Ready or not, Facebook is set to roll out the new Timeline feature for Pages. Page Admins were notified today that the new feature is available for preview and early release for their pages, with an official full rollout for all pages coming March 30. Here is a quick run-down of the features, changes and some of my initial thoughts about Timeline for Pages.
This works just like the cover photo on your personal page and is a great opportunity to highlight your brand. The large banner across the top is prime real estate and a great opportunity to feature products, your logo – whatever you think is best. The photo needs to be at least 399 pixels wide (the ideal size is 851×315 pixels) and per Facebook guidelines it may not contain price or purchase information, contact info (website address, email, physical address or anything that would go in the about section). This photo is obviously public. I will be playing with this area on our page and being intentional about taking some photos that fit well in these dimensions.
Just like your personal profile photo, this is the image that shows up in the news feed of your fans. Choose a square image at least 180 pixels for best results.
Views and Apps
This is the area where your photos, videos, map or any other apps and views for you page are found. Facebook will automatically show four views here, you can add up to a total of twelve, and the rest will be available in a drop down menu. The photo app will always appear first, but Facebook encourages you to highlight what you think are the most important apps by rearranging them.
In the actual Timeline, you are able to highlight and control content in new ways. Pinning a post will anchor it to the top of you page for up to seven days. This is a grat way to feature new content that you don’t want fans to miss so that it is the first thing they see when they visit your page. Star a post to highlight it, this will make it larger so that it takes up the entire width of your Timeline, leaving it in it’s correct place chronologically. Create a Milestone – this is a new type of story that lets you highlight important dates and events in the history of your brand. These posts have a flag icon and will take up the entire width of the page like the starred posts. You can also change the dates of your posts, allowing you to add content to your Timeline in the past.
Activity Log and Admin Panel
The activity log helps you manage your page’s content. It shows you all of your page posts, hidden and unhidden. You can hide and unhide post here as well, controlling what shows up in your Timeline. You can also star and change the dates of posts in this area as well. The new Admin Panel shows you notifications, insights and a new feature for pages — Private Messages. Now fans can message you privately or comment on your page publicly. As an admin, you can choose to manage your page from here, or hide it.
When fans visit your page, Facebook will highlight the activity of their friends. It will show how may of their friends have liked the page, any comments they have made on the page and even when they have tagged your page in any other comments. This is designed to help your fans feel personally connected to your page and community.
There are some really cool new features available in Timeline for Pages, but the changes will also frustrate many page admins. Gone is the like gate, the ability to make fans like your page before they can access the content. Quite a bit of time, effort and money was put into customizing brand pages and some of that is lost in this latest update. Such is life working with Facebook. Here’s a link to Facebook’s tutorial.
Have you already updated to Timeline for Pages? If so, what do you think? If not, you have until March 30 so get to work.