A few weeks ago Facebook launched its most ambitious update to date. By now you’ve probably already seen Facebook’s new Timeline feature in action, but you might be skeptical to adopt it yourself. If so, I’m sorry to tell you you’re living on borrowed time. Timeline goes mandatory on March 30th and the best advice I can give brands looking to market on Facebook now is to start preparing. In that spirit, here are 3 things you need to know about Timeline for brands.
- Say Goodbye to Landing Pages
One of the favorite features of Facebook for marketers has always been the ability to create custom landing pages using iFrames or Facebook Markup Language. Sorry marketers, but landing pages are a thing of the past. I’m just guessing here, but my assumption is that landing pages are gone as a result of Facebook’s directive to keep all their content within the network.
The lack of landing pages will undoubtedly force most social media marketers to revisit their Facebook platform. A lot of marketers preferred landing pages for lead capture and enjoyed the flexibility and level of control they offered. Going forward, Timelines will be the only option for landing pages which means optimizing the effectiveness of your main page becomes paramount.
- Say Hello to Cover Photos
What Facebook taketh, Facebook giveth… One nice advantage to Timeline is the new cover photo element. The cover photo is really just a 851 x 315 canvas billboard for you to optimize. You should really put some serious time and thought into this space because it’s going to be the first thing your visitors see and set the tone for your social media presence.
By all accounts Facebook has been trying to tie up what they perceive as lost revenue due to free advertising opportunities with brand pages, and yet they offer marketers this giant billboard to promote their company. I’m sure I’m not the only one puzzled by the move. That being said, I’m excited to see what my colleagues come up with for the space.
However, marketers can’t expect free reign with cover photos. Early adopters should be especially careful of what messages they’re putting up there. According to Facebook’s official Timeline rules cover photos can not 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 asLike or Share, or any other Facebook site features
- Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”
Basically Facebook doesn’t want you using cover photos to step on the advertising toes of the company, nor do they want visitors confused between paid/sponsored advertisements and free features.
- Just Pin It
One feature I think marketers will grow to love about Timeline is the option to pin posts to the top of your brand page. Think about it, one big downside to Facebook for brands is the rate at which information on this site cycles. Users don’t want to drill down through pages of content to get what they need. For someone with 100 or more friends, posts can get pushed to the bottom of their feed quickly. The new pin option is great for keeping information in front of your audience’s eyes. This allows brand marketers to keep their viewers attention on the issues that are most important to them. Have a contest running all month? Don’t spend hours reposting the same information daily, instead just pin it to your page. Just won a big industry award? Show it off to the world for more than a couple of hours by pinning that sucker front and center.
These are just 3 changes marketers need to know about Facebook Timeline. Stay tuned for an in depth examination of Timeline later this month.