September 18, 2014

No More Facebook Welcome Tabs: 10 Tips for a Painless Transition to Timelines

Businesses may have gotten comfortable with the brand presence they built on their Facebook Page.  However, on March 30th, 2012, their page is going to change.  It will be reinvented in appearance and functionality. Of course, according to TechCrunch, only 10% of page traffic is driven by default landing pages, while the remaining 90% comes from published links and ads.  So there is no reason to fret over this change.

facebook logo

Facebook has been notifying page admins through messages on their pages and giving them a preview as well. Lisa Barone wrote an article “Are You Ready For The New Facebook Pages?” to give you a heads up on what’s coming.

Even though change is always an  inconvenience, the timeline is fast becoming the story of a Facebook user/business with apps and other Facebook page elements becoming tabs. It seems Facebook’s vision is to give page visitors the same experience as a website and also encourage story telling and graphics.

A few days earlier I read this article by Justin Kistner of Webtrends who shared tips on the Facebook changes and how it affects marketers. Another ebook that I found very useful is an eBook Tips for a Pain-free Transition from Munish Gandhi, CEO of  Hy.ly, a startup that is building promotional tools for Facebook. There are tips for small business owners who have their own Facebook pages to transition to the new Facebook Timeline.

At first, it might seem like the new format does not have too much to offer in terms of getting business and engaging customers.  But a thorough investigation will update you on some features that provide you with great potential to meet online goals.

Listed below are 10 tips from the hy.ly eBook that you can implement to your business page to meet your goals:

  • Tell a story: People love listening to stories.  Timeline is a tool to tell great stories to your fans and have them coming for more. The format allows for companies to showcase their history, achievements and growth in a chronological order.
  • Use an engaging cover photo: One of the most noticeable changes when you first see the new timeline format.  The cover photo is a large image that appears at the top of your page. Use this as a canvas to be creative and upload a picture that is visually engaging.  The size requirements are an 851 x 315 pixel image. There are some important guidelines for a cover photo.  Don’t include price, arrows and other call to actions, contact information, etc. Twitter users have been using their background picture to include such information, however, the Facebook Timeline does not permit this.
  • Profile Photo: The profile photo is placed just below the cover photo and slightly overlaps in position. Facebook recommends that you use this space to display your 180 x 180 pixels logo.  However, you can also get creative and make it a part of the cover photo.
  • Highlight posts: Not all updates are created equal. There are some updates that you might want to highlight and that’s exactly what the timeline format offers. Highlighting an update expands it to full width and increases the size of the update. You can highlight an update on the timeline by clicking on the star icon located in the top right-hand corner of the post you want to highlight.
  • Pin posts to engage fans: Timeline allows you to pin posts to the top of the page. This feature can be used to send fans to the place where you want them to go. Pin updates that are a part of contests, sweepstakes or any other call to action.
  • Use milestones to indicate major events: Add milestones to indicate growth, achievements, etc.  This is part of the story that you tell using the timeline. Click the book icon located in the update status box to add a milestone. You’ll be asked to add a headline, location, date, details and photo.
  • Use the Apps to create conversion: The tabs that used to appear on the old format will be referred to as “apps” on the timeline format and have a bigger thumbnail which can help foster engagement. Activity like contests, sweepstakes and RSVPs can be run using apps. Use a call to action thumbnail for respective apps like “enter here,” “sign up,” etc.
  • Media rich posts: You are telling a story so make use of diverse media like text, photos, videos and questions to keep the audience interested.
  • Use private messaging for discrete conversations: The new message box allows fans of the brand to have a private conversation. This is something that could potentially cut down negative sentiments on your page.
  • Utilize Facebook Offers to conversion: Facebook Offers will be rolled out soon and businesses can use this feature to send out offers to fans’ news feeds directly.

Are you ready for the new Facebook changes to your page? Please share any additional tips you may have and feel free to comment on how you feel about the new changes.


Facebook Photo via Shutterstock

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Shashi Bellamkonda


Shashi Bellamkonda Shashi Bellamkonda is VP of Digital Marketing, AKA "Social Media Swami" at Bozzuto.com. Visit Shashi Bellamkonda's blog. He is also an adjunct faculty at Georgetown University. Shashi is a regular contributor to the Washington Business Journal, DC Examiner and other tech blogs like Smallbiztechnology and Techcocktail. Shashi has been in the list of Top 100 Small Business Influencer Champions list for 2011 and 2012.

20 Reactions

  1. Thank you for making this so much easier than it sounded. Actually looking forward to it now.

  2. I’m excited to see how Facebook Offers turn out and I don’t think you can stress the importance of the new cover photo. It will literally make or break your first impression with customers visiting your Facebook page.

  3. Thank you Sylvia for your comment. Appreciate it and is definitely encouragement for me to write more.

    Shashi

  4. Thanks Robert. These changes have a lot of useful tools for business pages

  5. Thanks for the encapsulated format! Very helpful and concise.

  6. We’re excited about the change. Having been at fMC and felt the energy as the changes were announced, it has been fun this past month to watch how brands make use of the visual storytelling “canvas” that Timeline allows: aspirational photos, personalizing their teams, telling their companies history (visually), and increasing direct interaction.

    Today is the big day and it sure seems that brands are up to the challenge and opportunity that Timeline offers.

  7. Nice summary Shashi. I went through the conversion with a couple of clients today and I was pleased to hear they actually liked the change to Timeline. Thanks for the info on Facebook Offers.

  8. Clearly these changes in Facebook were not driven by demand. When demand ceases to drive innovation, we no longer live in a market economy.

  9. As someone who recently started my own business, this list was informative and helpful. Facebook is becoming a media powerhouse for individuals and businesses alike. Do you see the company responding and adapting to the needs of its business clients as fast as the individual clients? Would you believe they will ever split facebook into two parts, one geared toward business, and the other toward individuals?

    Thanks for the post,

    Ryan

  10. Hi Ryan,

    Thanks for the comment. You bring up an interesting concept a separate network one for business and one for individuals. I think that is how Facebook started and business started going where the individuals/ consumers are , but the future may lead to niche networks.

    Shashi

  11. Thanks Shashi , I personally love the new Timeline, We made the transition a few months ago, It gave us an opportunity to be creative, and we love that. We went through the transition with our clients also, it took a little time, since we have created several fangating apps that they use as a landing page for promotions, now their visitors need to click on the promotion tab to check them. But we are up and running now, and updated all our apps.
    Thank you for sharing

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