Facebook rolled out its Timeline for Brand pages today in conjunction with it’s Facebook Marketing Conference. If you admin a brand page you probably noticed the message on top of your page allowing you to preview the new layout before it’s applied on March 30, 2012. Here’s what it means for marketers:
New Page Layout
If you’ve activated Timeline for your personal page you already know what it looks and feels like. There’s space for a cover photo at the top and the page is divided into two columns – posts on the left and activity on the right. According to presenters at Facebook for Marketers today there will be the ability to feature a post at the top too, so if you have an important message it won’t get pushed down by other messages in your feed.
Use the cover photo to your advantage. This is the place to highlight your brand and any campaigns going on in your business. Ideal dimensions for your cover photo are 850px high x 315px wide. Remember to leave a space for your profile pic on the left side.
Just as with Timeline for profiles, Timeline for brands will allow admins to add milestones to the page. Add the date your company was founded and any important changes along the way. People like to connect with behind the scenes announcements and photos and see important milestones along the way. Pages that depict these important events continually have higher engagement rates so make sure to add these important events to your page.
Fans will now have the ability to message brand pages directly. This is an important update and a long time coming! Now our fans can connect with us privately rather than by posting messages directly on the wall. This feature will be especially helpful for customer service issues. Be sure to respond to any messages your receive quickly – just as with posts on your wall.
Reduced Visibility and Function for Tabs
This could be the biggest disadvantage for Timeline for brands. Facebook tabs are now moved from the left sidebar to across the top and we’ve lost the ability to set a default landing tab. There is room for three additional apps above the fold. Since it’s possible to swap positions with other apps (Likes, Map etc.) my recommendation is to place your three most important apps after photos and assume the rest won’t be visited. The disadvantage here is that even with this placement they are overshadowed by the cover photo and are no longer the first thing new visitors see when they come to your page.
Marketers using reveal tabs to offer discounts or coupons to fans will likely see less engagement on these apps as visitors will have to click through themselves. Since most visitors will not return to your page once liked, there isn’t much room for engagement here. Takeaway lesson: it’s more important than ever to engage through the newsfeed. Also use your cover photo for important messaging or campaigns rather than relying on landing tabs.
When fans visit your page they’ll now see their friends interactions with your page near the top of the feed. That will give a much more personal feel to their experience with your page and is designed to help reinforce that word of mouth referral power. Remember though that a negative mention will appear there too, so as always it is important to address issues as they occur.
Have you activated your brand page yet? What are your thoughts? Comment here or send me a message on my new Facebook brand page at Carmine Media.