1. Cover Images: The Cover image, first introduced to personal profiles, is a very obvious new feature with the Timeline. It is a large image that sits at the top of your profile. It’s sole purpose is to be a visual message to your visitors. This new image creates a huge amount of real estate for your brand. We have been creating Cover images for the past week and would recommend that you treat this image as a cross between the old Profile image and the old Photo Banners. By showcasing your products in use it really allows the viewer to get a sense of what you’re offering, instantly.
2. Private Messages: Although we have only received messages from in house at this point we believe that as the general Facebook population learns about the ability to send private messages directly to their favorite or maybe not so favorite brands it will be a big hit. Questions, concerns and suggestions can now be sent privately to Fan Pages, giving your Fans more privacy, which we believe will increase the amount of questions and interaction you receive directly on Facebook. It also allows for a lot more customer service opportunities directly on Facebook, you no longer have to private message Fans from a personal account or separate email address, it can all take place on the trusted network.
3. Pinned Status Updates: You are now allowed to “Pin” status updates to keep them at the top of your page for up to 7 days. This creates an opportunity to keep important status updates at the top of your page, without having to re-post on a regular basis. Unfortunately, Fans will only see the post once in their News Feed, when it’s first posted. This is important to remember as only users that physically visit the page will see the post Pinned at the top.
4. Apps (custom tabs) Have More Attention: Custom tabs are one of the reasons that Facebook is so powerful for businesses. With the new Timeline access to the tabs are located directly below the Cover image towards the top of the page. They also have a much larger image associated with them, making them stand out much more than before. We believe that with these changes the tabs will be accessed more often from the Wall of the Fan Page.
1. No More Landing Page: By far one of the worse changes with the new Timeline is not having the ability to send non-Fans to a custom tab. By not being able to pick where a user lands when visiting your page for the first time you can no longer encourage them to like the page with a Fan Gate or Welcome/Reveal Tab. This was a very common feature used by most big brands and optimized small brands. Being able to customize a tab to show a different image to non-Fans and Fans is still available, however they will have to physically click to the tab now to see it. We are still planning on setting up a custom tab this way, but only if the page is offering a special to their Fans.
2. Harder To Gain New Fans: Although this is strictly an opinion and really is too early to tell it would appear that growing your Fan base might be more challenging with the new Timeline. Before the Timeline Social Brothers was on average gaining 1-5 Fans per day, since switching over to the new Timeline we’ve seen only an increase in 1 Fan the past week. Here’s what we think is causing this. First, without a Welcome/Reveal Tab you are no longer able to encourage or provide a reason to Like the page straight from the beginning. Second, the Like button is new a new location, below the Cover Image, it is harder to find and there’s nothing pointing it out (it is against Facebook terms to put any type of promotion, encouragement or call to action on the Cover Image).
3. The Overall Layout Is Busy: Although the more you use the new Timeline layout the more comfortable you will get with the layout, it seems to be very busy. With your status updates being posted on the left and right hand side it creates a visually painful result. Before your status updates would be stacked right on top of each other, making it easy to see what was going on, now you have to look left, right, left, left, right, etc. Until you’re used to this new layout you are going to get frustrated when looking at your page.
In time, when everyone is used to the new layout and the new features available to Fans and admins we believe these new Timeline Fan Pages will only increase the value in this large network. Until then, it is going to be a learning curve for everyone on the network, including users. Continue to make sure your status updates and growing your network just like you were before the change, it will all be second nature again for everyone before long.
What do you think of the new Timeline, is going to improve your Social Media efforts?