Shortly after Facebook’s f8 announcement about its new Timeline profile format, people were already speculating when brand Pages would undergo the same changes. We’ve since seen countless articles speculating exactly what the implications of Timeline for Pages would be, and most importantly how Timeline would be used.

Facebook unveiled Timeline for Pages last week, along with a number of equally important product and platform upgrades.

Here are FIVE key things you need to know about the new brand Page format:

1. The Timeline

Timeline for Pages serves the same purpose it does for personal profiles – it tells your story. How little or much you wish to share is up to you, but it’s important to consider what your friends or fans would be interested in seeing. Content that is emotive tends to do well, so leveraging key milestones and dates of your life and your community is suggested, particularly when highlighted in a unique, creative way. There is a heavy emphasis on visual storytelling as photo albums appear more prominently in the timeline, and select images or posts can be “starred” and expanded across the entire width of the timeline.

Additionally, your connections’ interactions with a brand now populate that brand’s Timeline. Users can have a more relevant and personal experience by being able to see how their friends are engaging.

2. Cover and Profile Images

The cover image is one of the first things your fans will see. However, Facebook has emphasized that that space is NOT be used for promotions, call to actions, or advertising, so keep that in mind as you create your cover photo and develop an engagement strategy.

3. Say Good-Bye To Default Landing Tabs

Customized landing tabs have been used in many ways on brand Pages, but have most commonly been used as default landing pages to drive new “likes” and give new users a “controlled” first experience. It also usually included some sort of incentivized call to action that instructed users to “like” the Page to get exclusive content.

With the elimination of this feature, brands can now reposition tabs at the top of the timeline to highlight those they want their followers to engage with and then use regular content updates to draw attention to those tabs. The only way you can create a default landing tab is to invest in Facebook ads with the custom tab as the URL.

4. The Pin is IN

You can now pin a post so it appears as the first post people see for seven days. After that, it will be pushed down the timeline as other content is added. Pinning content on Facebook allows brands to keep popular posts top of mind and prevents them from getting lost in the conversation.

This allows brands to highlight important or campaign-specific content and ensure a higher level of visibility for this content. A weekly content strategy will become more important in order to full maximize this feature.

This will also change the way you set up your editorial calendar. While some manage their content “on the fly,” this requires more in-depth content strategy to create a balance of daily content and specific pinned posts that are the most likely to receive high levels of engagement from a brand’s audience. Pinning an item at the top of your feed might be important to you if you want to draw attention to a tab that normally you would’ve had as default. Additionally, all pinned posts can be geotargeted, allowing for more localized content, which will hopefully turn into more engagement.

Here’s a screenshot of The New York Times’ Timeline with Pinned Posts highlighted:

New york times facebook

5. It’s About Engagement

Several changes to the admin panel support the notion that success on Facebook will be brought on by creating engaging, smart content rather than simply launching classic advertising campaigns. Fans of Pages can now interact with the Page through private messages. Though you can no longer restrict your wall view to show only posts from the Page, you can now manually approve every post from fans before they are published.

If you click the “likes” tab on any brand timeline Page, you’ll see more public analytics than before:

stats

This increased access to analytics assists with determining how your brand’s Page stacks up against its competitors. Additionally, it continues the trend of emphasizing overall engagement on a Page as opposed to strictly qualitative data such as the number of “Likes” a Page has amassed.

The screenshot above is for Subway, and this example of Page metrics for a location are a little different than a brand in that they include total number of photos tagged at that location, most visited week, and largest party (highest number of people who checked into a place at a single time).

There are still a number of other new changes that are being rolled out on the Facebook platform, but the overall takeaway is that your brand or organization needs to commit to storytelling of past, present, and future as the most effective way to see success on Facebook. Visually compelling content and effective storytelling will always win out over static broadcasting.

These changes go into effect for all brand Pages on March 30, but many brands have already made the switch. When will your brand?

Image credit: niallkennedy

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