Facebook Timeline for Pages: The Silver Lining

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by Steve Holt on March 14, 2012

When the Timeline for Pages rolled out last week in Facebook, my initial reaction was joy, followed very quickly by a feeling of depression after I started to discover numerous things that were missing or changed from the previous layout. After living with the new layout for a week, I am starting to soften a little bit and find myself coming to embrace some of the better features. I wanted to share with you in this post the things that I think are wonderful opportunities for businesses to be ‘awesome’ in Facebook. The ‘silver lining’, if you will.

1. Cover Photo – the most exciting thing that I like about Timeline is the cover photo. This is the large photo at the top of the page that allows you to get real creative with the first thing that fans see. There are restrictions to what can appear there, and I am still shaking my head because some of them are bone-headed, but there you go. The key here is to finding a photo of your products, your facilities, your customers, or something similar, to really provide a ‘wow’ factor when they first see your page.

2. Milestones – Milestones allow you to specify important moments in your company’s history, such as the day you were founded, important product launches, or any other key moment. The Milestone takes up the entire width of the Timeline and graphically stands out from the rest of the Timeline posts. It also allows you to tell a little more of your story so your fans get to know you a little more.

3. Pinned posts – In the previous page layout, wall posts would eventually disappear off the screen as time went on. And page visitors don’t take the time to scroll and scroll to see everything that has happened for months and months. So being able to ‘pin’ a post to the top of your wall (albeit for only 7 days) gives you the chance to feature some content that you want to show off. This is awesome.

4. App buttons – Now below the cover photo you will find rectangle buttons that feature any apps that you have on your page. The first button is fixed (Photos) so you have 3 buttons that you can pick what goes there, and you can design your own custom button as well and include any calls-to-action that you want. You can have up to 12 apps on your page, although only 4 show initially. I don’t like that, but there’s nothing we can do about it except to pick our 3 favorite apps and feature those next to the Photos app. Good news is that you can swap out the buttons for any of the other 8 apps, which I do suggest to keep it interesting.

5. Highlighted posts – The final feature I will mention is being able to ‘highlight’ a post. This will expand the post the full width of the Timeline and graphically features (or ‘highlights’) anything you want. I recommend using this feature for pictures and videos, which people love to see.

Despite the restrictions of the Timeline layout, some of which I am still very much unhappy with, the positives of the Timeline layout can’t be overlooked. We are all going to have to live with the Timeline layout, so we might as well all embrace it and focus on the positive rather than the negative. But I still reserve the right to bellyache. I don’t totally want to give that up!

So what do you think about the new Timeline for Pages? I would love to hear what you have to say in the comments below.

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