Are You Ready For The New Facebook Pages?

If you’ve logged into your Facebook brand page lately, you’ve seen this notification:

It’s happening.

On March 30th, your company’s Facebook page will look very different than it does right now and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. That means you only have a couple of weeks to get your Facebook brand page in working order so you don’t look oh-so-outdated when the update is officially rolled out to everyone. To help get you prepared, below are some of the biggest areas you should be concerned with to get yourself ready for the big dance.

Your Cover Photo

First it happened to your personal profile, now it’s coming for your business page.

One of the most dramatic changes that will happen to your Facebook brand page is the adoption of a cover photo. Just like your personal cover image, your company image should be 852 pixels wide by 351 pixels high and should be something that will grab a user’s attention. Use your cover image to get across your business’ key message, to shock and awe a potential customer, to compel someone to take an action, to generate interest, etc. Whatever you pick, make sure it introduces and represents your brand in a positive way.

It’s worth noting that Facebook has already banned the use of certain words inside your cover image to prevent businesses from using these photos as advertisements. You can’t talk about prices or percentages off, you can’t include an email address or Web site URL, and you can’t include any commercial calls to action. There are Facebook ads for that.

This post has some really creative tips to rock your timeline cover photo to help you get the most out of it.

Your Profile Photo

Now that your cover image is being used to really draw in and attract users, Facebook is recommending that you use your logo as your profile photo from here on out. Remember that his box will overlap slightly with your cover photo, so don’t be afraid to work in some integration if creativity strikes.

Give Important Stories More Prominence

No two (or three or four) Facebook updates are the same, nor do they mean the same to your business. Some updates are created to start a conversation, while others may be important updates about your brand or customer alerts. To help differentiate, Facebook has released three new features to make some updates stand out from the rest – highlighting, pinning, and milestones.

  1. Highlighting: Highlighting an update allows you to do just that – it allows you to make the update more prominent by making it larger and easier to find. To highlight a story on your timeline, click on the star icon located in the top right-hand corner of your update. What this does is expand your update so that it will take up the full width of your page (usually updates appear on either the right-hand or left-hand side of the page). By making the box larger, you highlight it to your users.
  2. Pinning: No, no, we’re not talking about a Facebook/Pinterest integration here. Pinning allows you to pick one update and “pin” it to the top of your timeline. Once that update is pinned, it will stay there for seven days before falling back into your timeline. To pin a post, click on the pencil icon in the top right-hand corner of your update. From there, you’ll see the option to pin that update to the top of your timeline. If you’re running a promotion or if there’s an event happening you want people to be aware of, by pinning the status, it will remain at the top of your profile page and make sure anyone who visits your page sees it.
  3. Milestones:Lastly, brands will have the option to add “milestone” or life events to their timeline. To add a milestone to your timeline, you can click the book icon located in the update status box. Once you do, you’ll be asked to add a headline, location, date, details and photo. Milestone photos display at 843×403 pixels and become permanent parts of your profile.

Potential business milestones to consider:

  • The date you started business
  • When you moved into your new office
  • When you signed that major client

Admin Panel

To access your Admin panel in Facebook, click the radio button located on the right-hand side of your screen to maximize it. Once in there, business owners will be able to see new notifications, new likes, see Facebook insight data, and access their new message center (detailed later). Because it appears directly in-page, it’s easier to access and more top of mind for business owners. I’m hoping this will encourage SMBs to take advantage of this data and use it to make social-sharing decisions.

New Message Center

The new messaging feature is one that I’m most excited about because it will help marketers deal with customer service issues in a more private, effective manner. According to Facebook, fans will now be able to message business owners directly, instead of simply leaving comments on your wall. While this unfortunately does give small business owners another inbox to check (which Jay Baer isn’t too thrilled about), it does allow customers to be more discrete with sensitive issues and gives them a new way to engage with your brand.

It’s worth noting that business owners will NOT be able to initiate a message conversation with users. The user must be the one to start it.

The new Facebook Timeline brand pages about to roll out are a big change for everyone using the social sharing site for business. However, by preparing for it and getting your page in order before things officially roll out, you can increase your engagement and interest with your audience.

More in: 13 Comments ▼

Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

13 Reactions
  1. Thanks Lisa. Good stuff. I’m really interested to see what kind of uptake rate the messaging center stuff gets.

  2. The cover photo is so important with the new timeline and I love the ability to pin a post so it doesn’t get as lost in the shuffle. Both great additions if you ask me.

  3. Thank you so much, Lisa for the kind mention in your post. I hope the cover examples can inspire others to create impressive covers that speak for their brands. I think we all have mixed reviews how the new Timeline layout will affect brand Pages. Even so, since the transition is mandatory, let’s be prepared for it and time will tell, whether this is a good/bad call from our beloved social network (Facebook). 🙂

  4. Basically, the top row of apps (because most people probably won’t expand the app panel) is like your navigation bar. And one of the most important things in any navigation bar is your homepage.

    So you can add your website to your Facebook page (with the MyWebees app, and have a prominent icon on your navigation bar which people can use to see your entire website – IN your fanpage!

    Which is pretty cool 🙂

  5. Lisa, thank you so much for sharing this information. It’s great. I have one question. Could you advise how to find one’s groups? That is a two-part question. First, and foremost–how to find the groups that I’m an admin for! Second–how to find the groups that I’m a member of. They used to show up on the left side. Facebook’s help information isn’t updated at all, so it’s no help. Thanks in advance.

  6. I think the smaller profile picture really forces users and companies to ensure their logo and image really pops in that tiny square since not everyone will be navigating to their entire page to view their cover photo.

  7. So what exactly is Facebook/Zuckerberg’s business model? To make their site increasingly complicated and invasive to use, but like the suckers we are, we go along with it? Barnum was right.

    • Something like this I hate now update to is not transparent and weird. One word stupidity!!

  8. I run several Facebook pages and have had a challenge finding photos that fit the cover page. Otherwise, it’s really fun.

  9. I think the cover pictures could be a great way to brand your business. Using creative covers will leave a strong impression when people see the pages.

  10. Thank you for the update and the great strategies we can use to make full advantage of these changes. The company logo says a lot about the brand and when highlighted, gives a powerful impact. I’d say even hiring a graphic designer would be worthwhile investment.