The Timeline for Personal Profiles
This was me in December last year when we were given the preview of Timelines on our personal profiles…
I spent about 30 minutes tidying up my timeline, grumbling about not wanting to go onto a timeline view and wondering what cover picture to use.
Three months later and I’m still not a fan of timelines for my personal use, so when the news broke that Pages would also move to a Timeline design at the end of March I expected to feel a similar negative reaction…which hasn’t happened!
The Timeline for Pages, due 30th March
With only having a custom tab and the five photos at the top of the newsfeed, Facebook Pages have been looking rather sparse and not engaging when you compare them to personal profiles so this new design will let organisations improve the level of branding to reinforce/express their identity. There is more explicit personalisation shown on the page as individuals can see their friends who also like the page and related friend activity.
The new admin panel is very straightforward and user friendly, and there’s even a new section for messages from your Readers. I’m curious as to why Facebook are introducing messaging (although Pages can only message once they’ve been messaged) as the focus was previously on using news feeds and applications, but I think messaging is a good thing.
This change does mean some initial work for Page admins, so make sure you allocate some time this week or at the latest next week to start to preview your page and work through:
- sourcing a new cover image (or images to rotate over the months ahead). There is a point of caution here, Facebook are being strict in what is/is not allowed here to make sure you read the guidance notes and check out the updated Guidelines,
- resizing the page profile pic,
- deciding if you want custom images for applications,
- checking the Page timeline, looking at possible featured posts or milestones that you want to create, you want to get all these points ready before your page is automatically transferred to the new design on the 30th March.
Guides to getting your Page Timeline ready
With all things Facebook there are numerous blog posts out on the internet commenting on the changes, offering opinions and guides. I’ve had the opportunity to read through several as I’ve been prepping our Web Analytics World Page, and wanted to highlight the ones I’ve found most helpful.
- Facebook pages – grab a coffee and spend just over 3 minutes getting an initial overview on the new design and top level features.
- I spotted this one via Social Media Examiner, it’s from www.dreamgrow.com and is an excellent checklist to work through in order to get your Page ready. Although I’ll be moving the “publish” step to the very end of the process.
Mari Smith has gone into more detail this week with a 21 key point article and a great screenshot packed with explaining notes about each section on your new page.
Will the design increase Page engagement?
In February Mashable quoted Gokul Rajaram, Facebook’s Product Director for Ads as saying “The goal is to make Pages more engaging and more social,” and I think the new design achieves that. I don’t see every page gaining an increase in reach purely because of the design change, but more because pages have spent time on making innovative designs for their cover picture or have uploaded interesting content in their Timeline.
I’m not so happy about the Timeline filters. Facebook seems determined to do away with displaying every post by chronological order and keeps forcing us to use filtered views, but it’s early days for this new design so there is bound to be future tweaks and I’m keeping hopeful that they’ll provide an “everyone” view in the future.
So I’m viewing this as an opportunity to freshen up our page, focus on our updated video tab and look forward to getting feedback from our Facebook readers.