Facebook launches Timeline for brands

Facebook today (Wednesday 29th February) opened up its new Timeline layout for brands. At the moment the layout is optional, but from the end of March the changes will be compulsory and rolled out across all brand pages.

Major new features include the option to:

  • Pin posts to the top of the feed for one week
  • Receive and respond to private messages from users
  • Add a big cover image
  • Feature posts from amongst a feed of updates Facebook determines to be the most engaging.

Below is Facebook’s explanation of the nature of the changes, why they’ve been made and what they mean for brands. More information can be found on Facebook’s Help section

Cover Image: A cover is the larger image at the top of your Page, right above your Page’s profile picture. Like your profile picture, cover images are public, which means anyone visiting your Page will be able to see them.

Star Posts: You can highlight any post on your Page by starring it. This allows you to highlight the posts you think are important. When you star a post, it expands to widescreen.

Pinned Posts: Pinned posts are Page posts that admins have chosen to display prominently at the top of their Page. A pinned post always appears in the top left of a Page’s timeline and has a flag in its top-right corner. A post a Page admin pins to the top of their Page will remain there for 7 days. After that, it’ll return to the date it was posted on the Page’s timeline.

Admin Panel: The admin panel is a place where you can respond to people using your Page and quickly see how your Page is performing. From your admin panel, you can: View notifications Respond to messages View your Page insights Access your activity log to curate content on your Page Access the Edit menu to make changes to your Page’s settings

Friend Activity: When people visit a Facebook Page, they’ll see what their friends and people they subscribe to are saying about it. For example, if someone tags a Page in one of their posts or checks in at a location, the people they originally shared with will see these stories highlighted for them on the Page’s timeline.

Milestones: Milestones are key moments you’ve decided to highlight on your Page. Milestones are automatically expanded to widescreen and are visible to everyone visiting your Page.

Inside Facebook has also taken a look at the changes, and its view of the implications for Tab Apps is below…

Page tab apps continue to function, but instead of listing apps down the left side of the page, apps are available on the right beneath the cover photo.

Fewer tabs can be highlighted above a “See more” option, but all apps benefit from larger thumbnails. App images are 111×74 pixels instead of 16×16 pixel favicons like they were previously. Apps themselves can now be up to 810 pixels wide. They render under the page’s cover photo and header, in place of Timeline.

Facebook will not allow default landing tabs like before. The company recommends pages pin a post that links to a particular tab. According to cover photo guidelines, pages cannot add images that use arrows or text to direct people to visit tabs or take particular actions.

The social network seems to be waning pages off of tab applications. The vision for the platform is for Facebook to be integrated into third-party websites and mobile apps, not to have applications running within page frames. But since many companies already invested in developing applications for their pages, the social network could not simply get rid of them at this stage.