15 Must Know Tips to Rock Your New Facebook Timeline Business Page

PamMoore
Pam Moore Owner/Partner, Marketing Nutz, LLC

Posted on March 24th 2012

15 Must Know Tips to Rock Your New Facebook Timeline Business Page

Yup, Facebook did it to us again. This time they have added the new timeline to business pages. With it come both good and bad changes.  As I wrote in this earlier post “ Quit Blaming Facebook and Fix Your Own Marketing Problems” it’s important you don’t waste too much time complaining. Instead use that same negative energy and turn it into a positive. Use it as a lesson for not putting all of your social eggs in one basket!

The best thing you can do is stop complaining and get to work. The new Facebook business page timeline is here to stay at least until they decide to make the next round of changes. Might as well get use to it and make the most of it!

Below are some must know tips as well as loads of Facebook reference urls at the bottom to hopefully save you some time in case you get stuck or have further questions.

Note, there are more changes than what I included in this blog post. For this post I tried to keep it specifically focused on the “need to know” changes.

facebook5121 300x300 15 Must Know Tips to Rock Your New Facebook Timeline Business Page

15 Must Know Tips to Rock Your New Facebook Timeline Business Page

1. Know the dates.

The new Facebook timeline is set to launch on all business pages March 30, 2012.  You can start playing with your new page now and see it in preview mode before actually pushing live. I encourage you to do this as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the last minute and then be stuck with a boring page that shows you were not prepared.


2. Create a new Facebook timeline cover image.  

The cover image provides amazing opportunities for branding and to visually inspire and connect with your fans. The options are endless as long as you stay within the Facebook guidelines outlined in #3 below.

Create several different timeline covers so you can provide a fresh and inspiration experience for your timeline visitors!

Image dimensions: 851 x 315

Download a free template I created in both Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator formats here.

pmncover 300x143 15 Must Know Tips to Rock Your New Facebook Timeline Business Page

 

smart kid small 218x300 15 Must Know Tips to Rock Your New Facebook Timeline Business Page3. Know the Facebook cover image content guidelines (rules).

 Facebook has set pretty strict guidelines for what can and can’t be displayed and communicated on the new timeline cover image.

What you CAN do:

  • Brand the heck out of your company, book or personal brand. This include brand images, logos, photos and any other visual marks.
  • Inspire your audience with visually appealing graphics, colors and images.
  • Use simple language that will help you inspire and connect with your fans.

What you can NOT do: (Per Facebook cover guidelines)

  • 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”

Basically the cover image is provided to inspire and connect with your fans. It is not meant for blatant self promotion or hard sales.

*Obviously make sure you have legal copyrights to all images and content.

4. No default landing tabs. 

You can no longer set a tab as a default landing tab. Now before you go off on a wild rant about how terrible this is, remember this is a post designed to help you move forward and do good things with your new Facebook timeline.  Got it? Okay, great! Now here are a few things you CAN do:

  • Maximize use and space of cover image.
  • Use the unique urls of apps to direct people directly to the app from pages outside of Facebook as well as posts, status updates within Facebook.
  • Maximize use of the top apps shown underneath your cover photo.
  • Use the apps for call to actions and to engage your fans.
  • Use this as an excuse to get out of your box and focus on truly inspiring and connecting with your audience

 

5. Tabs are now Apps! 

Apps are the new tabs. Although you can’t set one as a default landing tab for new visitors to your Facebook page, there are still many ways you can leverage apps.

  • 4 apps are always on display underneath your Facebook cover image.
  •  You can utilize a max of 14 custom apps on your timeline.
  • Create a custom thumbnail for your app. (see #7 below)
  • Apps have a unique url that can be used to drive traffic to a specific app (see #6 below).

iStock 000012552769XSmall1 300x225 15 Must Know Tips to Rock Your New Facebook Timeline Business Page
6.  Use a unique url in place of landing tabs. 

Although you can no longer set a default landing tab, you can still easily get around this.  Since each app has it’s own unique url you can use the unique url to direct traffic from inside or outside of traffic to a specific app.

I suggest purchasing a unique url that you can use to drive traffic to your Facebook app of choice.  For example, I purchased the domain www.pamsfanpage.com and use to use it to direct traffic directly to my default landing tab. Now I will use it to drive traffic to an app of my choice.  The best part of using a domain that you own is that no matter how many times Facebook changes the apps, tabs, timelines, pages or other, you can stick to one or two urls that you use on a regular basis.

