Timeline and your brand

March 7, 2012

If there is one thing certain, it’s that Facebook loves making changes. Last year, Facebook introduced Timeline, which changed the look and functionality of your profile. The new focus was clearly on telling your personal story with an extra emphasis on images and adding life events. We immediately speculated that brand pages would soon make the switch to Timeline. And now, the wait is over! Facebook made the big announcement last week and on March 30, all pages will get a new design and be moved to Timeline!

We’ve couldn’t wait to make the switch. Check out our new Honey Agency page and read below for what we’re diggin and what might take a little getting used to.

New features we’re diggin’

1. Storytelling. You can go back in time and add the day your business was founded, key milestones, and tell the story of your brand. Done correctly, telling your story can really engage current fans and motivate people to stay on your page longer. This means you have more qualified ‘Likes’ from the start.
2. Cover Photos. Vertical profile pictures are replaced by smaller, square images and larger Cover Photos that span the width of the page. We love this new larger real estate!
3. App display. Below the cover photo, you have the opportunity to display 4 app thumbnails. The photo album placement is permanent, but the remaining three apps can be selected and moved around.
4. Apps still work. Apps, including things like contests, events, notes, and sign-up forms are still in play, however, the old apps will just look a bit smaller on the full page canvas now allotted. The new app width is almost double the existing space! We also love that there are no ads or clutter on the sides of the app.
5. App Thumbnails. Prior to Timeline, app icons were a measly 16 × 16 px. The new space is much larger at 111 × 74 px. Any time we can have more space to design, we’re excited.
6. Pin a story. Who doesn’t like the idea of ‘pinning’? This new feature allows you to pin stories to the top of your Timeline for up to 7 days. You may be wondering how to promote your latest contest, deal of the day, or important news? Pinning is one way to call attention to your big news.
7. Say goodbye to the Welcome page. Facebook wants all of your fans to see your cover image and Timeline. Your page is now 100% public. This is not a bad thing in our opinion if you’ve thoughtfully filled in your brand’s Timeline.
8. Fan messages! People that like your page can now send you private messages. By default, this feature is turned on. As an admin, you have the option to turn it off, but think twice about the line of communication you will cut off.
9. Fan-gating. For now, Facebook is still supporting “fan-gating” on apps. Fan-gating occurs when you have to ‘Like’ a page before using their app or entering a contest or sweepstakes.

New features we’re not totally diggin’ (yet!)

1. Cover photo restrictions. Facebook has updated their page guidelines, which state that your cover photo can not include price or purchase information, contact information such as website address, the use of an arrow to point to an app, or call to actions such as “get it now” or “tell your friends.” Previously, when we designed and launched a Facebook contest or promotion, we would design a call-to-action in the profile picture. Now we are challenged to think of more creative ways to drive people to an app. No worries, we are on it!
2. Awkward cropping of photos in the Timeline. We’re playing around with the perfect resolution so that photos look amazing in the new story format and don’t get cut off in the display.

As Facebook continues to make changes, we’ll update this blog post. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have. Leave us a comment and we’ll respond. Or if you need custom Timeline designs, we consider ourselves experts!

For more information about the new Facebook pages, visit Facebook’s help page. It features examples from other pages, top questions, and videos.