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Facebook Timeline For Pages is Here – Now How Do You Use It?

Facebook Timeline Overview

It’s a very exciting day for those who focus on the future of Facebook Brand Pages and what this means for doing business and acquiring fans on Facebook. Your Facebook Timeline Page is not a substitute for an actual website for many reasons, but it can be the most effective business tool you have other than your actual website.

With the new Facebook Timeline for Pages, you can actually use Facebook to build what is essentially a mini-site and your own social community. Put up a large photo or graphic which enhances your brand presence, message directly back and forth with your customers, and develop full-size custom areas (called Apps, formerly known popularly as Tabs) which you can use to drive interaction, offers, and many other marketing features.

It’s the single best update Facebook has done for businesses and brands to date, and is very exciting. We took the time to break out some of the best newest features below! Enjoy and contact us if you have any more questions or want to create that professional presence for your brand and/or business!
Cover Photo Helps You Brand your Page Better
Facebook Timeline Cover Photo
Here is a golden opportunity to brand your business and page much more professionally! This is your chance to show a beautiful picture of your product, design a professional header, or just a photo of you hard a work creating the amazing product you created the page for!
But there are restrictions…This is not a place for an advertisement, to encourage likes, or incentivize customers and potential customers. Facebook has been very explicit about what they don’t want to see on Cover Photos.
Our suggestion: Either have a photograph of your product, or have a professional design company (pick us, please!) create a very professional and affordable timeline cover photo for your Page.
Receive Messages Direct to Your Page
This is probably the single-best feature for your new Timeline Brand Page. This feature (which you can easily turn off if you like) allows your customers and potential customers to engage directly with you just like sending any other message! Gone are the days of responding to wall posts asking potential customers to “send me an email” or a personal message through your Facebook profile. Now, you can keep your personal page and your brand page completely separate and private if you like, while still being able to directly communicate with your customers in a much better way than ever before!
Highlight What’s Important by Pinning Important Posts
Facebook Timeline - Pinned Stories
If you have an important post, a portfolio photo album, or a particular offer or contest, you can no “pin” that post to the top of your Timeline so all posts which come after that will not push your important post down the page.
This is great news if you’re an artist who is using a particular photo album as their Facebook portfolio, or if you have a few different photo albums and would like to rotate them. Also this is great news for companies who want to showcase a particular time-sensitive post. Whether it’s a contest or special offer or announcement of an event…whatever you need to keep in your fans’ minds…you can do it by pinning it to the top of your timeline.
That being said, this feature quite honestly is coming a little late to the party. Facebook has evolved to have less and less direct-page interactions and more and more posts/story interaction. Facebook now lives and breathes on the News Feed, not on individual pages, so while it’s a nice feature to have, it’s not a major swing in either direction.
New Management and Admin Controls
For those you don’t like to see hidden layers move their pages around and up and down, this might drive you crazy until you get used to it, but it’s a positive change. Now to see your updates, use the new messaging feature, check stats and metrics, all you do is click a button and reveal all the stats you are used to getting from your Facebook Brand Page, and more.
When you have new notifications, the Admin Panel button at the top right of your Facebook Timeline for Pages will highlight the number of new Notifications you have. One click and you reveal everything you could want to see at a glance. Your latest notifications, Newest Likers, Brief overview of your Insights, and your latest Messages and direct communications with your Likers and potential customers. If you want more specific information you can drill down from there. Very nice, clean, simple and intuitive.
Wider Format for Custom Apps/Pages/Tabs
Gone are “Custom Tabs” officially, and welcome to calling them what they were called most recently on the back-end…”Apps.” You can arrange your Apps however you like on your page. You can feature four of your most important Apps, but up to 12 are available for customers to view by clicking the little arrow to the right of the four featured App boxes.
Custom Tabs/Apps used to have a narrow width of 520 pixels. However, the new Facebook Timeline Pages have a wider and much more visually-impactful 810 pixel max width.
Easy Custom App Pictures & How To Arrange Your Views
Facebook Timeline - Custom App Images
Changing App/Tab Images Icons, and How to Arrange Your App Views in the new Facebook Timeline Page layout are both the easiest and most difficult things to figure out with the new Timeline for Pages on Facebook, so please let me give you a shortcut so you don’t have to go crazy.
If you have more than four Apps, you will have a drop-down arrow to the right of the Apps. Click that to reveal the hidden Apps. Now here’s where the UI gets weird. You will see little pencil/edit squares when you hover over the App icons. Click the pencil of the app you want to move, and then select the name of the App you want to swap places with. It’s very confusing and with today’s web technology hard to imagine you can’t “drag and move” like the previous version of custom tabs, or have an edit area in the Edit Page Admin controls where you could arrange these. It’s definitely strange and not very smart, but that’s how you do it. At least with a few extra clicks you can get it the way you want it, even if it’s not the most intuitive thing Facebook has ever come up with. One caveat, you cannot move the “Photos” App, nor can you rename it  or choose a photo to display as the icon. Oh, well. Can’t get everything right, right?
Now that you have everything arranged the way you like it, you probably want to get rid of some of those unsightly default icons and/or 3rd Party Icons. Go back to your hovering trick, and click the pencil. Now select “Edit Settings,” and you’ll be able to upload any picture you want for the Tab Image Icon if you click the “Change” link. More confusion, the next page where you select the image from does not have a Save button. Once it’s uploaded, then it’s live and you can close the window. Even more confusion: The Apps are still called “Custom Tabs” in that pop up window. I guess Facebook wants to make sure you’re paying attention.
One last thing, from a marketing stand-point, Change your App/Tab Name to something short but to the point. Instead of “Aweber Email Marketing” you probably want to have “Free eBook!” or whatever your incentivized offering is. Think of these Apps as mini webpages which  you can use to generate leads, run contests, or whatever you like to help keep your business moving.
Larger Stories
Facebook Timeline - Large Stories
Now, when you post a picture, your fans will see a larger picture than before. If you already have Timeline for your personal page, then you know this is a great tool for helping people who come to your page see the visual content without having to click to enlarge or squint/use reading glasses to see what you’re posting about.
Milestones
Now you can fill out the entire story of your company/brand. Upload a picture of the time when you worked out of the garage, or worked nights starting up your business in the hour after your “day job.” Or post a brief anecdote you have to share about the company’s start, complete with a photo from your start date.
The Big Picture
Most people might not like the “Wall” layout of Timeline, and it’s certainly not perfect and admittedly confusing, but the core focus of Facebook these days and moving into the future is all about Social Sharing and all about quality posts, stories, and ads driving traffic and promoting sharing to their personal networks. Facebook has finally given us business owners a great tool to do everything we would like…so long as we stick within their very strict guidelines, of course. All in all, we are going to be using these great new communication features for years, and once you get used to the new Facebook Timeline for Pages, you’re going to love it, and love what it can do for your business on Social Media.
Please see below for some of our clients’ brand new Timeline Pages on Facebook!
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