 

7. Create custom thumbnails for apps. 

It is super easy to create a custom thumbnail image for each and every app. Note custom images can not be set for photos and likes.

a. Create an image that is 111  x  74 pixels.

b. Click on the arrow to the right of your timeline (underneath the cover image). It will show a number which represents the number of apps you are using.

c. Click on the arrow next to the image of the app you want to change.

d. Click on edit settings.

e. Click on change (for the image)

f. Upload the new image


iStock 000011571924XSmall3 300x300 15 Must Know Tips to Rock Your New Facebook Timeline Business Page8. Fans can now send you a private message. 

You can not message your fans. The messsages are user (fan) initiated.  Messages are a good way to encourage one to one communication if you have an interest in doing such with your fans.

 

9. Milestones

You can set milestones for your business for current, or past dates. This is a great way to highlight key events such as grand opening, ribbon cuttings, launch of new products, new partnerships, business milestones and achievements.  Milestone images are 843 x 403 pixels.

a. Click Milesone in the sharing bar at the top of your page

b. Add a headline, date, location and details

c. Choose to add a photo

d. Click Save

 

10. Highlighted Posts. 

You can set any post to be highlighted which means it will take up both sides of the page. I know, the name “highlight” just doesn’t make sense to me either. I expected to see some type of real highlight. This feature enables you to bring special attention to a particular post within the timeline.

 

11. Pinned Posts.

You can set a post to be pinned to the top of the page. Pinned posts will stay on top of your timeline for up to 7 days.If possible, try not to wait the full 7 days before you change out the post unless you have a very important message to share. Chances are you have repeat visitors coming to your page throughout the week. Give them something new and fresh to check out.

 

iStock 000014250706XSmall1 300x225 15 Must Know Tips to Rock Your New Facebook Timeline Business Page12. Like button and interest lists. 

The like button will now show as “liked” for all fans who have already liked the page.

There are also new interest lists that can be accessed with a simple hover of the like / liked button.  You can create your own list as well as subscribe to lists the page owner has created.

Users can also select if they want to see your posts in their timeline right from your Facebook timeline by hovering over the same like button.

I will do more research on these feature and provide further detail in a subsequent post.

 

13. Know the required image sizes.

iStock 000016860317XSmall 300x225 15 Must Know Tips to Rock Your New Facebook Timeline Business PageNo need to over complicate this. Note the required image sizes and jot them down on a sticky. Stick it to your computer monitor and you won’t have to look them up or worry about forgetting them.

  • Cover photo: 851 x 315
  • Profile picture: 180 x 180
  • Thumbnail image for apps: 111 x 74
  • Highlighted & milestone images: 843 x 403
  • Images within wall posts display as 404 x 404.

 

14. It’s what happens after the “like” that matters most. 

Don’t get too hung up on all these changes. If you are focusing on only “likes” then you have much bigger problems than the Facebook default tab going away.

As I always say, it is what happens after the like that matters most. Check out this post I wrote in December, 2010 which still stands true today for tips to engage your audience after the like!  “What Happens After the Facebook Like? 20 Tips to Engage Your Audience After the Like!

15.  Don’t freak out. 

The worst thing you can do is go into “freak out” mode. If you are completely freaked out over these changes then you really need to do the “double think” on your online marketing strategy. Remember, you do not own Facebook. Facebook can make any changes they see fit, whenever they decide to do so. It is a free platform and although you may have put too much weight into the platform for the success of your business, use the anxiety you feel today as a positive to move at least a few eggs out of the Facebook basket. Putting all your eggs in one basket is never a good thing, particularly when it is a basket you do not own!

Additional Facebook Resources: 

Below I have compiled numerous Facebook pages to help you get acquainted with the most recent changes as well as the standard guidelines for Facebook features such as advertising and promotions.

Start setup of a new Facebook Business Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages

Facebook Basics: https://www.facebook.com/help/?page=260315770650470&ref=hcnav

The Facebook Blog: https://blog.facebook.com/

Facebook Marketing Solutions Timeline Page: https://www.facebook.com/marketing

Build Your Brand with Facebook Pages: https://www.facebook.com/help/?page=198605806884743&ref=hcsubnav

Facebook Ads & Business Solutions: https://www.facebook.com/help/?page=195623423828629&ref=hcnav

Facebook Advertising Guidelines: https://www.facebook.com/ad_guidelines.php

Facebook Promotions Guidelines: https://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php

Facebook Cover Guidelines: https://www.facebook.com/help/search/?q=cover+guidelines

Facebook Pages Guidelines: https://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php

Amended Facebook Pages Guidelines for State & Local Government in the United States: https://www.facebook.com/terms_pages_gov.php

Facebook Platform Policy: https://developers.facebook.com/policy/ (apps on pages must adhere to these)

How to make a Facebook milestone: https://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=279680818764230#What’s-a-milestone?-How-do-I-make-a-milestone-for-my-Facebook-Page?

