Business Owner on Facebook? Welcome to Timeline!

A few months ago I posted an article about the latest Facebook changes for personal profiles. The new design, “Timeline,” features a way to scroll back through the history of ones use on Facebook. It’s been a couple months since then, and now similar changes are being rolled out to business pages too.

At the moment, you have the option to make the transition, but in thirty days Facebook will force you to change to the new Timeline feature. Let’s take a quick look at the recent changes, and see how we can utilize them to connect with customers more efficiently.

Facebook Cover Photo

The cover photo is a large photograph that should symbolize what your company is all about. It’s a great way to greet viewers, yet Facebook terms of use specifically mention that it should NOT contain a “call-to-action” or encouraging users to “like the page.” Below is a screenshot of the Boston Celtics Facebook page.

Boston Celtics Timeline

These cover photos add “spice” to the page, and enable businesses the opportunity to impress viewers from the very first glance.

Private Messages

In my opinion, the new messaging feature could be the most important change. In the past, if a customer posts an issue on the Facebook page wall, administrators would typically respond and say “Bobby, if you could please email me at ________@brand.com, we will look into it.” While I see no problem with this, the new private messaging streamlines the process of customer service on Facebook.

Businesses cannot proactively message with their fans, but after someone messages/comments, it creates the “line of conversation” between the business and customer.

Post “Pinning”

Post pinning enables your company to “highlight” certain updates that you have made in the past. For example, if you made a major announcement, you can “pin” that post to the top of your business page for a maximum of 7 days. This is a great way to gain extra publicity.

Milestones

These latest Facebook updates enable businesses to become storytellers. Let’s say your business is family-owned, with a unique history – the new changes enable you to display this history in a meaningful way. Macy’s has already made the change, and has incorporated a milestone for the founding of the Thanksgiving day parade.

Admin Dashboard

Although this latest change is behind the scenes, the new admin dashboard enables page owners the ability to manage their Facebook presence from one location. It’s a very nice addition, and makes life a little easier for business owners.

Where did the Tabs Go?

Facebook Tabs are now located in a different position – which is bad news for businesses who generate leads with “custom tabs.” In fact, these latest changes will undermine the effectiveness of many social media marketers. In the past, a special graphic will encourage users to “like the page” for a discount….this is no longer possible.

Put simply, Facebook is trying to create a level playing field for all business owners (and force businesses to buy Facebook Ads). Tabs are still available in the new Timeline, yet I expect a huge decline in overall usage.

Have Questions? Comment on this post and let me know! For my extended thoughts, check out another Facebook Timeline blog post.