New Facebook Timelines for Business – nightmare or a blessing?

There has been an awful lot of chatter in various circles about new timelines release for business pages.  Some people are cursing at the changes (literally), others are taking it all in stride.  In the spirit of perpetually testing new shiny things, we threw up our new cover last night, which will quite possibly be replaced many times in the next few months.

Our New Facebook Cover

Being able to drastically change such a large piece of real estate is appealing enough in its own right, and of course it helps to have this much space to put across a message of some kind.

[if you are wondering, the space you have is precisely: 849 px X 313 px].

A few other positives, at first glance:

  • Ability to message the page admin directly from within the page is a really cool feature.  No need to hunt for info through the about page.
  • Ability to pin a particular story to the top of the timeline, where it will stay for 7 days.  Yep, that’s pretty darn nifty, if you ask me.  Use that space wisely, peeps.  Last thing you want to do is pin a listing to that space.  Find something worthwhile or don’t pin, and let nature take its course (in case of FB timelines, nature = chronology+interactions)
  • Twitter tab – theoretically, looks like a positive. So far we can’t figure out how to connect this tab to corporate instead of personal twitter accounts though.
  • Ability to highlight or hide a post or a story from the timeline (yep, same as what we are now accustomed to on our personal timelines).
  • Rules with respect to Timeline cover image.  A lot of complaints about this one, but for what it’s worth, I think this is long overdue.  Whether or not Facebook will be able to enforce their new rules remains to be seen, but I like the direction and the not so subtle message to brands and businesses that Facebook is for interaction first, selling last if at all.

[Here are those rules, if you are curious:

Covers may not contain:

  • Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”
  • Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section
  • References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features
  • Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”]

Negatives:

  • Messaging function through business pages needs to be fixed.  As it stands right now, the only way for an admin of the page to know that someone messaged them through the page is to login as that Page and then they’ll see notifications.  This makes dm’ing through business pages not at all real time.  I get the logistical issues associated with notifications for pages (considering so many pages have multiple admins), but they should really consider giving us the ability to set a default admin for the purposes of these notices and not require us to change how we are logged in to Facebook to see these messages.

Other than that, I can’t think of any, other than possibly the impact on people who specialized in developing those custom landing tabs.  Facebook with these changes to business pages is taking control of what a person lands on away from marketers.  No more of those default landing tabs for visitors, or reveal tabs, or whatever euphemism you want to use to describe them.  Anyone visiting your  Facebook business page after March 31st will land on your timeline by default, whether they liked your page or not.

Those tabs you may have had are not gone though, just relocated to top right, directly under your cover photo, and now may be as good a time as any to rename those, if it makes sense to do so.

All in all, I think this a step in the right direction.  Use the enormous amount of space you were granted wisely, and then use Facebook for interacting with your clients and prospects.  Start conversations.  Engage your audience, and pay it forward any chance you get.  And if you must sell – buy some Facebook ads and target intelligently.  It’s that simple, and I can’t wait to see how this unfolds.

What are your thoughts?

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4 Responses to New Facebook Timelines for Business – nightmare or a blessing?
  1. Teri Conrad
    March 1, 2012 | 11:31 pm

    I’m loving it…think we’re moving in the right direction. Thanks for the tips Inna! 🙂

  2. Teri Conrad
    March 1, 2012 | 11:31 pm

    I’m loving it…thing we’re moving in the right direction. Thanks for the tips Inna! 🙂

  3. Ricardo Bueno
    March 1, 2012 | 4:51 pm

    Thanks for the tips on what type of info covers CAN’T contain – that’s really useful.

    So far, I’m really digging the layout to be honest. Just have to make smart use of all of the features (as with anything really).

    • Inna Hardison
      March 4, 2012 | 2:14 pm

      Ricardo – no problem:-) I am happy with this direction, truly. I hope people heed the new rules and start actually engaging their audience on FB. Sick of the optin forms and other inducements from businesses and brands on FB.

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