New Facebook Timeline for Brands—What Does It Mean for You?

As I’m sure you’ve heard, Facebook has finally rolled out Timeline for brands. With all this talk of change, I thought it might be useful if you knew exactly what you have to do to adapt to the new structure.

Unfortunately for the laggards, whether or not you choose to update your Facebook format immediately, Facebook will do it for you on March 30, 2012.

With that in mind, here are five things you need to address to prepare yourself for the update:

1) Consider Creative / Photography for Your Cover

Though it’s scary and different, Facebook is actually throwing us a bone here. They’re giving us more space to CUSTOMIZE! You might have noticed over the years that, unlike their former counterpart MySpace, Facebook isn’t too generous when it comes to user control. But now you have it: 850 pixels wide, 315 pixels wide worth of creative freedom. If you take a look below, we chose to show the view from our office rooftop:

regroup facebook timeline

But, be careful, your cover cannot include:

  • Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website.”
  • Contact information, such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section.
  • Reference to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features.
  • Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”

2) Carefully Consider Your Profile Image

If you look at the re:group example above, you will see that our previously long rectangular 180 x 540 profile image has been reduced to a 75 x 75 square thumbnail. In this case, it is Kozo’s magazine cutout of Rhonda. While you can still click on the image to expand it, it will no long be visible from your Timeline, so it’s best to include what you want people to see in that small image. Some companies may choose to do their logo, others might spotlight a spectacular employee.

3) Consider Beefing Up Your Timeline

One of the main features of Timeline for brands is the fact that Facebook is encouraging people (and now companies) to chronicle their history through the timeline feature. While, at face value, your timeline will only display page activity since your company joined Facebook, you can select previous years and add noteworthy events. For instance, take a look at what happened to Coca-Cola in 1892:

4) Present Your Facebook Apps in Order of Importance

In my opinion, a big setback for Facebook Timeline is the fact that only four apps can be displayed at once. For instance, if you take a look at the Sears example below, you’ll see that they’ve chosen to highlight their photos, Likes, map and their customized “Heroes at Home” tab. These would have previously appears as unlimited navigation on the left-hand side of the page. While you can prioritize which apps will be featured, you no longer choose to have them all displayed (or as a default landing page).

5) Decide Whether or Not You Will Activate the Message Function

Finally, Facebook has now given you the option to turn on a messaging function, which allows fans the option to communicate directly with your brand on a private channel. This extends the expectation that brands will participate in some sort of customer service aspect on Facebook. However, if you do not want to manage additional customer requests, you can turn this function off, but still be ready to address these issues publicly on your Timeline instead of in the private messaging landscape.

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