A Guide To New Facebook For Busy Social Media Marketers

Starbucks Facebook Timeline

What the Facebook Timeline Updates Mean for your Startup
Oh dear!  Another thing to add to your to-do list for the month of March.  Just when you thought you were ahead of the game this quarter.  Facebook announces a new layout for brand pages.  Now what?!

If you haven’t heard, the new timeline feature will be rolled out at the end of this month.  The layout will be similar to the timeline changes Facebook released for personal profiles.  Since Facebook announced this news, several social media thought leaders have been weighing in with their two cents.  In this post I will share the key points busy B2B marketers need to know before March 30.

First off, take a peek at Facebook’s official guide to the new timeline to familiarise yourself with the updates.  If you have played around with the timeline on your personal account you will notice a few similarities (for example a large cover image, improved view of apps and likes, milestones, and larger image display).  Now you are ready to get started!

Last week I received a great email from our friends at Convince and Convert.  The team assembled a quick 8 step overview to the new Facebook that needs to be public, so here it is:

  1. Don’t panic
  2. Don’t turn on Timeline just yet. Let the dust settle, as Facebook is likely to tweak it a bit based on public reaction. Shoot for third week of March.
  3. Select and add your Cover Image
  4. Be thinking about your editorial calendar for Pinned Posts
  5. Be thinking about photos and videos, and Timeline is going to make visuals far more important
  6. Decide which 2 of your existing (or new) tabs/apps you’re going to want to feature. Make sure you have visuals for them. Maybe make them wider, if you have time.
  7. Re-write your Info content to fit the new About format
  8. Be thinking about your historical content (especially photos) and how you can incorporate it in Milestones. If you have stuff ready, start uploading it.

Additional resources:

  • How to Use Facebook Timeline for Brand Pages – In this post on TechCrunch, blogger Josh Constantine dissects the major components of the timeline and provides specific how to instructions and sizes of images.
  • Facebook Timeline For Brands: It’s About Storytelling – In this post on Forbes, staff writer Eric Savitz shares connects the update to storytelling (and content marketing).
  • Facebook Timeline for Brands: 10 Things to Get Right – In this Social Media Examiner post offers a great overview of the 10 things not to overlook.

Here are some examples of live brand pages with the new timeline layout:

  • Mashable
  • Manchester United
  • Hubspot
  • Ford
  • VentureFizz

My take:
While I understand that there are certainly limitations (see Jay Baer’s rant on the 14 Ways the New Facebook Betrays Small Businesses) I am excited to explore the new platform in order to see how it can be used to communicate a brand’s story and humanize companies.  It is going to change Facebook pages into becoming more visually oriented, and I like the fact that there is more control over what is displayed.  I recommend starting to play around with the new layout before rolling it out.  At least that is what I plan on doing for the next week or so!

So what do you think of the new Facebook?
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