Timeline for Facebook business pages goes live on Friday 30 March 2012, whether you’re ready or not.
Indeed, many pages have already chosen to make the switch. Here’s what you need to know first.
Your business page will still have a small profile image. This is the thumbnail photo that accompanies all your posts, comments and shares.
With the new Timeline format, your page will also have a panoramic cover image at the top. Your apps, that used to appear in the left hand side column of your page, now appear in custom photo tabs in a menu directly beneath your new cover image.
Step 1: Prepare your cover photo
When potential fans land on your Facebook page from your website, blog, or email footer, your cover image will be the first thing that catches their eye.
When preparing your image, take note of Facebook’s clear guidelines on what your image cannot contain:
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 user 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”
In other words, you can’t just repurpose your image from the custom landing tab you used to have on your page. There has been a great debate in the social media world about what promotional content is and is not allowed. We recommend you read Mari Smith’s article for more details.
Our top tip? Be creative and think about branding, rather than advertising. Coca Cola’s Facebook page is the most shared example of a brand that uses its cover photo to tell its brand story.
Bear in mind too that your cover image is public by default and can be seen by everyone, not just your fans.
Cover image size: 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels high
Step 2: Check your profile image
Many people will not visit your page after they’ve liked it. This thumbnail will be the image that they see day in and day out in their newsfeed and ticker.
Make sure that this image continues to represent your brand.
Profile image size: 125 pixels wide and 125 pixels high
Step 3: Organise your custom Photo Tabs
Your fan gates and other apps now appear in custom Photo Tabs under your cover image. Used well, they can give your page a professional look and they certainly appeal to the more visual among us.
The trick here is to reposition the Photo Tabs that appear on your page. While you can have up to 12 Photo Tabs, only four appear above the line and your fans must click the dropbox-style arrow to see the rest.
The Photo Tab entitled ‘Photos’ will always appear first. This links to your photo albums. Select the other three Tabs that are most important to your business. Your Twitter and blog feeds are great to position here. Expect that few fans will dig deeper.
Custom Photo Tab image sizes: 112 pixels wide and 75 pixels high
What were those image sizes again?
Cover image size 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels high
Profile image size 125 pixels wide and 125 pixels high
Custom Photo Tab image sizes 112 pixels wide and 75 pixels high
Which brand profiles have caught your eye so far? Post them in the comments and let’s build an ideas bank.
Socialface is a social media agency based in Sydney, Australia. We love the way images give Facebook pages that visual ‘pop’. We also love the way Pinterest has taken images to a new social level. Join us for more image love on Facebook or Pinterest.