It’s finally here! In beta version at least. Businesses who have a Facebook presence are now able to brand their pages using the layout we see on our personal pages: Facebook Timeline. The shift to the new layout has the obvious aesthetic value but there are several things you should know before you press the bold “Publish” button.

Before you do anything to convert your page you should visit some other pages who have crossed over all ready, like Columbus State University and Nike (Yes, even Naartjie). Look at the changes and decide whether or not you have the content in place or available to utilize the new elements. Keep it in preview mode until you feel comfortable.

1) First thing to do is pick a “Cover”. This is the large image (851 x 315 pixel banner)┬áthat will be at the top of your page in the same style as your personal page. Pick an eye catching image that reflects your brand well. * Be careful not have call to actions for “Liking” your page or discounts at your store. Facebook wants the banner to be about your brand image.

2) If you are the admin to the page you will notice the addition of the “Admin Panel” at the top of your page. This makes it easier to see your pages activity, insights and recent messages. The panel will expand when you click “Admin Panel” at the top.

3) The apps tabs have changed slightly. Firstly the dimensions have changed. The old width of 520 pixels has now been pushed to 810 pixels wide. This makes us happy because we have more realty to design with. The good thing is that even though the existing custom pages we developed will look like they haven’t used up all the space, they do still work and nothing will be lost in the transition. The only con we could find so far was that, as of the first day of the launch, you could not set a default landing page to be any tab other than the Wall.

4) We don’t particularly like the fact that the tabs are now less visible, or at least overwhelmed by the Cover and other busy visuals. There are four spots available for thumbnails of apps but the rest are accessed by a drop down link. The first of the four is always Photos so that leaves three for custom tabs before they get sent to the background. Choose them wisely and create attractive thumbnails for them.

5) A huge plus for customer relations and even conflict resolution is that fans can now send your page a private message as you would with a personal account. The only catch is that you can’t initiate the conversation; the fan has to contact you first. This will however provide the opportunity to resolve issues without being exposed to the public on your wall.

6) The word “Pin” has shown up again but not in relation to Pinterest.”Pinning” on your Facebook Page wall allows you to essentially promote a designated post of yours to the top left of your feed for seven days at a time. Think eye catching photo or video testimonial or promotion. This could also be an opportunity to work around the app tab visibility issue by promoting a tab page.You can also highlight photos throughout your timeline which will result in the images being the full width of the page.

7) With “Milestones” you can go beyond when you joined Facebook, even beyond Facebook’s conception and allow you to post content all the way back to your company’s ribbon-cutting. Name the event, pick the location, set the date, write a story and add a photo.

 

Overall, we like the changes and are excited for the beta version to be tweaked. The official launch date is March 30th so get your business page ready in the meantime. If you need any help with Custom Facebook Pages or Facebook Marketing in general, come on down to The Train Depot!

Happy Pinning
The Naartjie Team