The long anticipated New Facebook Pages incorporating Facebook Timeline were rolled on on 29 February 2012, just prior to their announcement of the New Facebook Pages at fMC 29.2.
Whilst it is available to set up straight away, there is no rush (except for someone like me that can’t help themselves), as you have until 30 March 2012 to familarise yourself with the new design and see what works best for you and preview your page without publishing it. You are free to push that “publish” button at anytime though if you can’t wait.
It is so easy to get started, just go to your page and follow the prompts. Here is a quick overview of the process:
Coming Soon: New Facebook Pages
When you visit your page you will be provided with the opportunity to “preview” your page to see what it looks like with the new design and try out the new features. You are provided with the opportunity to Learn More at this stage if you are not ready to jump straight in. This provides you with the opportunity to see how the new design looks on other Pages like yours. Tip: If you keep clicking “refresh” on the page when you get there, you will see a variety of examples of Pages that have already switched over to the new design. There is also a promo video to give you an indication of the type of impact that is possible with the new design.
If you are ready to proceed, just click “preview”.
Welcome to Your Page Preview
- Only your admins can see this preview
- On 31 March 2012 your Page will automatically get the new design
- Until you publish your Page, you can see your old design any time
At this point you can publish your new page immediately or “Start Tour”. I recommend starting the tour to ensure you don’t miss any key steps.
Tour The New Page Design
- Your Cover Photo – Landing tabs with calls to action are now gone! Your cover photo is the first thing people will see when they visit your Page. Facebook provides some tips on how to choose a cover photo for your page. This is your opportunity to brand your page. The dimensions required for cover photos are 851 x 315 pixels. You can change this image as often as you like to reflect what is going on in your business, however, Facebook has some strict policies on what you can’t include as part of your cover photo. They are:
- No price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website.”
- No contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section.
- No references to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features.
- No calls-to-action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”
- Covers must not be false, deceptive or misleading, and must not infringe on third parties’ intellectual property.
- Adjust Your Profile Picture – Your profile picture is what is used as your thumbnail image to represents your Page on other parts of Facebook (e.g. in the news feed and alongside any ads, offers and sponsored stories). Facebook recommends that you use your logo or another image that represents your Page. Choose an image that’s square and at least 180px x 180 px that can scale down to 90px x 90px for the thumbnail and is still recognisable as your business when displayed as 32 pixels x 32 pixels on mobile devices. It was interesting to see that all of the profile pics provided included logos as profile pics and not pictures of people, going against industry advice that people engage with people on social networks and not logos. No doubt this is because they were large brands. I am sure best practice of including an image of a person where possible will remain.
- Highlight What’s Important – Photos, likes and apps are now at the top of your Page. Photos show in the first spot, but you can change the order of everything else so people see what matters most.
- Apps – You can show a maximum number of 12 apps, however only four are visible without having to click on a dropdown arrow to see the rest, so make sure to put your most important ones first. As part of the fMC, the importance of visual appeal to attract action was stressed, so with their being no visual attraction to entice people to click on those apps not immediately displayed, my guess is that they will not be very effective. Time will tell. To further enhance the visual appeal of apps, you have the option to customise images for each app via the admin panel at the top right hand side of the page.
- Tabs – The dimensions for tab images are 111px x 74px. Tab widths have changed from from 520px to 810px, but I have already heard from those companies that I have created tabs with that they have templates for the new dimensions, so whilst this will be a pain to convert, it is not the end of the world. Your tabs will just have a little more white space around them until you convert them to the new dimensions.
Star, Hide or Pin
- Review Your Page Timeline – Hover over a story and click on the star icon to make it wider or on the pencil icon to pin it to the top of your Page, hide or delete it entirely. The pin feature enables you to fix a story to the top of your timeline, preventing it from being lost in the content stream as you continue to add new stories to your page. This is the obvious place to put your offer, call-to-action or highlight an upcoming event or your latest achievement. This pinned story will remain 7 days, unless you decide to replace it with another top story in the meantime, enabling people to notice what’s important and providing the opportunity for greater engagement in this chosen story. You should take the time to review the content of your Timeline, highlight what matters and hide any content that is not on par with the image you are trying to portray. You can also add Milestones with pictures. The dimensions for 843px x 403px.
- Manage Everything In One Place – Keep track of your activity on your Page from the admin panel, located in the top right hand side of the page. This enables you to respond when people write on your Page timeline, view your latest insights, edit page settings and private message, all from the one place (“mission control”) at the top of your page. Facebook has also taken on board feedback from users that “not all admins are created equal”. As a result, they will be rolling out five new admin permission levels at the end of March. This will be great for businesses who would like to limit the functions that some administrators have (e.g. post only) and provide greater security for pages.
- Respond Privately With Messages – This was a new feature that had been in beta testing for a while and I was looking forward to. Now people can contact you privately using messages. I think this will enable more “private” conversations with people who are reluctant to post publicly on your wall, potentially providing the opportunity to engage with the more “silent” Facebook users. It may also result in less of your “dirty laundry” being discussed in public and the need to put out fires that sometimes escalates as a result. It is not uncommon for someone to post something negative in regards to an issue with your product or service and before you know it several other people have put their two cents in, increasing the perceived size of the issue. Should a customer choose to contact you privately via a private message, then other customers will not be prompted to add further fuel to the fire. Notifications about new messages will appear right in your admin panel. You do have the option to turn off this feature in the admin panel, but I would suggest leaving this available.
Once you have got your page looking just the way you want it, accurately reflecting the image you would like your business to portray, go right ahead and push the “publish” button and then share you page in the comments below so I can check out what you have done.
Closing remarks from fMC
- Businesses are better in a connected world.
- We are in the midst of a transition from ads to stories.
- Marketing is as good as any of the content you and I see in the newsfeed from a friend or family member. Light up your brand and your stories and let your fans be the biggest advocates and brand messengers for you.
You can learn about the new Facebook Pages right now. I highly recommend that you take the time to watch the tutorial.
Here is some more details about sizes and dimensions for images on the new Facebook Pages and a great post on How the New Timeline Will Impact Your Facebook Branding.
What do you think are the good and bad features of the new Facebook Pages? Let me know if the comments below and don’t forget to share you page link so I can see the great work you have done in setting up your Page to make the most of the new design and features.