Timelines Are Coming to Facebook Pages This Month: Are You Ready?

All Facebook Pages, including your company’s, will be updated with the new Facebook Timeline layout by the end of March. An update may be needed to make sure your Page looks and performs correctly.

The Facebook Timeline is an extension of the original Facebook layout that offers new features and a new look, but could also change your Facebook Page unexpectedly.

For more on Facebook Timeline, visit Facebook’s information page.

Individuals have had access to Timeline for months on their personal accounts, but it wasn’t until earlier this month that Facebook introduced Timeline for Pages. Facebook wants organizations to switch to the Timeline layout and all Pages will be automatically changed to the Timeline layout by March 30, 2012.

Unless you prepare for the switch, there’s no knowing what your Facebook Page will look like when it switches to the Timeline format. In this post, we provide an outline of some of the major changes due to the switch to Facebook Timeline.

Landing pages

Kobayashi Online’s Facebook page before Timeline:

After Timeline:

One important change is that people will always see the timeline view of your Page when they visit it. You can no longer choose to have a specific tab be the default page you see when you land on a Facebook Page. You will, for instance, no longer be able to automatically have visitors land on a fangate tab when they visit your page. Fangate apps keep special content off-limits until people “like” the Page. You will no longer have the option to set this as the default for first time visitors.

But there are ways around this.

You can still link directly to a tab, app or fangate instead of linking to your page if you send people there from another webpage, an email blast or Facebook ad. To do this, go to your desired tab on your Page, copy the URL in your browser’s address bar, and use this when you create links to this tab. The URL is quite long, so you may want to simplify things on your advertising by forwarding a simple URL that you control such as our www.kobayashi.ca/facebook, or using a URL shortening service such as bit.ly.

Users who find your page by searching, can always click on an app to get to your fangate, but only three apps will be immediately visible in the Timeline layout, so any more than that will require users to scroll through them.

Header Images

The next key change is that pages now allow you to use a nice large header image also known as a “cover” — Facebook recommends 851 by 315 pixels in size. Any smaller than this, and the image could appear blurry or pixelated.

Aside from the resolution of this cover image, there are also some conditions which are relevant to businesses who want a presence on Facebook. For instance, you must not publish price or purchase information (ie. such as “40% off” or “Get it now at our site”), contact information, requests to Like or Share, and calls to action like “Buy it now” or “Tell your friends”.

Changes to Apps

Facebook Timeline also enables apps to take up the entire width of the Page, which is consistent with the Timeline layout. Newer facebook apps could take advantage of the new layout space available to create more immersive and compelling experiences.

The downside of the larger app area is that many existing fangate apps could look wrong . However, they can often be redesigned to work with the new page layout by at least centering them and adding a background.

Page admins can get a preview of timeline view when visiting their page. Here you can make edits in a “test” mode that only they can see. This lets you customize the page, make design changes, and upload a header image, all before revealing it to the public. Make sure that you’re happy with the way your page looks before publishing the page.

The Timeline view will be rolled out on all Facebook Pages by March 30th, so it’s best to have your Page customized before the change goes into effect or else you won’t get the impact you want from your Page.

If you have a fangate that you would like Kobayashi Online to update, call us and we can work out the details. If you have a page that now needs some design elements such as a new large header image, please let us know what we can do for you.