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In case you haven’t heard, big changes are coming to the layout of Facebook which will affect businesses substantially. Beginning March 30th, 2012 these mandatory changes to Facebook Timeline will be visible on all existing Facebook business pages.

 

The good news is that businesses can gain from the new Timeline layout, including the ability to attract attention (and fans!) with dramatic cover photos and highlight significant historical posts.

 

Since many changes are subtle and confusing, we present below a brief summary of some of the most significant differences.

Facebook Timeline Appearance

  • Large cover photo
  • How many friends currently “like” the page
  • Recent activity by other people

 

Note that branding on the page changes as the user experiences the page. If a photo is tagged or posts are made by other people, they will show up on the right side of the page.

 

Cover Photo Restrictions

The cover photo cannot include:

  • Price or purchase information
  • Contact information
  • Calls to action
  • References to Facebook features such as “like” or share

 

Above the Fold

The following is visible “above the fold” (the part of a page that’s visible without scrolling):

  • Category
  • About
  • Photos
  • Map (available for Places page)
  • Custom app.
  • More custom apps.

 

Note that once the change-over to Timeline occurs, users will no longer be able to have landing pages for new visitors, but they can drive Facebook ads to apps.

 

Other Options

  • Users can move “like” down below and create a custom app. in its place.
  • When a user clicks on “like”, it will show statistics (available for everyone to see). The “likes” tab can also be used to view competitors’ statistics.
  • Businesses can make posts selective so they approve posts before anyone can see them on the page. This is a new option which should be used judiciously.
  • Fans and non-fans are able to message businesses privately. While businesses cannot initiate a private message to others, if someone messages the business first, it can send back a message.
  • Businesses can pin important posts at the top of the timeline for 7 days.
  • Users will be able to have the option to logout of their account if they choose. This was previously not an option.

 

Location of Premium Ads

  • Right side of homepage
  • Newsfeed on homepage

 

Mobile

  • Newsfeed is mobile
  • Users will have an option to logout on their phones

 

What to Consider

  • The businesses’ brand presentation
  • What first and lasting impression the brand will make
  • Quality over quantity
  • The importance of custom content – it differentiates a branded experience across the network
  • Success will be enjoyed by businesses who have a strong overall brand page
  • Focus on “brand story”

 

After reading through all of the changes that will be occurring, we hope that we have better prepared your business for this new chapter. Preparation will help to make the transition to the Timeline a stress-free experience!

–Amy Kundinger, Social Media Specialist