Facebook Pages Move to Timeline March 31, 2012

Millions of users have updated their personal Facebook page with the new Timeline feature. Since moving to it I have to admit it’s a great way to capture your life story. Not only does it capture what you’ve been up to lately, but now you can document and record events since the day you were born – andbeyond!

If you have a Facebook business page, the new Facebook for Pages officially rolls out March 31, 2012. That means any business that currently has a Facebook business page should be ready to roll out a new banner and take advantage of all the latest features. Below is a list of some of the good, bad and not so bad aspects of moving to the new Facebook for Pages redesign.

The Good
Many businesses will appreciate the ability to express their brand more visually and in a storytelling format that is more consistent to what users are familiar with on their personal Facebook profile.

Businesses will now be able to pin a post they want to highlight to the top of their feed for 1 week. To keep that post front and center it can be re-pinned weekly to gain more traction. Fans of your business page can now click on the message button which sits to the right just below your new banner. Unlike a wall post from a fan this allows them to contact you privately. The new design is more compelling to viewers and should engage your fans on a deeper and more emotional level. The new format is more about storytelling, enabling a company to provide a rich, meaningful dialog with their fans. Businesses will be now able to upload a larger banner for their business and a separate logo. Below I have included several links for free Facebook Timeline templates that small businesses can use. Facebook has said that existing APIs will remain intact. There is a new Admin panel to manage your business page similar to what you had before. The Insights section provides a richer amount of information about your business page and how well you are engaging your customers.

The Bad
Let’s face it. Many people and companies just don’t like change. Users have gone through a number of iterations of their Facebook interface and despite user protests, change hasn’t stopped Facebook’s phenomenal growth. Today nearly 50% of the population in the U.S. have a Facebook account. Change – get used to it .
No more welcome tab. The biggest con of the new Timeline for Facebook is the loss of a default landing page. Today many business rely on a default welcome tab that users must see upon their first visit to a business page. In order to download a free coupon or enter a contest, a viewer had to “like” the page. With the new Timeline for pages, that feature is gone. Message boards are filled with complaints about this issue. Businesses can no longer force fans to “like” their page to view content. Administrators for pages will now have to drive traffic with frequent, interesting news and ensure they pin the most compelling article to the top of the page for it to gain traction. The new Pages visually changes the experience from marketing and selling to storytelling. The look and feel is absolutely more eye appealing but at the potential loss of marketing goals.
All businesses must move to the new Timeline format after 30 days of curation. That means like it or not, on March 31, 2012, your business page will move to this new format.

The Not so Bad
Users have become used to their own personal Timeline for Facebook. That alone will make it intuitive to work with business pages.
The need for a separate business website may be a thing of the past. With a richer visual experience, a company website becomes redundant. Customers will experience a stronger relationship with a brand – as long as the page is maintained and up-to-date.

Here are the things all businesses should be doing for their Facebook business page
Be sure to become familiar with what’s new with Facebook Pages. NOTE: Landing pages such as a WELCOME tab are gone with this new feature. Here’s a good article about that, and what you may or may not lose from this change. Review all of your business info. If your website, email address, physical mailing address changed, be sure you update as needed. Test all of your links before publishing. I was checking someone else’s page the other day and several of their links had typos. It’s not professional to have broken links. Be sure to customize your Facebook URL. I’m surprised by the number of businesses that don’t realize they can create a custom URL for their Facebook page. It looks much more professional and is easier to include on business cards. Here’s a link with directions on “How to Create a Vanity or Custom URL for your Facebook Page .”
Small businesses can benefit from the following sites for FREE timeline templates (good for either a personal page or business page). Get your Facebook business page ready now, so it is up and running before the March 31, 2012 deadline.
Florabella Facebook Page MCP Actions
Coffee Shop Blog

Do you have more Facebook tips and tricks for your business?

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