New Facebook Timeline
Cover image replaces default landing tab
One of the biggest feature changes that many businesses are upset about is the removal of a default landing tab.
That is, where you can create a custom landing page for non-fans using an iFrame app, and add rich media, an opt-in box and/or a compelling reason to join your fan page. In addition, many businesses made use of the “like-gating” or “fan-gating” feature on these default custom landing tabs where you could entice your fans to click the Like button and then reward them with a special benefit such as a coupon code, or unique content just for fans.
The good news is you can still have custom tabs, plus the like-gating element still functions. You just can’t set a default landing tab. However, each of your apps still has its own unique URL. That means you can drive traffic to any “landing” page you wish – from within Facebook via ads, your profile and other places as appropriate; and from outside Facebook on your website/blog, other social profiles, tweets, email campaigns, email signature files, and so forth.
With the new Timeline design, you’ll notice the generously large cover image at the top of your page. You may find that you care less and less about a default landing tab with this piece of prime real estate that is always visible to fans and non-fans as they land on your page. The dimensions are 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels high. It’s a wonderful place to showcase photographs and graphics pertaining to your brand/business.
Key Points To Know About Timeline for Pages
You have a chance to preview your page(s) first, made all the edits you wish, get it just the way you want it, then publish. Look for the preview option at the top of your page in the old design. Or, see a list of your pages here and turn on page preview mode. Before you publish, at minimum just have an attractive cover image loaded.
2. Cover Image
Dimensions for the large cover image is 851 x 315 pixels. If you upload an image that’s smaller than these dimensions, it will get stretched to this larger size. The image you upload must be at least 399 pixels wide. Facebook encourages you to change your cover image as often as you wish. Newsflash: each time you change your cover image, this posts on to your wall and goes out into the news feed of your fans. You may find the activity itself doesn’t get great Edgerank (visibility score in the news feed). So, what you can do is hide the activity on your wall, then share the new cover image with a call to action in the textual area, e.g. We’re celebrating 10,000 fans today and just changed our cover image in honor of all of You! Click like if you like! (To be clear, that message does *not* go ON your cover image itself. You’re posting your cover image on your wall with the message as a description.)
3. Image rules
Do not put contact info, calls to action, or arrows pointing to the Like or Share button on your cover image. Contact info should go in your about section. The no calls to action rule is likely because Facebook has been very generous with this large piece of real estate … however, the company does not want us to run hogwild with all manner of promotions and campaigns… for free!
4. Profile picture
Your profile picture is always a square and is displayed at 125 x 125 pixels or 150 x 150 pixels, depending on the size of someone’s screen. The photo you upload must be at least 180 x 180 pixels. Facebook discourage page owners from changing their profile picture that often. This is the primary, instantly-recognizable image that tracks you throughout Facebook wherever your posts go and wherever you comment as your Page.
5. Landing tab
You can no longer set a default landing tab. Make good use of the cover image, instead (see #2 above) and the three main apps (see #7 below). Plus, drive traffic to whichever tab you wish (see #6 below).
6. App URLs
Custom apps all still function, including the fan-gating feature. Each tab/app still has a unique URL so you can drive traffic from inside or outside Facebook to any ‘landing page’ you wish.
7. Showcase apps
Just below your cover image, your ‘tabs’ are now displayed as apps or views. You can have a max of 12, though only four are always on display. The first one is always Photos and cannot be moved. ‘Views’ are Facebook’s default apps or features such as Photos, Events, Likes, Notes, Map. Apps are all third party apps.
8. Custom thumbnail
You can add a custom thumbnail image to all your apps. The dimensions are 111 x 74 pixels. These are great areas to get creative and add seamless branding, calls to action, and specials. To add/change a custom thumbnail, first expand all apps by clicking the small down arrow to the right of the four app display. Then hover over any app > click the edit pencil > click Edit Settings > click Change next to Custom Tab Image (opens in a new window) > click Change > upload an image. Voila. The image loads and saves right away.… you may need to upload a couple times to get your image to stick!
9. Liked button
The like button now tuns to “liked” when clicked. Users can HOVER for options, including adding to an Interest List(s). The Liked button is a great new feature as it visually informs fans that they have already liked the page. However, the hover feature and ability to add pages to Interest Lists is very new and really not obvious at all.
10. Interest Lists
Encourage your fans and visitors to add you to an Interest List; let them know which topic is best, Interest Lists are brand new as of March 8th.
You can go back in time to add business milestones on your Timeline. When you do, these will post at the right date, and go out into the news feed of your fans and create more visibility and engagement. The full extent of the actual timeline element of the Timeline design is geared toward what Facebook calls “Legacy Brands” – those brands with historical data spanning decades that they’d like to feature.
12. Wall Filters
Page walls now have four filters: Highlights, Posts by Page, Posts by Others, and Friend Activity. There is no way to set the wall to be posts by everyone. The default is always Highlights. In your page settings (Admin Panel > Manage > Edit Page > Manage Permissions), you can choose to not let anyone write on your wall, or to not display Posts by others. However, if you leave the settings on to allow everyone to write on your wall, everyone can add photos and videos, and show the box for Recent Posts by Others.
13. Pin posts
Any post made by the Page can be pinned the top of the wall for up to 7 days.
14. Highlight posts
Page admins can choose to display any post made by the Page or by others as ‘double wide’ – meaning the post spreads across both columns of the Timeline. Hover over a post and click the star icon to highlight.
15. Posts by others
Posts made by others (fans and non-fans) are in a small box at the top right called Recent Posts by Others. You can scroll in this field without leaving your wall: first click ‘More Posts’ on the lower left of the box and use your mousewheel or the vertical scroll bar. Or click ‘See All’ for a popup box. For viewing and moderating, it’s easier to view these posts on the Posts by Others wall filter, though, as mentioned in #12 above.
16. Adjust photos
You can now reposition photos shared by you or others on your page: hover and click the edit pencil, then click Reposition photo, then drag the image where you want it, and click Save.
Fans and visitors can now private Message fan admins – you can turn this feature off in your settings but it might be a good idea to leave it on to encourage connection from prospects! You cannot initiate messages as your page; you can only communicate via Messages when someone contacts you first. The one drawback of yet another method of communication is that you may need to add more community managers to deal with the increase in emails. You’d be surprised at how many people start to contact you via your page!
18. Admin Panel
It takes several more clicks to get to the various settings of your Page now. You may have to dig deep to find features that were once just one click away. For example, to view your Hidden Posts (posts flagged as spam by Facebook that are only visible to Page Admins, to the person/page who made the post, and to friends of that person) – previously it was ONE click on the Hidden Posts link under your Wall on the left. Now, it’s FIVE clicks to get to the same place! Click Admin Panel > Manage > Use Activity Log > All (upper right menu) > Spam. From there, hover over the spam icon to the right of any post that is not spam, and click Unmark as Spam.