Facebook Timeline Is Coming to Brand Pages … and We Love It!

Editor’s Note: As of August 7, 2014 Facebook announced an update to its Platform Policy, prohibiting the practice of like-gating. With this update, businesses still have the opportunity to require users take a specific action, such as sharing their email address. For more information, read our post on action-gating.   

As you may have seen today, Facebook has changed the way that Facebook Pages look and work by making Timeline the default experience for people visiting Facebook Pages.

Facebook announced a lot of things today that are designed to give users a more engaging experience, including some new functionality for Pages and the fact that you won’t be able to set a tab as a “default” anymore.

While we liked “Like-gated” Pages, the good news is you can still use great offers to drive fan growth and engagement.

How Timeline will affect your Page

On March 30, your brand’s Page will be converted to Timeline automatically — but if you just can’t wait till then, you can convert yourself right now. We’ve already done it with the Social Media Quickstarter Page:

Let’s start with how these changes most directly impact the things you are likely already doing with your Page. I think there is a lot to love!

1. You can make your cover photo beautiful!

In the old world of Facebook (i.e., this morning) you had very limited control over what your Page really looked like. Now, anyone will be able to create great looking Pages using the cover photo.

When you first convert your Page, you’ll be prompted to change your cover photo — that’s what Facebook calls the banner image at the top of the Page. You’ll want to choose something that reflects both the look and feel of your business or organization so you’re setting a tone for the rest of the content you’ll be sharing.

It’s very easy to change the photo as your products and services evolve, but there are some rules about what can’t be included in a cover photo:

  • Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website.”
  • Contact information, such as a website URL, email or mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section.
  • References to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features.
  • Calls-to-action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”
  • Anything that is false, deceptive, or misleading, or that infringes on third-parties’ intellectual property.

2. You can choose your featured content!

With Timeline for Pages, you can now choose which apps are featured at the top of your Page, what they look like, and what post you want to feature at (or pin to) the top.

In short, Facebook is giving you more control than ever before over which content people see first on your Page.

3. You can still use tab-based products like Social Campaigns!

Social campaigns are still a phenomenal way to use content and offers to encourage people to “Like” your Page, and then continue the conversation with them.

Because you can no longer “Like-gate” your entire Page, you’ll need to use our email and social sharing tools to promote your campaign across your email list and social networks.

The truth is, this isn’t such a bad thing. According to TechCrunch, default landing pages only drive 10% of total Page traffic. The other 90% comes from published links and ads, which still function the same without the default landing page capability.

Remember: Just publishing a campaign won’t get you real marketing results, anyway. You need to drive people to the campaign URL so that they “Like” your Page, share your offers, and keep the conversation going.

Three things you can do with Timeline today

If you decide to convert your Page today, here are three tips to get you started:

1.      Pick the right image: The cover photo is the first impression you’ll make on your customers and prospects who are visiting your Page. The photo should represent not just what your business or organization looks like, but also what it feels like. Is it warm and engaging? Buttoned up and secure? Make sure you’re showing who you want people to think you are and setting the right tone for the conversation.

2.      Add milestones to your Timeline: You can add key dates from your business or organization’s history to the Timeline so that when visitors scroll down, they can see your whole story, not just your posts. You may also want to revisit what you say in the “About” section of your Page; it’s much more featured now!

3.      Feature your campaign: If you’re running social campaigns, you can now feature them front and center on your Page. Two great ways to do that are by pinning a promotional post to the top of your Timeline (click to edit on a specific post at the top right of the post box, and select “pin to top”) or by changing the name and image of the Social Campaigns app to promote your offer (open the Admin panel, click Manage, then Edit Page, go to Page Settings, Apps, and Edit Settings, where you can change the custom tab image and the custom tab name.

As we digest more and more information, we will be passing it on. So subscribe to our blog and we’ll make sure you get all of the latest news and what it means for you!

How do you feel about Timeline for Pages? Are you as jazzed about it as we are? Share your thoughts in the comments field below.

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