Facebook Timeline in company profiles (+ template)
A year and a half ago, I wrote about 15 steps to an effective company profile on Facebook. The time has now come to make changes.
At the end of 2011, Facebook introduced Timeline in private profiles. This is a new layout of a user page with a large picture in the headline and all user activities arranged in a chronological order.
Since the end of February 2012 Timeline has also been available for brand pages. For the time being it is an option but on 30 March, the new layout of company profiles will be pushed live to everyone automatically.
Looking at the profile that you administer you will see a preview option in the new layout. This is a safe option – only you will be able to see the page as a timeline until you decide to publish the new version.
If you administer a number of Facebook pages, you may preview current statuses of all pages at a time.
Cover photo is the most visible change introduced with the new profile layout. A large horizontal graphic image gives more opportunities than the narrow and high avatar. The background picture size is 851×315 pixels.
Still you have to remember one thing – Facebook rules restrict the use of the cover photo and specify elements which the photo cannot include:
- prices and purchasing information, such as discounts,
- contact information (including website addresses),
- references to the elements of Facebook interface, such as “Like it”,
- any call-to-action elements, such as ‘Order today’ banners.
If you encourage your visitors to like your page using the large graphic image, you do it on your own responsibility.
You still create the new avatar by cropping a larger graphic image to a square. But if there is no other place where this image is going to be shown in full, there is also no point in preparing an avatar different than a square.
An optimal initial avatar size is 180×180 pixels – from this size it will be rescaled to a few smaller squares.
A combination of the cover photo and the avatar
In Timeline, the avatar is displayed against the cover photo, in its lower left-hand corner. And so, what you can naturally come up with is to visually connect these elements so that they together form one piece but also that the avatar itself is presentable.
Some creative examples can be found here.
To make it easier for you to create a graphic image for the new layout of your profile, I have prepared a user-friendly template:
- vector version: timeline-template.eps
- bitmap version (with layers): timeline-template.psd
- bitmap version (flat): timeline-template.png
The new tabs are 810 pixels wide. This means much more space for you to use but on the other hand this also means you will need to reshape the existing tabs. That is because when Timeline is rolled out they will be displayed in the middle of the page and look a bit strange.
End to the landing page
It is no longer possible to set the default landing tab in the new version of company profiles. That means that the users always see the wall first. That, unfortunately, negatively influences the conversion, because the landing page displayed by default to all those who do not yet like it was the basic tool of making people click the “Like it” button.
New tabs menu
Links to tabs in Timeline are much larger and displayed horizontally and not vertically. Unfortunately, because of that only 2 to 3 items are displayed by default. Of course you can expand the list and display up to 12 items but in practice hardly anyone will click the small arrow which is used for that purpose.
About us page
What is much more visible in Timeline is the information on the brand – a description, with its content limit additionally extended from 70 to 170 characters. An exception are the pages which belong to the “local business” category: here the information on the location is displayed in the same place.
No activity is more visible
You are now more motivated to frequently update the status and publish new content. The Timeline shows it right away if there were no publications in a given month. And such information does not positively influence the perception of the brand.
Changing dates and pinning posts to the top
Yes, this is a great novelty and a considerable advantage. Now you can publish a post and then change its date and place it in the past. In this way you can actually build the history of your company in the form of a timeline covering many years.
The posts which are already published can be highlighted (by clicking the star icon in the upper right-hand corner) or pinned to the top (by clicking the pencil icon and selecting “Pin to Top”). When you pin the post to the top it appears at the very top of the page again.
In Timeline version, the posts published on the board by applications and other users are not displayed in the same way as your own posts. They appear in groups, which is why they are less visible.
Timeline introduces a functionality which has for long been missing – sending private messages to brand pages. So far the users have not been able to contact the operator of a page when they did not know who administered the page. The only communication channel on Facebook were the posts on the wall.
A great come-back of the function which disappeared long ago. Now you can again send an invitation to a company profile to all your friends or to the chosen ones.
And now get down to work. The Timeline version of your company profile has to be prepared by 30 March!
I have already prepared mine.