Published on April 5, 2012 by smallbiztrends, Guest Blogger
As of March 30, 2012 – like it or not – your Facebook page for your business changed. If you had a custom Welcome tab, as many small businesses did — one that said “Like our Page” or had a special offer — it is no longer the first thing that people visiting your Facebook page will see.
Now you have something called the Facebook timeline. People landing on your Facebook Page for the first time can see a large image at the top, plus other items below. Visitors to your page can also go back in time through a sliding time scale, and see what was posted on your page at different times – a convenient feature for, say, telling the history of a company.
Some small businesses do not like the changes being forced on them, especially if they invested in creating a custom Welcome tab. One study by Simply Measured found that fan engagement increases with the new Timeline pages.
Here are 7 things you need to know about the new format of Facebook pages:
- Choose an intriguing cover image – The big image that goes across the top of the Timeline is called a cover image. It’s an odd size – long and not so high at 815 x 315 pixels – so you probably will have to crop a photograph to work. Have your Web designer create an image or if you are talented, create your own timeline cover image. For inspiration, check out these creative examples of small business cover images.
- Don’t violate the Facebook rules for cover images – Facebook has some specific rules about your cover image. It is not allowed to have price, calls to action or contact information in it, among other things. Read the rules.
- Use milestones to tell your company history and achievements – The new timeline is what it says it is – there’s a sliding timeline that users can use. Smart companies are inserting information to tell the story of their businesses, from startup to the present time, along with other key achievements. This might include the date you started your business; when you moved into your new office; and when you won that important award. Click the Milestone icon in the update status box to add a milestone.
- Choose a good profile image – The profile photo is the square image 180×180 that appears to the lower left side of the big cover image. Make sure it is optimized for that square size. It could be your logo, or a special social media icon for your business that looks good in a square format.
- Pin important posts – Facebook allows you to “pin” posts at the top of the page, right below the cover image. This is excellent if you want to highlight something special, such as a contest you are running. That way, as new items are posted, the pinned post stays at the top where it will be sure to be seen by visitors.
- Highlight posts – In addition to pinning a post, you can highlight a post. This means that the post expands to the full width of the page, and increases the size of the update. This is good to call attention to something more important.
- Use rich media – Photographs and videos get a lot of attention on Facebook. If you’re not using these forms of content, make it a goal to start doing so. Take photos of your team and your office. Next time you attend a conference or trade show, be sure to take photos or videos. If you create an infographic for your business, be sure to include it as an image. Expand your horizons beyond simply text.
For more advice about how to leverage Facebook for your business, check out the free ebook “Tips for a Pain-free Transition” (PDF) from Munish Gandhi, CEO of Hy.ly.
About the Author
I run online communities and information websites reaching over 2 Million small business owners, stakeholders and entrepreneurs annually, including Small Business Trends, a daily publication about small business issues, and BizSugar.com, a small business social media site.
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