Facebook’s Timeline Change For Pages

How To Prepare Your Brand

By Carin Oliver

It’s official.  Facebook will convert all Pages on March 30 to the new Timeline design that’s already rolled out to individual profiles.  Most visibly, the new Page layout will mimic many features currently found on the the personal profile Timeline, including the vertical content and the widescreen masthead image on the top of the page.

In addition to the new look, there are also some exciting engagement functionality developments.  These changes, of course, will pose both opportunities and potential obstacles for your brand.

Brand Page administrators, will be able to star posts to feature their appearance to widescreen or make posts sticky that will keep them visible in the Timeline’s top-left area for seven days. Companies will also be able to add “milestones.”   Milestones will be displayed as a widescreen content box featuring photos and text highlighting a brand’s history.

Effectively, these new functions will allow content to have a longer shelf life and therefore allow brands to more fully define their personalities.  Both positive and negative historical activity can show on the page, but there is an opportunity for brands to hide content that is no longer relevant or potentially embarrassing.   Next week we will follow up with a post on how to manage what content is visible on your Page.

FAVORITE NEW FUNCTION

Facebook's Friend Activity FeatureOne of the most exciting changes for engagement is the new friend activity feature.  Individuals who visit a brand’s Page will see a prominent display on how their friends have interacted with the brand either through a check-in, a tag, a post or a like. The Facebook Ads that target friends of friends have been, by far, the most effective method for conversions.  We anticipate this new feature will work in much the same way.

PAGE ADMIN UPGRADES

Facebook has also upgraded the Page administrator options as well.  The admin panel hides or expands on command, which should save some hassle when making changes and updates or checking on the Page insights.  Insights will also be in a more accessible at a glance format.

Our favorite feature is that brand Pages can now respond directly to private messages.  This should streamline communication between consumers and brands, making customer service via Facebook so much easier and effective.

Visually, the new larger photo format places more emphasis on quality photography.  For all of our Facebook clients, photos have driven the vast majority of engagement.  Facebook reports that network wide, photos generate two times more activity than other post types.

HUGE DESIGN IMPLICATIONS

The change to timeline for Pages has some significant design implications for brands.  And while Facebook design has always been important, with Timeline, it’s going to be imperative that brands spend resources to take full advantage of the great  opportunity.
Three design changes to consider:

  1. Cover image
    1. The cover can be a powerful opportunity to define your page’s personality with display logos, products, photos and more.
  2. Tab Thumbnails
    1. Tabs will be much more prominent and really need a specific design
    2. These could be a screenshot, a designed “button” like look.  Properly designed tab thumbnails will help your fans move through your Page’s content.
    3. Each design should be specific to the content on that page to help users discern which tab is which.
  3. Bigger Interior Tab Area
    1. The tab pages have been redesigned to allow for width.   This means you can expand the design and will be able to fit more key elements ‘above the fold.’
    2. On the negative side, however, this could mean a ground-up redesign of ALL the tabs.   It would be ideal to redesign the tabs to take advantage of this increased real-estate.  Bear in mind, however, that all the tabs still work fine in the new layout (they just don’t take advantage of the increased width).

Let us know if you have any questions about Facebook’s Timeline changes and how you can best take advantage of the new functionality and design.

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