GET READY: Facebook Is Rolling Out The Timeline For Fan Pages

steve jobs timeline

Photo: Screenshot

Facebook is expected to announce the rollout of the Timeline design for fan pages today. So what does your business need to do to prepare for the new design?  Think visuals.Brands should be translating their key messages into visual images now.

The cover photo opportunity, which we’ve now all seen on Facebook personal profiles, is a beautiful billboard. At 852 pixels wide by 315 pixels high, this real estate can be used to convey a lot of information about a business. And because Facebook makes it easy to change your cover photo, having a cover photo strategy might mean creating multiple versions of your cover photo and changing it regularly.

The cover photo is certainly the largest, most obvious new opportunity for business pages, but keep in mind that if Timeline for business pages mirrors Timeline for profiles, the scrapbook feel of the page will give links, videos and uploaded images a more prominent place in your overall marketing strategy.  Creating images that entice fans to press like, or even share, means watermarking or adding your website or attribute to the visuals so that three shares down the road, the new viewer will subtly invited back to your business home base through an imprinted url.

Hosting your cover photo images and your brand visuals on your website is a way to make those images work harder for you. Besides sharing them through your Facebook fan page, you’ll be able to pin, tumble, e-mail and tweet your watermarked “mini advertisements.” Unlike cover photos on profiles, like the one I’m currently using, the fan page cover photo can and probably should, clearly help the viewer understand the brand offering at first glance.

But, keep in mind that most people are not clamoring to share or pin advertisements. Brands will have to work a little harder to create visuals that inspire, humour, teach, or surprise. Those are the visuals that fly through the web from person to person.

Advice to brands?

  1. Make friends with a great graphics person and let them help you translate your message into share-worthy graphics that leave breadcrumbs back to your website or Facebook fan page.
  2. Create a cover photo strategy that mirrors your brand or product delivery cycle.
  3. Watermark your images so wherever they land, people have a way to connect with you.
  4. Think inspire over advertise when creating images.
  5. Let Facebook inspire you to be think visually across other consumer facing platforms.

Let’s share our favourite Facebook Timeline photos here to inspire one another. I like photos that tell me more about the person without hardcore advertising.  I’ll start with a couple of examples and I invite you to add your favourites.

  • Nannette Bosh
  • Hugh Briss
  • Gary Vaynerchuk
  • Tara-Jenelle Walsch
  • Kathy L. Patrick

I’ll be listening to the livestream announcements today, as will others. Outstanding questions include:

  • Will fan pages still have the option to set a default landing page?
  • Will fan pages still have the ability to add custom tabs?
  • How will the new design affect social e-commerce, contests, and opt in offers?

Do you have questions or concerns about Timeline rolling out to fan pages? Let me know and I’ll report back from the LiveStream.

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