As I’ve said many times on this blog and directly to our clients, just when you get used to something on Facebook, it will be changed.
This isn’t meant as a criticism, necessarily – technology improves and changes, and it’s important for us to learn to adapt and use that technology to grow our small businesses. Rather, this is simply an observation regarding how life with Facebook is, and a warning not to get too comfortable.
The latest changes in the Facebook world revolves around that most proprietary feature, the personal profile that has now been changed and renamed to the Facebook Timeline.
The Facebook Timeline
The Timeline feature has been slowly rolled out over several months, giving Facebook participants plenty of time to explore and adjust to the idea. As opposed to previous notable changes Facebook has made and people’s reactions to them, Facebook took some time and finesse to make users aware that the Timeline feature was coming and to convince us all that this change is really a good thing.
However, for those who don’t use Facebook regularly or are just getting started, this feature might seem a little overwhelming. Once you get the hang of it, though, the Timeline is pretty easy to navigate and offers users more ways to interact with this social media community.
Facebook Timeline Features
Remember those timelines you created when you were in school, highlighting important people and events over time? Well, the Facebook Timeline is simply the same idea, just with your own life or business – consider it an All About Me autobiographical project.
1. Cover– this is a large photo that appears slightly above your profile picture in the center of the Facebook page. Cover photos are public and resemble slideshow photos you see on the Homepage of many websites. They must be a minimum of 399 pixels wide, cannot contain a call to action, and must follow certain Facebook guidelines.
2. Views – underneath the Cover photo and profile picture, there’s a section that highlights thumbnails that can include basic information, photos, likes, apps, welcome tabs like “join email list” and more.
3. Admin Panel – this essential piece of Facebook administration is located in the top right corner where you now go to monitor and evaluate your Facebook business page insights, manage your Facebook business page, and make adjustments to information about your small business.
4. Profile Picture – this feature is essentially the same, but can now be used to complement the cover photo.
Using Facebook Timeline Features
There are many ways for small businesses to take advantage of these new Facebook features. Probably the most important is to take some time and explore the new Admin panel. Click on the link on the top right of your Facebook business page to open the Admin section. Click Manage to edit the page and make necessary adjustments.
Change Cover Photos and Profile Pictures – Hover over the bottom right corner of the Cover photo to see “change cover” in order to change or adjust the photo that’s displayed. There are several examples out there of creative cover photos for the Facebook Timeline that are quite entertaining but still fit the guidelines. Keep in mind that the photo should be landscape and a minimum of 399 pixels wide to fit well in this space. The optimal size for your cover image is 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels high. Choose artwork that fits this “panoramic” space well for best results. Be sure to read Facebook’s Cover Photo FAQs for more information about what is and isn’t appropriate!
Add Company Milestone – In addition to posting status updates and wall photos, you can use this feature to add a significant event in the life of your small business to the Timeline of your business page.
Star or Hide Feature – Highlight what’s important on your page by hovering over and clicking the star icon to expand it to widescreen. You can also hide or delete a post you no longer want to appear by clicking the pencil icon.
Add Experiences – Click anywhere on your timeline on the right (next to the Admin link) to add updates, photos and stories about the places you visit.
These changes might seem overwhelming, and they certainly aren’t the last that Facebook will ever make. However, a little time to explore these changes will help them be a more manageable part of running your business Facebook page!