Changes are coming to Facebook this weekend that will have a major effect on businesses’ brand pages. The Timeline that is now the norm for individuals’ profile pages will be rolled out to business pages on March 30.
Travel agency and other business owners who haven’t prepared for the changes could wake up on Saturday morning to find that logos no longer fit, images are distorted and the page simply doesn’t look very good, according to Julie Wingerter, vice president of marketing at Pangea Media, a social media specialist.
“We expect that a lot of small to medium-size businesses have procrastinated,” she said.
Easy fixes to make right now
But even if they have, they shouldn’t panic: There are some short-term fixes to get through the weekend unscathed, Wingerter said.
The most important is to select a cover photo – the large background image that sets the mood for the page. Ideally, the photo should be 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall. If it is smaller, it will be stretched to the larger size. At the least, the photo must be 399 pixels wide.
These and other specifications can be found on the “Customizing How Your Page Looks” section of the Facebook Help Center.
The profile picture – a company logo or other visual that is used to identify the business – should also be previewed to ensure that it still fits into the space allotted without distortion.
Rethink content strategy
“As a result of visual changes, there will be a lot more emphasis on interaction and interactive content,” Wingerter said.
So in the longer term, “you need to invest in an actual content strategy,” she said. Agents should decide, “Here’s how I’m going to interact with individuals who ‘like’ my page, and how often I’m going to post.”
Changes to news feed
“The news feed is no longer chronological,” Wingerter said. Instead, posts that attract the most interaction will be at the top of the lineup. Facebook uses Edgerank, an algorithm that calculates where a post appears in the news feed, she said.
If chronology is important to the content, “you can reorder the news feed,” she said.
New ‘favorites’ tab
Another major change is that tabs will be called “favorites.”
“You need to use those new favorites and fill them with compelling content: a trivia quiz, a survey about your product, engaging apps that lead people to share and interact,” Wingerter said.
A new feature will allow individuals to send messages to page owners, so the page will need to be checked periodically to ensure that messages don’t go unanswered.
Pangea Media is the maker of SnapApp, a marketing platform that “fosters conversations across the web, social and mobile” to build brand affinity. It offers a free app icon kit for Timeline as well as a slideshow with tips on using Facebook Timeline.
Favorite App Icon Kit. Free download of professionally-designed Favorite App thumbnails for Facebook’s Timeline.
Slideshow: Marketing Strategies for Facebook Pages Using Timeline