New Timeline for Facebook Fan Pages

Posted on March 2, 2012

On February 29th, Facebook released the biggest update to Fan Pages in over a year, implementing Timeline for Fan Pages.1  Current Fan Pages have until March 30th to update their format before the changes take place automatically, so we have provided this quick guide to help you prepare for what’s new and how it will affect your interaction with fans.

New Cover Image

The most visible and striking change you will notice on a Timeline-applied page is a large cover image (851×315 pixels).  Here you can place almost any image to exemplify your company, however Facebook has put in place a few rules to prevent this space from taking on the appearance of a banner ad.  Your image cannot include any information on prices, contact info, a call to action, or even references to Facebook actions such as Like or Share.2  Despite these limitations, this is still a valuable update, as each individual Fan Page will have a more customized look that can now be more in tune with your regular website’s color and imagery.

Elimination of Fan Gates & Application Changes

One of the features that has been removed is the ability to set which tab visitors will land on when coming to your page.  Previously, many Fan Pages set this as a custom application that acted as a homepage.  Now, the default landing tab is your Wall, with the new larger cover image (discussed above) intended as a unified solution for all Fan Pages to provide the feel of a custom homepage.

While you cannot set these applications as homepages, they can now be more prominently featured with much larger 111×74 pixel icons that appear just beneath the cover image.  Once clicked on and viewing the application’s page, the application itself is also much larger, having an available width of 810 pixels (up from 520).  This means some rework for page administrators, but in the long run it will be a big improvement and give more room for functionality.

The Timeline Itself

Facebook users who have opted for the Timeline on their personal pages will feel right at home with the new additions to the Fan Page Timeline.  You can add milestones to help tell the story of your company, and individual posts can be featured to make them appear larger, or even hidden to remove them without deleting.  Finally, and probably the most crucial feature to increase engagement, is the ability to pin posts to the top of the page for seven days.  That way fans will continue to see your most important posts, even as you are adding new content.

Admin Panel and Activity Log

While these features have almost no affect on your fan’s experience, they provide easier at-a-glace statistics and management capabilities.  From the Admin Panel you can view recent likes, notifications, and insights such as you page’s reach.  Also, you can view and respond to private messages that fans can now send directly to your page, and this is definitely valuable for handling customer service issues discreetly.  The Activity Log is also a new addition, and provides a convenient single location to find and edit old posts, and is also where you decide which posts to highlight and which to hide.

Make the Update!

With a firm grasp on all these changes you should be ready to make the necessary revisions.  Remember that you have till March 30th so there is plenty of time, and there is even a preview mode in which you can make and view potential changes before publishing.3

Sources

  1. Business Insider
  2. Inside Facebook
  3. Hyper Arts

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