You may or may not have heard that Facebook recently announced a major change in the way Facebook Pages for businesses will look and function starting March 30th. Facebook itself is an ever changing platform and you can be sure to expect further changes down the line. Facebook will be adapting it’s new Timeline look and functionality to business pages. Some businesses have already made the switch, and everyone else will be forced into the new format on March 30th. For now, you can preview what your page will look like within Facebook.
We took some time to review the changes and analyze how these changes effect Facebook from a marketing perspective. Like many other internet marketing experts, we see some opportunities for businesses, but are not happy with some of the changes. Particularly, we feel Facebook has diminished the effectiveness of a useful marketing tool, the Welcome page (also referred to as a Welcome tab).
The major problems with the new Timeline pages are:
- Welcome pages can no longer be set to be the first thing people see. People will always come to the Timeline first.
Welcome pages no longer refresh to show fan-only content (content shown after clicking the like button)Facebook has changed this and it is now possible to have the page automatically refresh and reveal fan only content.
Facebook has added some features that are good for businesses. An example being the About Section. By placing contact information for your business near the top of the page, rather than being hidden in the info tab, they have made it easier for people to access your contact information. There are some other benefits, but for now, we want to focus on how the change effects Welcome pages and the visual and marketing scope of Pages. In the new Timeline layout, the cover photo (large banner image at the top of the page) and the profile photo are the most important visual branding elements. Secondary to that is the row of Application Tabs.
What to do now?
We want to offer the best advice to you. As of now, we feel that the Welcome page is not as effective because the new Timeline layout relies on people clicking on a Welcome tab rather than automatically being shown a Welcome page upon entry by a new prospect. It is our recommendation that you don’t invest in a Welcome Page at this time. Instead, you may want to focus your energy on promoting your Facebook content through other mediums such as email blasts that encourage people to like your page and by including Facebook links on your website. Read more below about what you can do to prepare your page for March 30th.
Already have a Facebook Welcome Page?
To all of our clients and any others who have invested in a Welcome page, you should know what to expect on March 30th. The Timeline Layout will automatically be applied to your page. Your Welcome Page will still work and it will be linked to from a small graphic near the top of the page (called the application box). This graphic can be changed within Facebook.
The Welcome page will be alone on a new page and can now be wider (810px wide), all current designs will be centered in the space. If you have content that is only revealed when someone clicks the like button, a visitor will need to manually refresh the page after hitting the like button in order to see that content. Facebook no longer has the page automatically refresh, which was poorly considered on their part. Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done about this presently. UPDATE: Facebook has fixed this issue. Pages now automatically refresh when someone clicks the like button.
To prepare for the change, we recommend that you do the following so your page will look it’s best on March 30th.
- Prepare a Cover Photo
- Adjust your Profile Photo if needed
- Create a graphic for any of your application boxes
How to add your graphic: While you are previewing your page in Timeline, go to the arrow to the right of the application tabs to reveal all tabs. Rollover the tab you want to change and click the pencil icon. Select Edit Settings. From there you can rename the tab and upload a graphic for the tab.
Here is an article about the size requirements for all the different parts of the Timeline layout.
If you are interested in having us work on your cover and profile image or Welcome page graphic, please contact us.
We will be coming out with more posts about the changes to Facebook soon, so please stay tuned. We are also interested in hearing your thoughts about the new Timeline layout.