At its fMC event in New York City this Wednesday, Facebook announced major design changes to brand pages. Page administrators were able to preview the changes starting this week and a mandatory roll out of the redesign begins on March 31st.
While Facebook Timeline for personal accounts incorporated cover art and other visually appealing elements to the Facebook page, Timeline for Brands is more than just a visual overhaul. Facebook has also incorporated new page management features that help page administrators curate the Facebook experience and highlight their most important content in conspicuous and attractive post formats. Also, for administrators of multiple pages, Facebook released functionality that streamlines multiple page management from one central location.
Timeline for Business does not change the core way that people use Facebook, but it does bring the importance of content even further to the forefront. Below is a summary of some of these and other changes for page administrators.
Moving forward, Facebook has announced that sponsored stories will appear in the news feed instead of where they are currently showing in the right rail above other paid advertisements. In addition to this change, Facebook will begin to show ads that display in the news feed to users who are using a Facebook mobile app or viewing on m.facebook.com. Facebook has also made various changes to their Premium ad offering. (Premium ads are available to clients who sign an insertion order and spend a minimum of $25,000 per month.)
Timeline for Facebook Business Pages
While current business pages can "opt in" to the timeline functions starting on February 29th, all business pages will be forced into the new layout beginning on March 31st. Facebook has already stated that, later this year, this new layout will also be shown when users access your page using a mobile device.
Changes to Page Functionality
Facebook has announced a few key changes to the functionality of these new Business Pages.
Changes to profile image:
Profile images are now reduced to measure 180 pixels by 180 pixels. However, Facebook has added new image space with the 'cover photo'. The cover photo will appear across the top of the page measuring in at 851 pixels by 351 pixels with the profile image to the left.
While businesses are able to choose this image, Facebook has set some strict ground rules to the use of this space. Facebook has stated that cover photo images cannot contain price or purchase information, contact info, calls to action, or references to Facebook functions such as 'like' or 'share'.
Changes to page options:
With this update, pages are no longer able to set a default landing tab. All users will be sent directly to your wall. Facebook suggests using a post with a link to the tab you want users to visit in order to drive traffic to a certain tab. This post can be pinned to the top of the page.
Facebook has also added the ability for business pages to send and receive personal messages. Businesses are not able to initiate the conversation, but this is a great place for companies to respond to customer service issues without replying in public on the wall of the page.
Changes to tabs:
One major change is the change to tabs. Instead of a list on the left hand side of tab options, tabs are now displayed by images measuring 111 pixels by 74 pixels across the top of the screen. Currently, 4 tabs are displayed but more tabs can be added and will show as a drop-down option.
In terms of what the tabs look like when clicked, they are now displayed as individual pages with a small control bar at the top of the page. Apps can now be up to 810 pixels wide with this new expansion.
Changes to Page Posting Options
Facebook now gives a few new options when writing posts and managing them on your wall. You now have the ability make changes to any post on your timeline including the option "star" it or "pin" it.
When you "star" a post, the post goes from taking up one-half of the timeline to taking up the entire screen. Importantly, if you want to “star” a post with an image that is not the correct size, Facebook will alter the size and aspect ratio of the image. When an image is displayed normally on one-half of the timeline, the image is approximately 403 pixels by 403 pixels. When the post is "starred", the image is increased to 960 pixels by 637 pixels. For past posts, Facebook crops the image automatically to fit the space.
A standard image post on timeline:
A starred image post on timeline:
As shown above, Facebook cropped the couch out of the photo in order to achieve the proper size.
In addition to starring a post, you now also have the option to "pin" a post to the top of your wall. This post will then remain at the top of your wall for 7 days unless you manually "un-pin" it.
Changes to Page Post Layouts
Facebook now shows new boxes on your Page Timeline, featuring friend activity, friend check-ins, friends who have posted about your brand in their status, and posts by other users. These boxes appear at the top of your timeline on the right hand side.
Friends posted about:
Posts by other users:
Notice above all posts to your wall that are not posted by you will be aggregated in the posts by other users box.
These new changes provide new opportunities for all types of businesses to better connect with customers. Get out there and create your own corporate story!