Facebook Change for Businesses : Timeline

Evolution of Facebook Timeline

Recently announced, Facebook will be making a major move with its business page layout – making the user experience more about explaining a company, rather than selling their product or service. Previously released for personal profile pages, come March 30th of this year, Facebook will shift over the Timeline page layout to the business profile side of things as well.

What’s Different about the New Facebook Timeline?

Gone are the days of having just a basic, endless string of status updates, posts, pictures and videos. Facebook now utilizes a set of algorithms to select various moments in the profile’s history and create a set of highlights – known as the Timeline. This layout will not only be very helpful for users to get a glimpse of the overall history and culture of a company, but will also make it simple to see how active that company is in the current and previous years.

Besides the addition of the Timeline, Facebook has also delivered a new, and in my opinion, improved layout for the main page. Not only are profiles still allotted a small image for their profile picture, but there is also the addition of a much larger, landscape-style image for the background at the top of the page (maximum dimensions of 830 pixels by 315 pixels) – known as the Cover Photo.

How the Facebook Timeline Effects Business Pages

Although these may sound like great additions to a company’s profile page, if you are using Facebook for aggressive marketing, the Timeline has, in a sense, made business profile pages more universal. Essentially, no longer can a business page use a landing page technique to target customers – as the Landing tab has been deleted entirely. Some of you may be thinking: “No problem, I will just utilize the Cover Photo to get my marketing message across.” There’s only one problem with this; the Cover Photo may not contain any:

  • Pricing or purchasing information
  • Any call to action, including “buy X here” or “visit our website”
  • Contact information
  • References to anything that has to do with internal Facebook features – including “share,” “like,” or even pointing the viewer to any of these features.
  • Anything that is copyright infringing or violates the intellectual property rights of a third party.

Better start getting creative! Luckily, the “About” section, directly below the cover photo, can be edited to display any of this information. I would recommend using this space for your company’s contact information and any important call to action.

Using the Timeline to a Business’s Advantage

As stated earlier, the initial Timeline that is displayed on a profile page will be selected by Facebook’s new algorithms. That being said, this does not mean that the posts, images, etc. that are posted in the Timeline are set in stone. Profile managers will indeed, have the ability to hide whichever items they choose from being displayed on the Timeline. Removing these items will not ultimately delete them from the profile; it will just limit Facebook’s ability to display them in the Timeline.

On the other hand, if there is an item in a business’s Timeline that they would like to put more viewer focus on, profile managers will have the ability to feature items and make them remain visible within the Timeline. Furthermore, the dates of items can be edited to make them appear in the past on the Timeline. This is a great loophole feature for newer companies, giving them an opportunity to create an illusion of being older and more established.

Another way the Timeline can be viewed as an advantage to companies is that any activity or items posted on their profile will have a much longer lifespan. In the good ol’ days of Facebook, posts and information would be streamed, and the older the content, the lesser chance that it would meet a present viewers eye (who is going to sit there and scroll back that far??). Come March 30th 2012, viewers will be able to instantly view highlights of that company’s previous years of content on Facebook and admire any rewards, recognitions, events and key posts from the past.

What will Happen Externally?

Depending on your company’s Facebook marketing strategy, this update can either be a reason for celebration, or a large pain in the neck – but looking at the big picture, the same goes for some third parties. Companies like Wix and Pagemodo have invested heavily in creating and giving clients the ability to create custom Facebook pages. I think it is pretty obvious (and sad to say) that these companies specializing in these services will take a heavy hit, to say the least. On a more positive note, it will also open up a new market for other third parties. This will be a huge opportunity for graphic artists and workers in similar industries to get in on the action. If you are a business who relies heavily on Facebook marketing and/or is using a custom Facebook page, I would recommend looking into a graphic artist to help out with your Profile Image and Cover Photo ASAP.