Thursday, March 29, 2012

Facebook Timeline: 5 Things You Need to Know

Facebook is converting all Business brand pages to the 'Timeline' format by the end of this month, March 2012. (Although, some say it may change this Friday! 30th March 2012)

The new timeline feature from Facebook has gone through thorough inspection and scrutiny. Lots of raving comments, good, bad and unspeakable, have occurred. Many welcome the change whereas some dislike every aspect of it; there are also some who have shifted to timeline accidentally and are left perplexed (it cannot be undone). Converting your profile to 'timeline' can be easily done, all you need is a single click.

I personally welcome the 'timeline' and find the change rather interesting. There are many personal profiles as well as business brands that have already transitioned to the new 'timeline'. Eg: Red Bull, Burberry, Ubuntu etc.

The main reason it has attracted many criticism is because of its 'confusing' attributes. The 'timeline' needs a little getting used to. There are many new aspects that need tinkering with and also managing and locating certain known features can be a little time consuming. One does need to spend some time to learn  what the 'timeline' is and how it portrays itself. 

The best way to go about maybe through experimental learning but not everyone has time for that.  Lack of time, happens to the best of us. 

Below, I have listed the main features and what you need to know of the new 'Timeline'. I have cut through most of the nonsense and kept it as brief and up to the point.

1. The Cover Photo.

First things first. the moment you open the page, this is what catches you, a very creative 'aesthetic' factor of the new profile.  

It is very important you keep the cover photo accordingly to its size, 850 x 315 pixels in dimension, get full force of the brand you depict. 

And then there is this square area insert the cover photo where the profile picture is displayed. For brands this may be the location to put its Brand Logo.

A major point to note is the conditions that are set regarding the cover photo (for businesses). These are the things that are NOT to be displayed :
  • Price/Discount/purchase/product information. Eg: you cannot display a 'download for free' ad as a cover photo.
  • Words that provoke action, eg: "click this link " or "Spread the news" or "download now!"
  • References to elements such as 'Like our Page!' and other profile features. 
  • Any type of Contact Information
Facebook is rather strict with these rules even though they may seem very anti-marketing and anti-promotional

NOTE: you should also be aware that the facebook landing page has been removed.

2.  Changes in the 'About' Section.

There are now two ways in which you can showcase the 'about' section, either by

- Physical location


- A mini Introduction

These two examples are only of the initial views, a fan/customer can view more details about the brand by clicking the 'about' button located below the introduction.

3. Profile Links Featured more Prominently.

The application boxes on that used to be on the side bar  is now located on more prominently on right below the cover photo.

You can also see, from the above picture, the time-stamps. These help the viewer go to a certain time frame and see the posts and events that have taken place then. An excellent feature aiding 'research' I must say!

4. Pin a post for 7 days.

With the new timeline you can pin a post/page to the top of the timeline for up to 7days. These posts will have a bookmark like addition to the corner of the post. (pic below)

5. Highlights and Milestones

Highlights is one of the options of how you can chose to view the page. It is also the default manner in which the page is displayed.

You can select the way you want to view the page by clicking the 'highlights' button that is located below your cover photos and page links. 

Milestones is a feature that helps add information of certain key points in time/milestones of your brand/business. This can be done exactly the way you would update your status.

Here is a view of an actual milestone on the Lexus page : 

And that is all for now. 

These are the main features you must keep in mind while updating to the new timeline. How you want to play with them, that's all up to you. I find this Timeline feature more interesting than redundant. Especially for a Business use.

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