Facebook began rolling out the business edition of its new Timeline format shortly after most personal pages were required to adopt Timeline in December 2011. Timeline for business pages will become mandatory on March 30. Here’s some of the features you should take advantage of to make the most of the new format.
- Cover photo. Instead of having a row of business-related photos at the top of your page, you’ll have a large photo on top, and your business’ profile photo will be set in the left corner of this photo. This gives you the opportunity to create a unique Facebook logo for your business. Choose an image for your cover photo that reflects your business’ values and add a slogan to it. Make sure your business page’s profile picture reflects the same feeling as the logo and blends well with your cover photo.
- Two column layout, divided by a timeline. The Timeline layout is meant to allow readers to view a page’s “story,” in narrative form. Your customers can drag the timeline to see what you were doing in the past. Use this to your advantage to tell your customers how your business has progressed. For example, post photos of your grand opening, your biggest sale, the first positive review you got and so forth. Label your photos with the correct dates so they go in the right part of your timeline. If you take the time to do this, prospective customers can get a sense of your business’ history and values.
- Tabs on top instead of landing page. The new Timeline format won’t allow you to set a custom landing page with coupons or recent news the way the old business page format did. Instead, you can choose which three tabs run across the top of the page. Use your tabs to help with your branding; choose tabs that reflect popular projects or items of interest to your customers.
- Ability to pin items to top of page. The Timeline feature allows you to pin items that are important to you. Pinned items appear at the top of your page regardless of how much other content you have on your page. You can use pins to help solidify your marketing efforts. Pin links to blogs, recent events and other items that you want your customers to see as soon as they access your page.
- Private messaging capabilities. You will now be able to send private messages to customers who have joined your page. You can use this to send targeted messages to customers who might be interested in a particular sale or follow up on a customer concern.
When setting up your Facebook business page using Timeline, keep in mind that your cover photo, tabs and first two items are most important. These items make up the part of your page that is “above the fold”–the portion of the page customers see when they first load it. The above the fold information is more important than the rest of your Timeline because prospective customers may not scroll down to see what else you have on your page. You want your entire page to look professional, but concentrate on the above the fold material first so that you can get customers’ attention right away and encourage them to join your page.