Facebook Community Standards: https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards

Facebook Data Use Policy: https://www.facebook.com/about/privacy/

Facebook Statement of Rights & Responsibilities: https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms

Facebook Apps, Games & Credits: https://www.facebook.com/help/?page=310847352301318&ref=hcnav

Facebook App Basics: https://www.facebook.com/help/?page=222844857728639

Facebook App Guidelines: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/guides/canvas/

Facebook Personal Timeline: https://www.facebook.com/help/timeline

Facebook Safety Timeline Page: https://www.facebook.com/security

Facebook Family Safety Center: https://www.facebook.com/help/safety

 

Your Turn!

So what are your thoughts on the new Facebook timeline? Are you ready for the changes? Have you already implemented and launched the new Facebook timeline cover on your page? What are your favorite features of the new pages? What tips do you have you can share with others who may feel stuck or need inspiration?  

PamMoore

Pam Moore

Owner/Partner, Marketing Nutz, LLC

Half marketing, half geek, social media addict, CEO & Founder of Marketing Nutz @MktgNutz, entrepreneur, speaker, trainer, coach. Lover of strategy, ROI, Brand, God, Family, Friends, Beach & Life! 15+ years of experience helping small startups to Fortune 100 companies, budgets teeny tiny to big in both B2B and B2C markets build brand awareness, grow new markets, develop communities and master ROI across all mediums! Industries of expertise include high technology, non-profit & fundraising, green eco-friendly, enterprise data storage, professional services and storage management, real estate and home building, natural lighting, database analytics & modeling, online marketing, as well as web 2.0 ecommerce for online retailers. http://www.themarketingnutz.com

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Comments

Jim Cowart
Posted on March 24th 2012 at 12:44PM

Great article! Very informative. Thank you for bringing these marketing issues together in one easy-to-read article.

 

michelle.smyth@sunlife.com
Posted on March 24th 2012 at 1:17PM
Love the positive tone of the article! Nicely done. One thing we've noticed about the cover image is that the top half is often hidden when the page first loads. Have seen a few pages that have done interesting things to compensate: Coke, Nike with collages, Starbucks with a bottom focused image, and Dove actually has split it (which is cool). Something to keep in mind.
Green Guru Network
Posted on March 26th 2012 at 8:38AM
Thank you for the awesome inspiration and information. I'm heading over to our FB page now to get started. Them to off to shop for a new unique URL!
Ijaz429
Posted on March 26th 2012 at 10:50AM

Hey Pam, great article and thanks for sharing. Could you further clarify point #6? I have an app that people can sign up for contests on our page....are you saying that I can direct people that click on my ads to that app before they go to my timeline page?

GabrielleJeans_
Posted on March 26th 2012 at 11:29AM

Great post. I have a question about #6. You mentioned being able to purchase a domain name to be re-directed to a particular app. Could you please explain how this is done?

GnXVazquez
Posted on March 26th 2012 at 10:04PM

Excellent tips!!! Now is time to change some things in my pages . Thanks!!!! ;)

bbdginc
Posted on March 27th 2012 at 7:35AM

Thank you for the great list of for the new Facebook timeline.  I just had a client ask if they could add a web address to their timeline cover.  I wrote a post on the new facebook timeline the day it was accounced, but it was not this comprehensive.

Jelle Annaars
Posted on March 28th 2012 at 7:10AM

We had the community vote for the best Timeline cover photo, which worked out great for interaction and feeling of 'co-creation'. It's such a prominent feature of your FB page.

sandra fioramonti
Posted on March 29th 2012 at 8:13AM

Beautifully written and helpful. The "Don't Freak Out" section was well worded and hopefully that gets to the people that complain about a FREE resource. I am thankful for the updates that are being made. Change is GOOD!! I Love the new timeline. So accessible at a glance!

kael21
Posted on March 29th 2012 at 12:38PM

Good overview of the Facebook timeline.  We had a few clients inquire on the timeline and granular details of what they can and cannot do. I wrote a post covering additional details on Facebook's new timeline, including covering details on Facebook marketing for business and areas not touched in your post as the new Facebook premium ads and Facebook offers, Facebook's enhanced version of Groupon offers.

Hope you guys find additional value in this post. 

cweselby
Posted on March 29th 2012 at 7:18PM

Are there some apps, such as the Events app, that don't allow you to change the thumbnail image? I'm banging my head against the cubicle wall.

