So next question...did you jump at the chance to transform your fan page to the new timeline format or have you fallen prey to Facebook forcing you to do so, and subsequently altering your photos and your brand message the way it sees fit? Are you afraid to look, or just afraid to deal with it?
To help eliminate some of the fear, we’re going to give you our insight into the good and bad of the new Facebook fan page layout.
Some of the things we don’t like about the new layout are:
1. You can’t set a default landing page, so if you created a Welcome page and set it as the page people land on, you’re now out of luck. The Wall is the new default page. Don’t take this to mean that you should eliminate all custom tabs. You still want to segment your information into categories by the markets you serve and/or the products and services you provide. You can always direct traffic to these pages from other social media marketing and search engine marketing campaigns.
2. The double column wall set up is harder to follow conversations. Do you read down the left column first and then the right? Do you read posts side-by-side? We think most people will find this harder to follow than the previous single-column Wall design.
3. The smaller profile pic will be a problem you if you created a custom image that ran down the left side of your page. The old profile pic was 180px x 540px while the new profile pic is only 125px x 125px (but your image must be at least 180px x 180px). You do get the tradeoff of having a larger masthead image splashed across the top at 851px x 315px. However, in the old profile pic, you could design an image that was promotional, and now you can’t.
4. You lose the left column navigation that ran down below your profile pic. In the old (current) layout, you had the Wall, Info, Photos, and any other custom tabs you created. You still get these on the new Facebook fan page, but they are now boxes beneath your masthead and instead of displaying a lengthy list, you get four boxes (which you can arrange in any order you want), with a drop down menu for visitors to click on to see any remaining tabs you may have.
Here are the things we think Facebook got right with the new layout:
1. The big masthead image displayed across the top of your page is a great way to grab the attention of visitors. Although, you can’t make it promotional, you can still make a big statement with the right image … and series of images.
2. Wider custom tabs that now can be up to 780px wide. This helps when you create graphically pleasing info and promotional tabs. The narrower layout made it more difficult to fit in images and info while avoiding additional scroll bars.
3. You can create your own larger, custom tab images for all apps, even those that were created by someone else. This gives you the ability to design the thumbnail to stay consistent with your brand and how you want to convey it to your target audience.
4. You can pin a status update on your Wall to keep them at the top of your Wall updates for up to seven days. If you have a post that discusses a promotion or a comment, blog post, or question that had success drawing in comments, you can keep it at the top of the Wall so it’s the first thing that your page’s visitors will see. And you know how important first impressions are.
Before you jump in and start dabbling with the new Facebook fan page, we recommend you create a plan so you don’t stumble your way through it and confuse your current fan base. You want to make a solid transition from the current layout to the new timeline format.
If you need some help with your Facebook Timeline, we can make the adjustments for you, write the appropriate SEO copy, and create the custom tabs and images, so you can beat your competition and create a better connection with your followers.
Dina Wasmer is President of Incite Creative, a marketing and graphic design firm that provides brand-building services and strategies for small-to-middle-market businesses and nonprofit organizations in the Mid-Atlantic region. For more information, log onto www.incitecreativeinc.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org