13 Ways the New Facebook Timeline Will Help Your Business

Facebook Timeline


Mark Zuckerberg, the billionaire owner of everybody’s favorite social network, has been tweaking Facebook’s appearance again. In recent months, users have been steadily migrated to the new Facebook Timeline style profile. At first, the change only affected personal users but, on March 30, 2012, every registered user of Facebook will sport the new design. That includes businesses.

Historically, changes to Facebook are met with a whole spectrum of emotions ranging from utter glee to downright despair. Virtually every change has led to people setting up groups lamenting the new style. “Give us back our old Facebook”, they shout; interestingly, it’s probably the same people who months later are shouting about the next change.

The simple fact is that users often like to remain in their comfort zone. Even so, smart businesses will learn all they can about how to make the most of Timeline and ultimately pass these benefits to their fans. Let’s look at 13 ways that the new Facebook Timeline will be advantageous to business users.

Cover Photo

The new Timeline boasts a pretty impressively sized (851 x 316 pixels) cover photo. Since this image replaces the default landing tab, businesses should use this generous space wisely with photos and graphics that showcase their brand. Be creative but be careful to stick within the page guidelines. Calls to action, for example, are not allowed, presumably because Facebook wants businesses to spend money on the various ad options.

Like-Gating

The practice of using custom landing pages with compelling content to warrant a “like” is not necessarily a thing of the past. Although the cover image is the default landing location, individual apps still have unique URLs. Traffic from Facebook ads, external websites, blogs, tweets and email campaigns can still be driven to the location desired.

Profile Picture

In addition to the new cover photo, businesses will still get a 125 x 125 pixel profile picture. Unlike a cover photo, this image shouldn’t really be changed that often, since it provides businesses with an instantly recognizable primary image that can be seen throughout the whole network.

History

Timeline allows businesses to highlights significant achievements in their history. Moved to a swish new offices? Headhunted a high roller? Got a celebrity endorsement? These are all milestones a business should be shouting about. Timeline makes it easy for users to see all of these achievements — a feature which will undoubtedly go down well with family firms or legacy brands with a long heritage.

Campaign Visibility

If a business wants to shout about a new product, Facebook Timeline makes it easy to do so. Marketing and promotional posts can be positioned at the top of a page by selecting “pin to top” on a specific post. Posts can be pinned to the top for a maximum of seven days though. In order to keep things fresh for repeat visitors, businesses may want to consider changing these every couple of days.

Campaign Management

Businesses can assign names and images to individual campaigns and custom tabs. Whether you want to organize, edit, schedule or publish, Timeline makes campaign management a breeze.

Brand Building

Facebook Timeline gives businesses a much greater capacity to build their brand. Individual pages and campaigns are easily branded and the whole thing really stands out much more than the old page style. Companies and brands are better placed to offer a more visual experience to customers and fans.

Showcase Apps

Underneath the cover image, tabs on Timeline are displayed as views or apps. Businesses can have a maximum of 12 of these, although only four can be displayed at any one time. Views refer to default apps like Photos, Likes, Map and Events, while Apps are used to describe third party apps.

Custom Thumbnails for Apps

A custom thumbnail graphic can be added to all business apps providing a fantastic opportunity to seamlessly brand all calls to action and special promotions.

Like Becomes Liked

The traditional Like button has been tweaked; the Like button now turns to Liked when a user clicks it. This is a useful feature for businesses since it acts as a visual reminder to fans that they already like the page. Although not immediately obvious, if the users hover over the Liked button, several options, including the Add to Interest List, appear.

Wider Posts

Got something important to say? Businesses can opt to display any individual post as double wide; spreading the post across the entire page. This feature can be used for posts made by the business itself or by others. To activate, simply hover over the desired post and click on the star icon.

Adjust Photos

Photos shared by businesses or fans can be repositioned to look their best on the page. To activate this feature, hover over the edit pencil, click for a drop down list and select Reposition Photo.

Private Messages

Visitors to a business page now have the option to send a direct message to the page admins. This feature can be turned off within the page settings but, assuming a business can cope with a possible surge in contact, it should probably be left on to encourage communication.

Facebook Timeline is here, and it’s here to stay — at least for the foreseeable future. Businesses should waste no time looking at the past but instead concentrate their efforts on making their Facebook brand page the best that it can be.

Photo by tungphoto.


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Jake Sanders has a degree in Business Technology and runs his own consultancy firm for small and medium-sized businesses. His main hobbies include photography, travel and fine wine. He contributes to several sites including Degree Jungle, a resource site for college students.
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Discussion

  1. Catherine on the 30th March

    Thanks for the tip about how to make a post wider! I’ll likely make updates about my new blog posts wider than the rest.

    You’re right about the comfort zone. I’m annoyed by this new timeline because 1) my FB is page is more about text, less than about images (since it’s a translation-related page) and 2) it means I have to get used to something new—again.

  2. Paul on the 30th March

    The wider posts functionality is so useful and hardly anyone using them.

  3. Matt Hamilton on the 30th March

    I really like the new App buttons and think they stand out better than the old tabs. Customizing the app buttons is very easy and you can change them all the time for new contests, events, and specials.

  4. Gareth A. Boyd on the 31st March

    I’m still having mix emotions whether I like the new Facebook layout for personal use or business. It definitely benefits us business users on manipulating the design for more advertising and broadcasting our brand image.

    However, using Facebook for personal use is different, it’s horrible and cluttered. The main reason that won me over about Facebook was their simplicity for personal networking.

    I guess I’m off to join the Twitter bandwagon!

  5. Aghosh Babu on the 31st March

    I recently redesigned my FB Timeline[http://facebook.com/aghosh.wordpress.developer], with all the new restrictions it is really difficult to promote yourself.

    And it is a pain when they don’t allow you to remove the “photo” app from the tabs.

  6. wakaba on the 23rd May

    Facebook groups allow you to further connect with friends on your network, creating a close-knit social network within the larger Web site.
    When companies have new products, companies can use Facebook to let consumers know the product launch and can be learned in advance of the reaction of the market.
    Therefore, enterprises can take advantage of the favorable conditions, to let Facebook users to share, get free publicity.

  7. 蘇愉婷 on the 24th May

    I totally agree that the New facebook can help business more prosperous and has more efficient ability to achieve goals ! By the creative innovations , like timelines , business truly can review the history and crucial information that really indeed .Especially the showcase Apps , I admire it most ! Because it involved so many functions and ideas, show the very convenient way for business .Also ,the article let us realize the rapid improvement of internet. As we hope , the world become more and more glorious !

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