We saw a hint of the future last year when Facebook introduced the Timeline format for personal accounts. Some loved it, some complained, but eventually everyone was moved over to the new design.
For business pages, however, the old format lingered for a while. Companies waited to see if their pages were going to be converted to match the look of personal pages, and some even started preparing a new design for the Timeline banner layout.
The wait is now over – businesses and brands will indeed need to start switching over to the new format, and as of April 1, any businesses that have not already switched will have their accounts automatically converted. So what does this mean for you as a business page owner and marketer?
Better communication. Previously, businesses pages did not have the capacity to send private messages to fans and customers on Facebook, but that’s changing. With the new design, you can use your business page in the same way that you’d use your personal account, and send messages in private when necessary.
Better branding. The banner format is, simply put, a beautiful design. It allows an impressive amount of real estate at the top of the page for a logo or other image that represents your brand. There are restrictions, however – Facebook terms of service do not allow for you to post your contact information or promos in the banner image, for example.
More control. With the previous design, older content automatically got pushed further and further down the page, and buried under more recent content. With the Timeline format, you can select certain pieces of content to be “sticky” and remain at the top of your Timeline for as long as you want. This is great if you’re running some kind of promotion that you want highly visible at all times.
Fewer featured tabs. In the past, you could feature however many custom tabs you wanted. With the Timeline design, only four tabs are featured, and the photos tab is mandatory, so you only have three tabs to work with for custom featured content. However, this can work in your favor, forcing you to simplify and prioritize which content is most essential to your marketing strategy.
No landing page options. That default landing page you designed to funnel more fans in and encourage Likes? You won’t be able to use that anymore. With the new design, everyone has to use the standard Facebook landing page, so you’ll need to concentrate on making your banner and featured content as compelling as possible.
So there’s an overview of the changes that will affect your Facebook pages, but if you’re not happy about everything, don’t worry – if there’s one thing we’ve learned from experience, it’s that no matter how many times Facebook changes, there will always be a way to turn it to your advantage. Do you have any stories to share about how you’ve used past changes to build your business or grow your pages?