Last week I found out about Facebook changing it's business pages from the existing "old-style" app business page to a more profile like "timeline" page. I personally at first found the new layout a mess and quite hard to use, but there are some new tools, nice features and prospects to really use the idea of app's a little better.
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More Visually Engaging
The first thing you will notice with the new layout is the large cover photo, the profile image stands out more as do the 4 main applications of a page (you can have more but only the first 4 show without clicking to show more).
Cover Photo - This is a great visual connection point, its huge real estate (815px x 315px). You can change it as and when you want to suit your needs. A draw back is you can't use it to say "sale now on", "hit like" or anything of this elk - its not a bill board ... this of course has its good and bad side but I think it's pretty good as it means you won't see lots of the same type of spammy cover photo. This is a creative space for you to showcase your latest work.
Profile Picture - Having given with one hand they are taking with the other. You now have a profile picture, the same as that on your personal profiles. This means its a square (it should scale from 180px x 180px to 32px) and no longer a tall rectangle. It's important to remember this needs replacing and not leave it a week before you notice it, like i did - oops.
Photos and Apps - Your photos and applications will now appear below your cover photo and to the right of your information box (which is just below your profile image, so do update your information). You can customise the order each item appears in, if at all using the app's admin area under "manage" (formerly edit).
Larger Stories - Although limited to half the page you can now show off larger photos on your timeline than in an old post. You can show off multiple photos with one large one if you upload multiple images and well you can ask questions, pin stories (keeps them at the top of your page). It's a nicer look than the old pages that's for sure. But note after 7 days nothing will appear on the left hand side if you haven't added an update.
Highlight Stories - if you click the star on a story you can highlight it as being important, it will become a full width item, great for photographers and crafters showing off their goods or putting up a poster maybe ... there are many uses i'm sure including video. Its not clear what other side impacts highlights may have from Facebook optimisation to search optimisation, if any.
Milestones - You can add great big milestones to your timeline, at any date previous or current. I will be playing with this to upload an image (843px x 403px) of client design work I've done. Again it's unclear of the impact though you are warned not to over use the highlight tool or milestone tool - they don't say why but I suspect it will get messy and your edge rank may go down a little.
Are Others Engaged? - On the right hand-side below your photos and apps you will see a friend section, 2 boxes - 1 showing who likes you and another whos talking about you. Its a great instant way for outsiders to see some interactions and how popular your page is.
Managing Your New Facebook Page
There is a new management tool in town. If you are the admin of a page it is just above your new cover image and shows you insights, interactions, latest likes, notifications and messages. It's a brilliant quick overview of your page, you can hide and expand this at any time (top right of the page).
From this box you can also manage your page, grow and engage your audience and find help from facebook documentation.
There is also something called the "activity log" (under manage page). It offers insights into how your page and posts are being used. You can filter by date or post type, from this you can then edit a post, star it, highlight it, pin it etc.
Anything Else? - Yes you page can now accept messages, if people have liked your page and you've turned messages on your audience can now contact you. It's a nice simple contact tool, and beats that old app you had to do it!
Checklist for Migrating to the New Facebook Pages
So you are ready to move to the new facebook business page, or you've been forced to as it's passed March 30th - what do you need to do to ensure the success of your new page. Below is my checklist for having a successful new facebook page.
Upload a cover photo
Upload a well branded profile picture
Pin your posts (especially if its to your blog or website)
Arrange your photos and apps
Publish everyday if you can - Ensure each post is visually appealing - Ensure you don't spam the hell out of your own page - Use insights to see which type of post works best
Manage your page with the new admin panel - Keep track of notifications and messages - Read page tips, they are useful - honest
If you have apps make sure they use the full width (now 810px)
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