Facebook’s new timeline for business pages

7th March 2012 by Jac Priestland | Innovation

In the last month or so Facebook has changed their profile pages to include a ‘timeline’. This timeline is a feature where the user can see their life’s activity on Facebook via an interactive timeline.

Facebook has had a bit of bad press over this as many users were not happy with this new feature as it contains data from day one of the users Facebook life. Many users did not want this information displayed publicly again. Personally, I like the new timeline feature as it’s similar to that of a life’s diary. If you have a bad memory like myself, you can look at the timeline to see when you did something or where you were at a specific date; that is if you ‘tagged’ yourself or made a ‘status’ update.

Anyway, that’s now in the past. Facebook have now launched a new timeline and other such features to their business pages. This change was always going to happen since the release of the timeline for user profiles. It was just a matter of time.

It’s basically a revamp of the old business page that gives you more control over the look and feel of your company’s page. You can interact more easily with your Facebook fans by enabling enhanced graphics. There is also the capability to feature your top posts and even a message section where you can private message any one of your fans.

With the launch of the new business page going live on 30th March 2012, I have jotted down the key features to look out for to entice those fans even more.

Cover/banner photo

As expected, Facebook have added the cover photo to all business pages. This is exactly the same as the cover photo for your normal Facebook profile.

The cover displays a huge 851 x 315 pixel banner across the top of your page. As this is the first thing that will catch the user’s eye, you might want to have an eccentric cover that will grab the user’s attention.

Facebook states that cover image must not 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’, ‘Share’, or any other Facebook site features.
  • Calls to action, such as ‘Get it now’ or ‘Tell your friends’.

Other than that, you can upload any image you like!

Milestones

Milestones are constructed to provide reference points along the road (or timeline as we know in Facebook).

Now you have the option to create milestones on your timeline, which gives you an easy way to translate company history to Facebook. For example, you could have a milestone to display when the business was opened or when the business offers a new service, etc. You could even add a milestone for every day the business stays open as these milestones are limitless. However, it’s better to add them to significant moments in your company’s history to emphasise important events.

To create a milestone simply click the ‘Milestone’ tab above the status field and follow the onscreen instructions.

Private messages

Now you can even send and reply to private messages from your fans or brands. This is a new feature which lets you have a one to one conversation with a fellow company or fan.

This new message service lets you speak to the user directly rather than having to discuss matters on your pages wall/timeline. This means you can take the conversion offline if the user is giving your business bad publicity, etc.

Note: you can only reply to users, so you would have to ask the user nicely to send you a message as you can’t directly send them one.

Pinned & highlighted posts

I think another great feature of the new timeline is that you, the company’s administrator, can ‘pin’ or ‘star’ posts.

You can pin a post (your posts and not other user’s posts) to the top of your timeline so that it’s one of the first posts a user will see. You can also make them cover the whole width of the page. You should do this if you want to highlight a popular post, event or even a special photo. However, pinned posts only stay ‘pinned’ at the top of your page for seven days. To make the most of this be sure to keep a post/photo pinned at all times and rotate it once a week to drive your traffic to different events each week.

Pinned post:

You can also ‘star’ a post; this is where you highlight a particular post in your timeline. An advantage to highlighting posts is that you can highlight a user’s post, not just your own. This way you can make user’s positive feedback more visible by staring a post. This will make the post the same width as the page. However, the post stays in same location as when it was posted in your timeline and does not move to the top like pinned posts do.

Tip: Every month or so, crawl through your timeline and highlight all of your best comments and photos etc.

 

Admin panel

At the very top of your new business page is the admin panel. Rather than sending admins to a separate interface, the new admin panel sticks to the top of your page. This admin section displays latest notifications, latest likes, messages and your analytical insights. You can click each of the sections to dive even further into them, such as ‘insights’ as it only shows a graph on the page. Insight data includes volume of your own posts, total number of likes, number of users ‘talking about this’ and all notifications. While an insight isn’t new, its integration with the admin panel makes it more accessible.

A ‘manage’ button on the admin panel reveals the ‘edit page’ option where you can configure your entire page’s settings, including whether fans can post to your timeline and who can see those posts.

Next to the manage button is a ‘build audience’ button where you can share your page to your own timeline or a friends page. You can also invite contacts from your email or other sources to join Facebook and visit your page.

All business pages will be upgraded to the new timeline automatically on March 30th 2012, as will all user profiles on a specific date. To see what your new page will look like, click the preview button at the top of your current company’s page. If you like it already, you can publish your page today rather than wait a month. Be sure to make some tweaks before you put it live, and you can even delete negative comments from your page (if in fact there is any!).

Below is an example of the new business timeline page:

http://www.facebook.com/FacebookPages

Feel free to ask any comments in the section below.

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