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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.

Comments:

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  1. Thanks for summarizing Josh – time to get to work on redoing our pages

    Reply
  2. My only concern is that my social campaign is an offer to new “Likes” so if I post it on my page there is no way to limit how many times the coupon is used.

    Reply
    • Josh Mendelsohn •

      Kimberly,

      Thanks for the comment. Technically Facebook requires that all of your offers are available to all of your fans, not just new ones. The good news is that if you promote your offer to your email list and not your current fans you’ll be more likely to generate new fans. If you promote it to all of your fans, however, you might be able to generate more sales!

      Hope that helps and thanks for reading,

      Josh

      Reply
  3. Not everyone likes the new ways. Some of us like things a bit slow. The new is too much. I have a damaged brain, so the old FB is just fine for me. Now it looks like I will be waking up to the timeline page, which has things here, there, and every where. LESS IS MORE. I don’t twitter because it is too much. Why are we constantly being FORCED to do it your way? No service here.

    Reply
    • Josh Mendelsohn •

      Susan,

      Thanks for the comment. I agree that the constant changes Facebook and Twitter are making can be a bit much for sure. Personally I think most of the changes are positive in the long term but I completely understand your point of view!

      Josh

      Reply
    • Susan, I so agree with you. I do not like the new timeline at all. I publish three newsletters monthly and have enough on my plate ediiting, layout and design. I do not need another thing to take up my time.

      Peggy

      Reply
  4. Shelley Roth •

    My most disliked item is you are no longer to see ALL Page posts AND ALL Others posts in the same view. You now must select what you are viewing in the drop down.
    I am also very we no longer have an option to WELCOME guests to our page, and like gate a special offer.

    Reply
  5. Josh

    You put a good face on what I think is a terrible development – and what has to be even more troubling for the Social Media people at Constant Contact.

    The whole Gate Page concept that is the centerpiece of your Social Media program was great – and this new development throws all that out.

    Yes, there are workarounds, but I don’t think they work as well as your Gate strategy.

    Reply
    • Josh Mendelsohn •

      Bob,

      Thanks for the comment. While Like-gating is a central component of the Social Campaigns product, the fact is that only about 10% of traffic to tabs comes from people navigating directly to a Page and seeing the default tab. The other 90% comes from promoting the offer through email, social posts, and ads. We will see exactly how this shakes out but the importance of a real campaign with a series of posts and promotions instead of just a welcome page is even greater now.

      Thanks!

      Josh

      Reply
      • Tom P. •

        I received an email to try the social tool today…..no where did it mention it does nothing when you have already switched to timeline. I just switched to a Timeline page yesterday because I read this post. What are you doing to me?

        Reply
        • Josh Mendelsohn •

          Tom,

          Thanks for the message. While Social Campaigns works a little differently than it did before, it absolutely works with timeline. The truth is that the vast majority of traffic to a like gated piece of content comes from the promotion of the campaign, not the default landing tab so running a good campaign with a compelling offer and promoting it via social posts and email should still deliver real results. I hope you’ll still give it a shot!

          Josh

          Reply
  6. […] has introduced its Timelines idea for brand pages. And if you aren’t familiar with Timelines yet, then you should go to Facebook and start […]

    Reply
  7. Josh,
    “I hope you’ll still give it a shot!”

    The problem is we do NOT have a choice. Visually, the Timeline is too “all over the page”. I do not know where to look first. It is not appealing to me at all.

    Peggy

    Reply
  8. I am very happy with it. I barely finished trying to do “like” gateways, when we don’t use them now!! Change happens so fast that I mostly DON’T keep up! I am so happy with your company and service for helping the little business person that can’t afford an IT dept. Very timely and pertinent information. Thank you.

    Reply
  9. I took some time to learn how CC’s Social Campaigns would work and it seems like they’re pretty useless now. Urgh, time not super well spent. but I guess we’re all guinea pigs with this technology for now.

    Reply
    • Albert,

      We are actually seeing that most visitors and activity on Facebook landing pages are driven by the promotion of the tab via email and social posts (simple share makes this easy) that explain the offer you have included, rather than people navigating directly to a page. The key is sending people to the URL for the Social Campaign itself instead of your FB home page.

      Hope that helps!

      Josh

      Reply
  10. […] been a big week for Facebook. In addition to its introduction of Timeline for brand Pages, Facebook’s advertising efforts are now picking up steam: The social network is planning to […]

    Reply
  11. […] I just read an excellent post from Contact Contact’s Blog that shed some light on things, calmed a few worries, and proved to me once again that Constant […]

    Reply
  12. So happy timeline is now available for brands!

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  13. Will we see the ‘social campaign’ width grow to accommodate all the extra space we have to fill now? Some 800+px

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  14. Chanel •

    So I basically wasted time creating a Social Campaign because in less than 30 days it will be obsolete. Grrreat! What’s the point of CC’s new Social Campaign to “like-gate” my page if “like-gating” is no longer allowed due to the new Timeline?

    Reply
    • Nathan Gonzalez •

      “fan gating” is still allowed, default landing pages are NOT allowed. There’s still plenty of clever ways to use “fan gating” without landing pages :)

      Reply
  15. Hey – all the like-gaters out there. We switched a while back from like-gaiting. You’ll want to look into one of the apps that people “buy” your free item by sharing on Facebook. So for the price of a share, they get your free coupon, etc. MUCH better results than like-gaiting.

    Reply
  16. […] would guess that a huge amount of Pinterest traffic is driven by Facebook posts. And with everyone being converted over to the new Timeline setup, the opportunity to be very visual will only get […]

    Reply
  17. […] your Facebook fans to add your Page to their lists (which they can do from the gear icon on the new Timeline layout for Pages.) Furthermore, it could be good for high profile members of your company to create curated lists […]

    Reply
  18. […] Facebook Pages are converted to the new Timeline format, you may be worried about the impact this change will have on your Facebook […]

    Reply
  19. […] Even though the default landing page is going away, Timeline has some real advantages. […]

    Reply
  20. So great to get the timelines for our pages. This really helps us understand more of what we can do with the new look. At first, it seemed like we were loosing functionality but I am seeing that we are really gaining a lot, including a slick new look!

    Reply
  21. Thanks for the update Josh. I’ve heard mixed views about the changes but I think once we all learn how to maneuver through it all will be fine.

    Reply

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