AdAge and Mashable have both announced it… Timeline for Facebook Pages is almost here! A selection of brands (those who partner with Facebook) will get the new Timeline for Pages initially around late Feb/early March, with the rest of us set to get it sometime after that (date to be confirmed).
There are a lot of specific details surrounding Timeline for Pages that we still don’t know, however brands can start proactively preparing for the new layout now, and as this post mentions, there’s a lot to consider, including:
- Cover Photo
- Post Layout and Content
- Brand and Facebook Community Milestones
- Content From Fans/Users
The Cover Photo
A great new feature of Timelines for user profiles was the introduction of a big Cover Photo that sits at the top of the page. Currently sized at 760 pixels wide by 280 pixels high, brands will need to select a cover photo for the brand’s Page, and think about:
- Making it different to (and / or interact with) the Page’s profile picture
- The resolution of the photo
- It’s not always visible when scrolling down the page, so it’s going to have to make a quick impression and be memorable
- Whether or not they want to include any sales related material
- An image that highlights the brands products and services
- An image that hopefully still encourages interaction on the page and within the community
I highly doubt that Facebook will allow the new Pages to include background images, but if they do, Brands will need to consider and have these prepared as well.
At the Sydney Live Studio Facebook conference that I attended on Wed 1st of Feb 2012, Jeff Kanterr (Product Manager at Facebook) presented on how products have developed thus far on Facebook, and discussed the Facebook product principles of them all now revolving around identify, social, control, and value.)
When asked by an audience member what would become of Tabs when the new Timeline for Pages is introduced, Jeff stated that “… we will always allow brands to engage with their customers and fans in a way that best suites them…”. It was then revealed that Page tabs and custom iFrame applications will still be on new Page Timelines, and Brands and fans alike will continue to be able to use them. However, brands will need to consider:
- Whether or not they still need the tab, given the new functionality of the timeline tab
- Resizing them to accommodate any new iFrame and tab dimensions
- Tabs and apps that go beyond the “Like” button (bit more on that later)
- Choosing images for the tab buttons (examples mocked up below for Maccas)
Post layout and Content
The great thing about Timeline is that it will allow Brands to highlight everything from key events, milestones, social interactions, promotions, campaigns, competitions, conversations, etc… Every Page/Community Manager should now get familiar (if they’re not already) with the timeline functionality, especially that of creating a new milestone and event, and using the ability to re-size and highlight Page content. Start practicing on a dummy profile or your own personal timeline NOW.
McCann Digital Israel recently used the new Facebook Timeline design to advertise for the Israel Anti-Drug Authority, which you can see here. It’s this kind of knowledge of the new timeline design that people can get now in order to help their branded Page when the new Page Timeline arrives.
BuddyMedia has released statistics that state that posts including a photo get 30% more engagement compared to those wall posts that are just plain text. With the new Timeline for Pages being photo-heavy, to maintain engagement on both the news feed and the Page Timeline, brands will be finding themselves attaching more images to wall posts. Brands can prepare their content calendars by ensuring a large majority of posts include images and / videos, and you can start sourcing these photos in advance now.
Let’s assume that Page Timelines will have a similar “Born” feature to that of Profile Timelines. This may not refer to when the company was born, but maybe when the brand launched? Or when the brand first started engaging on Facebook? Either way brands will need to have an image and maybe even text prepared that catches the eye of those users who scroll down to day 1. Consider:
- The Image
- Make it unique and interesting to the brand and community
- How far the Brand has come on Facebook and how they interact with the community.
- It may be the case of highlight the very first Page post that the page did? This may include resizing the post and making it Full page across the page, or creating a new milestone on the Page
Brand and Facebook Community Milestone
This is a big one! With Timeline now on branded Pages, fans will be able to scroll through the Page and at a glance see those points in time and related bits of content that matter (either to the brand itself and/or the fans). Brands will need to:
- Make a list of key business milestones that the brand wants want to highlight to the Facebook community, and that they can eventually include as events or milestones on their new Timeline.
- Similar to branded Pages, once the new Timeline is available, Page/Community Managers will need to add these on to the Page by clicking on the Timeline, and adding it as an event/millstone.
- To really make this milestone stand out, brands should consider using a half page or full page picture, and supportive text to the Timeline event.
- Brands can now start identifying and drafting up this content so it can be quickly inserted in the Page when Timeline for pages in launched.
Apart from adding new business milestones, the Timeline for Pages is a great opportunity to highlight certain community milestones, such key bits of wall post content that saw high engagement, or the time when they achieved certain fans milestones, or ran certain competitions. Now is the time to:
- Go through every existing Brand post on the page and start identifying and making a list of which Page posts you want to highlight as milestone. These could include:
- Key posts
- Most interacted with posts
- Key promotions/competitions
- Key conversations with fans
- Whilst you’re at it, now might be a good time to consider which posts you want to hide from your timeline as well
- Consider if you want it to be a half page highlighted milestone, or a full page one.
When your brand’s Page gets updated to Timeline for Pages, you would have already listed and identified which posts you’re going to feature, and can start optimising your contact right away. Below is an example of how one page might highlight a particular key community Page post, and turn it into a milestone on their new timeline:
As you may know, Facebook is unveiling new features of its Open Graph applications and adding Gestures to applications. This will allow brands to create app that lead to buttons beyond just “Like”, but any button that is Simple, Genuine and non-abusive.
Brands should now start thinking what gestures and apps they would create that their fans would both like to interactive with, and are also likely to share. These apps will have to be integrated and promoted in the new Page Timelines.
Content from fans/Facebook users
A big unknown is how Page Wall filters will work on the new Timelines. Will people still be able to easily see comments from “Everyone else”, not just the Brand? And will Community Managers be able to easily find and keep track of comments in the new timeline format? Whilst we’ll have to wait and see on this one, there is something that is starting to become available to Pages now that could help, and that’s the ability to Private Message the admin of a Page.
If your brand intends to leverage this feature and accept and respond to Direct Messages from Page fans, then introduce it as early as you can, as comments in the new Timeline may not be that easy to find.
So whilst we don’t know the specific details of Timeline for Pages yet, in preparation brands can still:
- Think about and mock up the perfect Cover photo for your brand
- Determine and draft up Business Milestones that can be added into the Brand Page Timeline
- Go through existing Page content and determine which as going to be highlighted as events/milestone on the Page Timeline, and which may be removed
- Use the existing Timeline for Users and practice using layouts as much as we can
- Consider whet gestures could be relevant for your fans and customers, and start brainstorming those clever app ideas
- For those fans of your brand Pages that become reliant on being able to find their wall comments on your Page and engage in conversations (e.g. customer service), consider using Private Messaging for Pages when you have the chance.
Can you think of anything else Brands can start doing now to prepare for the new Timeline for Pages?