes. A fancy new paint job doesn’t mean your car won’t require the same care andmaintenance. Engagement is about a two-way dialogue between the brand and the audience. Think aboutand execute the steps from this eBook, and your new timeline will propagate your brand and your messageclearly and effectively.WAS THIS HELPFUL?SHARE OR CONNECT WITH US ONLINE!digitalsherpa.com/blogwww.facebook.com/digitalsherpaswww.twitter.com/digitalsherpaswww.linkedin.com/company/digital-sherpawww.youtube.com/digitalsherpas