Facebook’s Timeline Pages For Media Brands

Facebook Pages for brands are now upgradable to the new Facebook Timeline layout. You have the month of March to test and tweak, the layout will be pushed out to all on March 31.

So what do you need to know?

CONTENT IS KING

Most importantly, as a brand, you should know your actual page doesn’t really matter. Most Facebook users live in their newsfeed. They share, comment, consume and interact with content on their own individual news stream. While the layout of Facebook brand pages is changing, the way the content is consumed by the user isn’t. The stream remains the same.

A recent issue of Marketing Magazine was dedicated to Facebook and has page after page of great context including this from a TNS study that reported this attitude from half of respondents: “social networks are a place where I don’t want to be bothered by companies/organizations.”

In Canada there are 18M Facebook accounts. 12M of those people will access Facebook on any given day. There are 6M people that don’t want to hear from brands – only 4M have even bothered to like a brand. Yet, 44% concede that social media is a good place to hear about brands and when a friend talks about a brand, 81% see it as valuable.

When someone does breaks out and gives you a “like”, it’s a piece of gold. They are your P1, they have given you the ultimate gift of permission marketing, don’t treat it lightly.

The key for your brand needs to still be pushing out interactive, captivating, engaging content that will harness the attention of your audience. The more your audience interacts with your brand’s content, the higher your EdgeRank becomes and the more likely they are to see more of your content show up in their news feed.

So, regardless of the pages of advice you will see on how to manage the new Facebook Pages for Brands the key is: create content people care about and want to see.

BIG CHANGE, NO SPLASH

facebook call to action splash pageIf your content is on point, then you can start worrying about your layout. The biggest takeaway by Facebook with this Timeline layout is the disappearance of the splash page.

Many sites would default a big graphic for their landing page that would encourage people to like the brand (like Heinz at the right). You can’t do that anymore. Now, when someone lands on your page they will see your page, that’s it. Whether they like your page or not, you can’t push people to action, you have to earn it.

Facebook has strict rules for what your banner image can’t include:

– Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”

– Contact information such as web address, email mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section.

– References to use interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features.

- Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”

There are still many different things you could use as a header. City skylines, logos, secondary marks, collages, here are some tools you can use to create brand headers. I used my 851×315 pixel header to convey the different messages my brand conveys online.

Facebook is in the business of advertising, if you want to motivate people to like your page with a call to action, you’ll need to buy some of those ads that run down the right hand side to do it, or pin a promo to the top of your feed.

PINNING COMES TO FACEBOOK

Pinning isn’t just a buzz word for Pinterest, if you want to announce big promotions, urge people to like your brand page or force a call to action, you can do it by pinning a post to the top of your feed.

Running a big contest? Have a huge announcement? Breaking some important news? THIS is where you put that piece of information (not in the banner image). You can pin content to the top of the timeline for up to 7 days and you can even stretch it out across the full width of your page for better visibility.

ITS ALL ABOUT THE BOXES

The apps that used to run down the left side of your page, now get more focus as boxes below the main header. You can arrange the order the boxes appear, but photos will always remain in first position.

These boxes are great places for your videos, your Twitter stream, specific homes you’d like to have for contests, personnel profiles etc.

The new layout of the Facebook page is really making it much more like a traditional website (oh, is Zuckerberg trying to make the old web obsolete?) and you can pour as much or as little effort and information into it as you want. Brands like the New York Times and Manchester United are using the timeline to tell complete stories of their brands’ history.

You might want to be careful about how much you invest into apps. Facebook has removed the splash page app as part of their mobile initiative. Instead of having apps nested within the Facebook framework, they’re moving to a more streamlined approach. Apps still exist – for now, but with the move to mobile you should be careful how much you invest in them at this time.

Mashable came up with a great overview of the topics discussed:

Here are some of the articles I’ve been reading this week on the changes to Facebook Pages for Brands:

Inside Facebook: Timeline for Facebook Pages Complete Overview
Mashable: Facebook Timeline Pages Cover Photos
Edelman Digital: Facebook Gives Brands A Story To Tell
Ragan: What PR Pros Need To Know About Facebook Timeline For Brands
All Facebook: Facebook Timeline For Pages Is Here, With Pinning
All Facebook: How We Upgraded Our Own Facebook Page To Timeline
Mashable: Facebook Timeline for Pages: Which Brands Will Win and Lose?
Mashable: Why Facebook Timeline Will Be Huge For Brands
Mashable: Timeline For Brands: How To Prepare Your Company’s New Facebook Page
Mashable: Facebook Marketing: Why News Feed Still Trumps Timeline Pages
All Facebook: Facebook Timeline Features You Haven’t Heard About Yet
Mashable: Facebook Timeline: The Complete Guide
Kruse Kontrol: Warning: Facebook’s Massive Changes Mean You Must Engage
All Facebook: How To Run Promotions On Facebook Timeline
Vectorash: Facebook Timeline Brand Pages

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