The only thing that seems to be certain these days is change. For many of my clients, they have just been rolled over from the old format on their Facebook personal pages to the new Timeline. It has taken Facebook some time to convert 800+ million users to the new layout. I was holding my breath regarding impending changes to the Facebook Business Pages hoping for more time. But, Facebook made the announcement yesterday. The good news is we have until March 30th before our pages get rolled over. The bad news is that Facebook is imposing several restrictions. So we essentially have a month to roll up our sleeves and make some necessary adjustments. Here are the top 5 things you need to know about the changes coming to Facebook pages.
1. Cover (banner image)
The side graphic on your old Facebook Business Page will disappear after March 30th. This means if you had someone create a custom image for you, it will be gone after that date. Instead, Facebook is allowing you a new space to define your brand. The good news is that you have 851 x 315 pixels to work with now instead of the old 200 x 600. However, here are the limitations Facebook is putting on your new banner image. Here is information taken from Facebook.
All covers are public. This means that anyone who visits your Page will be able to see your cover. Covers can’t be deceptive, misleading, or infringe on anyone else’s copyright. You may not encourage people to upload your cover to their personal timelines.
Covers may not include:
i. price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it on socialmusic.com”;
ii. contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section;
iii. references to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features; or
iv. calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”
So basically, Facebook wants you to choose something that is visually engaging and speaks to prospects and clients about your business without ‘advertising’ it. They do not want a text based banner. So choose a picture of your product/s or showcase people using your services.
In addition to the cover, you also get a profile picture space. One should consider using your logo in this space as this is the image that will follow you around Facebook from a business point of view. You can upload images that are 180 x 180 pixels that will get reduced to 32 x 32 for the thumbnail, so be sure you pick something that is legible. If you are branding yourself, using your own image could work here as well.
2. Custom Landing Pages/Tabs
If you have a custom landing page like a Welcome Page for example that was used to direct first time visitors to information about you or your business, this will also disappear. Everyone will now always land on Timeline (the new name for your wall). The tabs and pages haven’t disappeared however. They will still be available on your page but only as a tab. You may display up to 4 tabs on your page. One of them is photos which cannot be displaced. There are room for 3 more. And you can reposition those 3 tabs. You can have up to 12 tabs but the rest will be available only as a drop down. The position has also changed on the page. They will now be visible towards the right side of the page rather than under the image for your page. You can direct traffic to these pages via a Facebook ad, your website or your email signature block. You just won’t be able to set this as a landing page for your visitors.
It is clear that Facebook wants you to buy ads. This is how they make money and with an IPO around the corner, you can be sure they need to show that they can continue to be profitable. There are many organizations out there who have been making money at Facebook’s expense and they want to cash in on the action.
Here is a new feature I like…it’s called pinning. It’s great if you want to bring peoples’ attention to a particular post for a length of time – one week to be exact. and then it will be automatically unpinned. You will need to click on the pencil icon at the top right of the post and select the ‘pin to top’ option. You can ‘unpin’ an item and it will return to its proper place in the timeline. Consider pinning something new each week but don’t forget to continue posting to your timeline to keep things fresh!
Milestones is another feature that was announced and are just that – important dates you want to highlight – in this case, about your business. These will be expanded to display at 843 x 403 pixels. You must have a photo to accompany it or the feature won’t work. To add a milestone:
- Click Milestone in the sharing tool on your page
- Fill in the information on the screen,
- Add your photo
- Click save.
You can go back in time and add things to your timeline and they will appear chronologically. Get creative and add some great things like your ribbon cutting ceremony, or a picture of your first client, an award you won etc.
Facebook removed the feature some time ago whereby you could message fans of your page. They are returning the feature but not as I would like. The owner of the page cannot initiate the message. This would be for potential spamming reasons. The message feature can be turned off or on by the page owner. So, if you are a big brand and don’t want constant messages, you would likely turn this off. If however, you are a small business owner like myself, consider enabling this feature and allow people to message you.
There will be much more to come I am sure, but this will give you a head start as to the changes that are fast approaching. If you don’t want to wait until March 30th and want to preview and activate the new Timeline for your page before March 30th, visit the preview button at the top of your business page. I did! You can vist my page here! Just be sure you have a cover installed and a profile picture at the very least. Yes, I know, it will be yet another learning curve, but together we’ll get through it.
Let me know what you think and don’t forget to leave a link back to your own blog via the commentluv feature here on my site.
Until next time,
While Joanne lives in Newmarket, Ontario with her family, she is virtually yours anywhere.