Facebook Page Mandatory Changes

Tips for Converting to Facebook Timeline
On March 30th the layout of your Facebook Page will change – like it or not.
scuba FacebookTimelineExample

This article will address some of the basics with a few ideas and suggestions for your dive business.  Mashable.com has an extensive rundown of the changes and what they mean. Email subscribers may need to click through to view the images below.

There are four things this article will address:

Facebook Timeline page specs

1. Cover and Profile photos
2. Apps
3. Pinning a Post
4. The Timeline

Cover Photo and Profile Picture Ideas

The profile picture represents your Page on other parts of Facebook (news feed, for example). In most cases, your logo is the best option for this space. If your logo looks funny when squished to 200pixels square, consider a simplified version.

The cover photo is the large image that will greet every visitor to your page. Below are two examples of different cover photo strategies: one from AT&T and one from RedBull.  I particularly like what AT&T has done.

A mosaic like this allows you to showcase your best underwater and topside photos – see example below made from PADI stock images. Utilize your favorite local diving shots in combo with images from the PADI Pro’s Site (under the Toolbox menu) to get any additional images you may need, or just download the image below.

scuba diving Facebook timeline cover photo
click to view larger version and/or download

RedBull, on the other hand, puts a single dramatic image front and center (see below – it’s since changed). Most businesses seem to be going the single-image route; however, all that glitters is not gold. Scroll down for a more lackluster example of a large cover photo.

Presents of Mind, is one of my favorite stores back home in Portland, and I was so disappointed with their updated page. This image doesn’t say anything about how great the store is or what it sells – and it has more glare than the crappy screengrabs from my last post.

Facebook Cover Photo Do’s and Don’ts

Your cover photo may be the first impression of your businesses a customer ever sees. If you’re running Facebook ads, or tagging photos of new students, the cover image = your new landing page.

If you’ve got a gateway app wherein new visitors can’t see the homepage until they Like you – that’s going away. First time visitors will go directly to your cover photo / Timeline page. You can still have a special offer app that requires a “Like” to unlock a coupon or other promotion, but the entire page can’t be locked away as was possible pre-Timeline.

Here are some important considerations for your cover photo

  • Don’t include price or purchase information such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”
  • Don’t include a call to action, such as “Like Us” or “Tell your friends”
    Read the complete list of restricted content for your cover photo (you should be clicking this link)
  • Dofeel free to change up your cover photo.
    • Got an exotic dive trip to fill? Post a dramatic image to promote what the destination has to offer.
    • GoPro Night on the horizon? Create a graphic with the event date and run it as your cover photo the month prior to your event.
  • Do use smiling pictures of people. Underwater landscapes are nice, but people want to know they’re going to have a fun experience if they choose your business.

The menu on the left side of your page is going away. Some of these items will appear in little boxes (called Apps) below your cover photo. There are five total spaces, but  About and Photos are mandatory and you can’t remove them.

You can choose three additional apps to appear on your landing page. Here are some ideas and options:

Email list sign-up
Special Offers

About is the same as Info on your current Facebook Page. If you haven’t edited this section recently, now’s a good time to update it. Check out our article Creating a Great About Us Page for ideas.

If you have more than three apps, customers can view the additional apps by clicking a little arrow at the end of your app row. Clicking this arrow will expand the number of apps available to view.

Pinning a Post

If you have a  special offer for Facebook Fans, or other activity you want to promote, you can “pin” a wall post to the top of the page.

First, compose your post as you would any other status update for your wall. To pin the post, click the pencil icon in the top right corner of the post. Then choose Pin to Top.

This post will remain at the top of your Timeline for seven days. After that they’ll drop back into the timeline. You can re-pin the post back to the top or choose something else.

Only posts “written” by the page can be pinned to the top. A comment or post from someone who likes your page cannot be pinned.

The Timeline

If you still have time after creating your cover page, choosing a profile photo, arranging your apps and pinning a post, then have a look at your company timeline. Use Timeline to create a narrative history of your business such as when the store opened, when a boat was brought in, the first IDC, etc. Research has shown that consumers are interested in behind-the scenes pictures, milestones, and other things that “humanize” the business. RedBull has converted their page to Timeline view and you can explore the colorful history of this (very active) brand.

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