When Facebook announced the radical Timeline redesign for profiles last September, there was immediate chatter about whether the same design would be applied to brand pages. After months of speculation, Facebook officially revamped fan pages today.
Facebook is now allowing brands to focus much more on storytelling and visuals, and it will be up to marketers to determine how to attract fans to engage with content on their page, not just on their news feed.
All pages will automatically update to the new layout on March 30, 2012, but in the meantime admins can preview what their new Timelined page will look like. But don’t jump and click Publish without knowing what you’re getting into. Here is a roundup of the biggest changes coming to brand pages.
- Cover photo: Visuals have always been essential to Facebook; now they’re more important than ever. Brands can now add a wide cover photo that will be the first thing people see when they visit your page. It helps set the tone for the page to begin telling the brand’s story. In turn, profile photos have been shrunk to a 180 x 180 pixel square; essentially, it’s a thumbnail.
- No more landing pages (sort of): A quick look through the admin panel reveals that Facebook has removed the option to set a default landing page (at least for now). This will force marketers to re-evaluate how they approach designing the Facebook brand page experience, as well as how contests and promotions are run. That said, tabs are not gone all together…
- Highlights: Photos, likes and apps (previously known as tabs) now live at the top of the page, just underneath the cover photo. When clicked, apps now live on their own page with a lot more room for design. It will be interesting to see how this rearrangement impacts apps usage.
- Pinned updates: Facebook now allows pages to “pin” a status update to the top of the page, similar to Twitter’s not-yet-publicly-available brand pages offer. (It’s like Pinterest-lite.) This is a great opportunity to keep a new promotion or initiative top of mind for fans, or even simply feature a “post of the week.”
- Timeline: The new layout can be disorienting at first, as it splits the page down the middle. There are two particularly interesting changes to the content layout. First, brands can choose to “Highlight” certain updates, at which point they will expand and take up more real estate on the page to make sure fans won’t miss it. Second, brands can go back into the past in their Timeline and add status updates for any period of time. It’s an amazingly powerful way for companies and businesses to tell their complete story and make it a more personal experience for their fans.
- Messages: Fans can now contact you privately using messages. While admins are not able to proactively send messages, it’s a step in the right direction toward providing better customer service assistance on Facebook, as well as developing a more direct relationship between brands and consumers.
What do you think of the Timeline redesign for brand pages? How effective do you think it will be? If you’ve already activated your preview, share your experience in our comments section.