Posted on March 29th 2012 at 7:43PM

Great article!  Our company ran into an issue after switching to the Timeline view back when it became available that I'm hoping someone can help me out with.  I requested that Facebook changes the date of birth in our account to the date our company was founded in so that my personal date of birth does not show in the new timeline design of our company page.  I couldn't make the change myself as I kept getting an error stating that the date of birth must meet their legal requirements.  I used one of the feedback forms and requested that Facebook adjusts our date of birth to the date our company was started in so that it shows properly in the new Timeline view.  Which they did.  A day later I received an  email notication stating that our account has been disabled as we're not of a legal age.  I replied to the email and explained the reason why we ended up changing the date and received another email what appeared to be an automated message stating that our account will be enabled as long as I provide proof of age.  I emailed them a copy of my ID as requested, and in return received another email from Facebook stating that my account was disabled and their decision was final (as if they did not read my email or see my ID).  It's been 2 weeks now and our account is still disabled.  Since there is no phone support for Facebook I can't get in touch with anyone.  If I try to use any of the feedback/help forms I just keep getting automatic reply messages stating that they can't help me as my accont was disabled.  I am stuck.  Does anyone know how I can get our account back up?  I'd hate for us to loose our company Facebook page and have to start over.  I regret that I upgraded to this new Timeline so bad.  Please help.

GabrielleJeans_
Posted on March 30th 2012 at 9:19AM

Hi,

Unfortunately, you may not be able to use a birth date of less than 13 years old. Once you adjust that, your company should be up and running. You can change the birth date to yours and choose to hide it and then in your about section or description, you can talk about when the company was founded. That would be your best bet. Facebook takes the age restriction bit very seriously as lots of kids are trying desperately to join Facebook. I do however feel your frustration after sending the ID card but just try to change the birth date to yours and hope it works out for you.

KevinHorne
Posted on March 30th 2012 at 10:07AM

Holy Cow!  Sounds like Facebook has outsourced its customer service to the same vendor that Google uses !!!  (Vendor name = No-Wun He-Uh)

Javier Espinoza Rodriguez
Posted on March 30th 2012 at 9:51AM

A simple and informative article, if only most of them were written this way. We have spent the last month converting most of our clients from the Classic look to the new Timeline, and I absolutely think that Facebook might have actually gotten it right this time around. Thanks for helping those that don't like it, understand it a bit better. I will tweet & share this article :)

Gary James
Posted on March 30th 2012 at 10:53AM

Thanks but one thing no one ever touches on is how to manage your PHOTOS. I cannot figure out what FB classifies as a Wall post, a Photo or "Photos and videos of...." When I POST a photo to share on my biz page, I don't necessarily want that to be the featured photo now under "PHOTOS.' So, I figured out the workaround for that, but each time I post a photo I have to go back and fix the "FEATURED PHOTO." I then discovered that arbitrarily, or so it seems, FB will decide if I've posted a photo to share or as a wall post...the other day I uploaded a photo just to change the FEATURED photo in the APPS and FB loaded it in "photos about (my company)" and I couldn't do anything with it. In fact, I have no idea why those photos are there or how to move them or remove them (in that category).

I've been fooling around with this new timeline for about 4 weeks now, and from March 20th until yesterday, no comments/posts/shares were showing up. I went from seeing an increase in views, insights from 61 to 115 up until the site stopped working properly on the 20th, then plummet to 30....after 4 days of messaging to facebook, screen captures, posting on "Known Issues on Facebook" (which is a real nightmare, check it out), and lots of friendly help from pros I know, the page seems to be working better. Once you spend some time with it you'll discover there really isn't much you can do with it, but it's simplified, you know, like an automatic camera or a cell phone camera. People will think they are actually marketing their business because they figured out how to put something on their FB page. Just like they all think they can write because they have WORD, or just like everyone in the 80s thought they were graphic designers because they used PageMaker. But, I digress....

If you know the answer to the photos dilemma, I'd love to know it though....Your post was very informative to folks that haven't spent any time with the timeline yet. Once they do, and get into it, they'll see that for all the hype about it, it's fairly basic and limited.

mila kaping
Posted on April 2nd 2012 at 1:22AM

thank.awesome Information for marketing

Wishpond
Posted on April 3rd 2012 at 12:39PM

This is a great overview Pam. Further to your point #7 above, we have produced a set of free app icons that you can download and use to replace the default app icons for your Facebook applications: <a href="http://corp.wishpond.com/free-icons-for-facebook-timeline-apps/">http://corp.wishpond.com/free-icons-for-facebook-timeline-apps/</a>

In that post you can also find step-by-step instructions for changing your icons. 

lfreche
Posted on April 9th 2012 at 4:56PM

This post was very useful for my blog! I am a Communication student at St. Edward's University and am learning/writing about social media for beginners. Check it out here! :)

Andrew Samuelsen
Posted on January 5th 2013 at 9:05PM

Hi. You can find a lot of free & paid apps for your business Facebook Page at www.facebookappdirectory.com