By now, everyone has heard about the new Facebook migration. If you haven’t yet heard, on March 31st, all Facebook business pages will be converted into Facebook’s new “timeline” format, whether you’ve optimized for it or not. Why does it matter? We’ll give you 5 reasons:
1) The Cover Photo
Facebook is devoting more real estate on your business page to help you deliver your brand message. Many big brands have already converted and utilizing the space well (see Old Spice, for example). Cover photos are 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall and can be used to showcase your brand or your product in use in many creative ways. One thing to note, however, promotions or placing calls to action in this space are strictly prohibited. You can change up your photo as often as you like or until you strike the right message. Please note: we know of several reputable firms that have purposely decided to not put a cover photo on, giving their fans easier access to their content. We, however, do not agree with this strategy and think it may send the wrong message to people – i.e. that you were unprepared for the change.
2) The Profile Picture
Many brands are simply using their logo in this space (180″ by 180″) but other Company’s are using this real estate to highlight their company culture. As they say, an image is worth a thousand words. So can use this space creatively or simply to brand yourself in a new and unique way. We believe that this choice depends really on your target audience and the message you want to send but actively strategizing for this area is something we highly suggest.
3) Business Listing Information
What type of information do you want to display underneath your photo? Hours of operation, contact information, etc? or do you prefer to use a short description of your business? We suggest the latter, and placing a live link to your website in that space. However, this is also a great area for experimentation.
If you’ve been fan-gating or utilizing your Facebook page to run a contest, you will no longer be able to do this the way you’ve been accustomed. Instead, the only way you can highlight where you want your customers to go is via the app space. Facebook will only be giving you 4 areas to promote and if you want a direct link you will have to advertise. If you work with what you are given, there are many creative ways to get these features to pop. For one, you can customize your app image’s (112 x 75). You also can rename and place customized text for each of your apps. Photos will always be in the number #1 spot, can’t change that..but you can control what image is show. FB will always show the “latest” uploaded image. These new images you create could also point to the apps you really want to take people to and inside the apps, you can fan-gate, collect info, sell products, etc and you can utilize the additional space offered. Apps are an extremely critical component to the whole mix and as customers begin to “learn” how to use the featured apps, we believe more effort will be devoted by firms to ensure the best apps are up on top.
5) Control What You Post
A cool feature of the new format is the ability to “pin” a post for up to 7 days at a time, meaning you can keep a post up in the top of your timeline without worrying about losing it as new posts are created. You can also update your pin every seven days and keep the same post up for as long as you like. Most savvy marketers are using this space to highlight contests, promotions, and other important calls to action (since you can’t use the cover photo for this).
All in all, we have mixed reviews from clients about the new format. Many dislike it and believe this change signals the demise of Facebook. We, on the other hand, think the new format levels the playing field. At the same time, the change really forces ALL companies to rethink their Facebook strategies and really get to the root of what they want to accomplish from this social media console.