Facebook Brand Timeline & 4 Key Changes Companies & Marketers Must Know

Overnight at the first Facebook Marketing Conference (fMC) in New York, Facebook released the Timeline-style format for brand fan pages, as well as new Premium Advertising spots throughout the news feed, and sponsored stories for mobile.

The look and feel of Timeline for Brands is very similar to Timeline on personal profiles. There is significant space at the top to create an engaging and interesting cover photo, advertising your page. (see: How to optimise your Fan Page cover photo). Underneath, the page is divided into two main columns, going back in time. The idea is that pages can add milestones to their history, much like you would with your personal page. This allows you to both educate the public about your history, as well as humanising your brand.  User friend feed and recent friend activity with the page is also displayed below the info bar, but above other posts.

Here are the other 4 key changes to Brand Pages that all marketers and companies should know:

1. Tabs and Landing Pages
With the redesign and incorporation of the divided column timeline, the links and information on the left hand side has been redesigned into the information bar under the cover photo. While this now displays large images alongside each tab name, the number of tabs shown at this stage is limited to four, but as you cannot remove the photo app, you can only display three custom tabs. Extra tabs are still accessible via a drop down box on the right hand side.

Because of this redesign and the reduced focus on multiple tabs, you can no longer set a default landing tab – which one of primary ways to control the first branded impression a user encountered. Now, the only way for users to see your tab is to manually click it. If you want to drive users directly to your tab, you must now link it through a post, or through paid ad campaigns.

One benefit of the redesign has meant you now have the choice of using either the full width of the Facebook window – up to 810 pixels wide, or stick with 520px instead.

2. Featured Content
From a marketing point of view, we love the fact we can now ‘pin’ any post to the top of the page, even above more recent posts.  A pinned post will display a small golden ribbon. To pin your post, mouse-over your post, click the edit pen button, and choose “pin to top”.

This will also allow you to showcase important posts, whether it be a competition, promotion, or other product information.  It can also be used to deliver a call-to-action or encourage users to sign-up for a mailing list once, instead of continually posting updates to users.

Like personal Timelines, you can also highlight posts, which then displays them the full width of the timeline. This is great for showcasing photos and other visual content that needs the extra display space.

3. Private Message Fans
At last users and brands can send private messages to each other, instead of having to clutter up your timeline with product or company enquiries. It also allows you to connect with your users in a one-on-one scenario, particularly useful for complaints and dispute resolution.

4. Admin Panel
To make it easier to view and track performance, administrators have access to an ‘admin panel’, optionally displayed at the top of the page. In the near future, real-time page insights will be available. This will allow marketers and companies instant access to valuable statistics, particularly individual post metrics and engaged users, allowing faster reactions to popular content and marketing decision making.

Fan page Admins have until 31st March to setup and refine their Timeline in ‘preview mode’ before the Timeline is activated on all pages. Once you are happy with the look of your new Timeline, you can activate it before the changes are enforced.