How To Master Facebook Timeline for Pages [Tips, Tricks, Sizes and Ideas]
Like it or not but your Page is forced to adapt once again to a new layout – Facebook Timeline. It might take you some time to get used to it and this post is all about removing the confusion and helping you towards some clarity and peace. Disclaimer: this is a really (AND I DO MEAN REALLY) long post so bear with me on this one.
If you’re just setting up, here’s a brief checklist of what you need to do:
- Read the cover photo guidelines by Facebook.
- Design a cover photo and a profile picture.
- Clean out and edit your Page settings. There are new settings such as private messaging, settings that local businesses can leverage, etc.
- Rearrange Page applications and remove dead-weight.
- Invite your friends and email contacts to like your Page.
- Re-visit your content and social media strategy with the new features in mind.
- Figure out important milestones for your company such as when was your company founded or when did you launch that exciting new product of yours.
- Design relevant pictures for your milestones.
- Pin a post to the top.
Cover photo rules
Cover photo (also known as cover image) is the main focus of attention when visiting your Page. Therefore you must make it eye-catching and appealing to your target audience. Additionally, there are some fixed guidelines set by Facebook. Your cover photo must not contain:
- NO SALE – Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”
- NO CONTACT INFORMATION such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section.
- NO REFERENCE TO FACEBOOK FEATURES such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features
- NO CALLS TO ACTION such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”
If all else fails, here’s a visual guideline (courtesy of SocialBakers)
Facebook cover photo sizes
Design your cover photo with the following sizes in mind:
Ideas for cover photos
As the cover photo is the main focus when someone visits your Page, use something that gains attention and makes the visitors eyes pop out. Here are some cover photo examples from the early adopters.
Update: Be sure to read our post about 23 cool examples of Facebook Page cover photos
- Make your cover photo and profile picture in the same style or integrate them with eachother
- Make a photo collage of your best products
- Use featured content that’s provided by your fans. Ask for comments, recommendations etc. Prompt your fans to the exclusive chance to be featured on your Timeline. Additionally, this could be a really cool check-in made by one of your fans or something that was posted on your wall.
- Feature a ‘fan of the month’ with their name and profile picture.
- Feature your office.
- Feature your point of sale. If you’re a restaurant, local retailer or similar, it might be a great idea to feature a place that creates a sense of familiarity.
- Feature your team/workers/mascot/employee of the month.
- Feature a customer of the month.
This is just enough to get your creative juices flowing. Possibilities are endless. Just make sure you stick to the guideline. PS! There are always those Pages who will deliberately or unknowingly break the rules. Going against the rules means you’re taking risks. Be advised. For more detailed information about cover photo design, read Copyblogger’s Facebook Timeline Cover Image Guide.
Profile pictures are now a lot smaller and you will have to accept that. Facebook allows 180*180 px pictures that are automatically scaled down to 125*125 px. Your picture will again be scaled down to 32*32 px in order to make the mini-icon that’s displayed on your timeline posts.
The best bet is to user your logo. It’s up to you if you want to integrate the cover photo and profile picture into visual or not. Here are some great examples of timeline cover photo usage.
With Timeline, there are some new settings that you should configure. Go to your Page, click on ‘manage’ and ‘edit’ page.
- Posting abilities. Toggle if fans can post on your Page’s timeline.
- Private messaging abilities. I would leave it on unless you get a lot of spam/noise which you cannot control or don’t have the resources to handle. In that case, it might be wise to hook your fans up with a customer support application.
- Local businesses can now add their opening hours and phone numbers to be displayed directly under your profile picture. The opening hours are interactive which means that if the user visits your page when your business is closed, it will tell the user so.
Landing pages gone, applications remain
The fact that there are no more default landing pages is quite disturbing. Businesses are limited how the first interaction between a potential fan and the Page is like. However, applications are still useful for running sweepstakes competitions and providing extra value to your fans through customized apps.
The fact that default landing pages are gone, makes your cover photo extremely important! The first impression must be likeable.
- Host a sweepstakes competition, where users have to answer/do X in order to participate and win prizes that are related to your business.
- Make an app that allows users to sign up for your newsletter from your Page.
- Application that automatically displays lates/all of your blog feed.
- Coupons/special offers application. Users have to like your brand to redeem a special coupon.
- Customer support application (meant for bigger brands). Make an application where fans can contact customer support from your Page. Additionally, you can put Frequently Asked Questions there and make the application feed real time. It’s a lot less cluster to have all of the questions featured in a centralized place, rather than scattered around your Timeline. Moreover, centralized is better for your customer support.
- Products/services application (and make a special discount if the goal is to drive sales) that displays your top products/services. If you have a really popular product, consider making an application dedicated just for that single product.
Rearranging custom applications
Your Page is now limited to the amount of public custom applications. The limit is three rows of four. One row, that is displayed by default and two rows that users see when they expand your application section.
What to do:
- Swap your custom applications with each other. Make the most important applications displayed by default.
- Remove all dead-weight applications that are no longer useful or have stopped running. This includes ‘welcome pages’. They are gone. Accept it and move on!
- Make application thumbnails stick out so that your fans have no trouble noticing their existance. The new measurements for application thumbnails are 111*74 px.
Your Page can now add important milestones for your business and add them to your Timeline. Figure out which ones are important for your business. Don’t go over board because it will only create too much noise. No-one has the time to go through your 100 milestones. Sorry.
What to do:
- Figure out your milestones that are important enough for sharing with your fans. When was your company founded, product line launched, a merger, moved offices, hired a new CEO, etc.
- Provide a brief story to go with your milestone. Stick to only a few sentences. Make it interesting to read. For your founded date, provide a backstory such as that creates a suitable atmosphere for whoever is reading it.
- Design a milestone photo that’s related to the event. Sizes: 843*403 px.
- Add a location.
Expand a story on your Page
Also known as ‘starred story’. A starred story is twice in width as a regular story and this is used to highlight a post (picture, link, etc) that is really important.
Also known as ‘featured post’. Pinned posts are ‘sticky’ posts that are glued to the top left side of your Page, acting as the first post that users will notice. The requirement is that the post is no older than 7 days. Always have a pinned post. Pick the most important piece of content to be featured there.
Facebook doesn’t automatically resize the photos you post, this is also true for pinned posts. However, Facebook lets you reposition your photo. The visible photo space is 403*403 px.
Facebook now allows you to invite people you know to like your Page. You can:
- Invite your Facebook friends to like your Page.
- Invite your contacts from various instant messenger applications such as Skype, Windows Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger.
- Invite your contacts from a .csv file.
- Share your Page (creates a story on your personal wall).
To invite your contacts, click on the ‘Build Audience’ button on your admin panel.
Page private messaging
Fans can now send direct messages to your Page. Assuming you have it turned on from the settings of course (go to ‘edit page’ – ‘manage permissions’ – ‘show Message button on your Page’).
This is a great way to privately chat with your engaged audience. Someone might have a personal question and is too shy to call your customer support number so they might send you a message instead. Be aware that responding to every message could be time consuming and distracting.
Here’s the full cheat-sheet of Facebook related sizes.
Original image credit: lurker4hire
Posted on: March 29, 2012
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