On March 30, Facebook pages are getting a new design, and that means your business strategy will need to change. Take a look at the changes and learn how brands can take advantage of some of the new features.
Cover Photo and Profile Image
One of the biggest changes is the cover photo. There will be no more photo strip across the top of your business page, rather you now will have one large image to showcase your page. Your image must be a minimum of 399 pixels and no larger than 850 pixels by 315 pixels.
One of the biggest downfalls with the cover photo is the fact that you cannot have a call-to-action—you can’t tell people to “like” or share your page or have any contact information at all, including your web address, phone number or mailing address. Take a look at Facebook’s guidelines on using cover photos.
Profile picture size will now be restricted to 180 pixels by 180 pixels, and will appear next to every post as a 30 pixel by 30 pixel photo. Your profile picture can now be used for an eye-catching photo or logo without a lot of words.
Larger, Highlighted and Pinned Posts
To help tell your business’ stories, pictures and videos will now be larger and eye-catching. You can also highlight a story (by clicking the star icon in the upper right of a post) so that it spans all the way across the Timeline shown in this Lexus post with a video.
You can also pin the story to the top of your Timeline for up to a week.
Setting Company Milestones
Another thing you can add to make your Timeline more interesting is Milestones. With Timeline, you can tell people about big events in the life of your brand or company.
Posts from supporters are now in a separate area than information you post, so your timeline becomes more focused on your company’s history or story. People now may be spending more time reading your Timeline rather than just coming to your page to ask a question. The more visually engaging you can make your Timeline, the better.
One of the biggest changes is the removal of the default landing tab. Applications haven’t disappeared and are still available to showcase if you have created a custom welcome tab or added other special applications. You can have up to 12 applications to showcase, however, only the four applications that you move to the top row will appear prominently on your page. You cannot change the position of the photos, however, so technically you can showcase three applications.
Without the default landing tab, the applications give you a chance to be creative by changing the display photos and even renaming the app. The custom tab image is 111 pixels by 74 pixels.
Facebook Insights, Admin Panel and Messaging
Another change with the Timeline is the location of the Insights. You can now access them by clicking on the Admin Panel in the upper right corner of your page. The Admin Panel tells you about new notifications and gives you access to the “back-end” of your Facebook page.
You will still be able to see the old-style Page Dashboard if you click the Manage drop-down menu and then Edit Page. From the Admin Page, you can also invite your email contacts, invite friends, share your page and create an ad from the Build Audience drop-down menu.
Use the Build Audience drop-down menu to access several options on getting the word out about your page.
Facebook has done a nice job of giving us lots of options to learn more about the new page design from the Help drop-down menu. During the Preview, the Help drop-down menu links to tutorials, but once you publish your Timeline you will have access to some different options.
One of the capabilities will be to easily request a name change for your page. This name change is the title of your page, not the custom URL you may have set for your page. You can still access this form here. This is great news for people who have changed their company branding, have had a misspelling in the name or have other tweaks they have wanted to make, as this option was previously unavailable.
One of the most interesting developments of the new page Timelines is that we can now get more information on other pages that have changed to the new Timeline. When you click on the Likes box, just underneath their Timeline cover photo you can see the most popular age group, a People Talking About This Trend graph and their most popular week.
You can now see more Insight information about any page that has the new Timeline.
Companies could possibly hide the Likes box by swapping it to a lower position than the top 12 apps that are accessible to the public. But that would also hide the social proof of how many people like your page.
Pages will also have the ability to receive messages from fans. The Message feature can be turned on or off from the Manage Permissions area of the Admin Dashboard.
The Message button is enabled by default so if you want to disable it, you will have to uncheck the box. Messages can only be initiated by a fan—they cannot be initiated by the page to a fan. The page can reply to the message sent.
Another new announcement that was covered in the fMC Conference was some changes to advertising. The ads will be larger and the product names are the Reach Generator and Premium on Facebook. The Reach Generator is designed to reach more of your existing fans than you currently are reaching through the news feed.
Mike Hoefflinger, Facebook’s director of global business marketing, said that currently pages only reach about 16% of their audience each week with posts. With the Reach Generator ads, pages can reach 50% of their fans each week and 75% each month. Beta testing done by brands such as Ben and Jerry’s was able to reach 98% of fans and double engagement.
The Reach Generator ads are designed to connect to your existing audience and will include the Page Post stories. The ads will not be based on CPC or CPM models, but will be an “always on” ad. These ads will be shown on the right side of the page and they will also go into the news feed and mobile streams.
Premium on Facebook is designed to distribute your stories to new connections and will be shown on the right side of the home page, in the news feed, in mobile streams and when someone logs out of Facebook.
Again, there will be a lot of big changes with Facebook pages, but there are a lot of ways you can use it to your advantage in promoting your business.