Is Your Organization Ready for the Facebook Timeline?

By Stephen Fuchs on Email @StephenWFuchs

If you manage your German club’s Facebook page did you know that your page is about to undergo a major design change on March 30th?  Personal Facebook profiles recently saw the Timeline design appear on their page and it is now making its way to business and organization fan pages.  So what does this mean for your club’s Facebook page?  You can either keep posting content the way you are used to, or take advantage of the new opportunity to do so much more with your page and attract more people by spending a little bit of time setting a few things up once the change occurs.

What is the Facebook Timeline?

One of the first things you will notice on March 30th is the layout for your organization’s Facebook page is going to look a lot different.  The new layout allows you to better tell the story of your organization and closely interact with your “fans” without having people navigate through numerous tabs on your page.  The NewsFeed that you are used to is still the prominent focus but it now allows visitors to engage and interact with your clubs history in new ways.

6 Ways to Get Ready For Your Organization’s Facebook Timeline

1. Add a Cover Image

One of the first things you will notice with the new Timeline view is that you have a large area at the top of your page where you can display a cover image that acts as a welcome banner to your visitors.  This is the first thing people will see when they load your page so it is a great way to make a first impression and show what your club is all about in a visual way.

Below are some examples of some businesses already using the Facebook Timeline so you can see a how images are used:

 

2. Simplify Your Actual Profile Picture

Your profile picture used to be the only image representing your entire organization, so many pictures became cluttered with more than just your logo.  The new profile picture is a small square with a maximum size of 180 pixels.  Instead of including a call to action, try to simplify the image with just your logo.  You do not need to worry about including the name of your organization since the name of your Facebook page will always be written out next to this image.  A nice clean image works best.  This is also the image that will appear next to all of your posts.

3. Complete or Rethink Your About Section

Located right below your cover image is a small box that allows you to write up a short description about your club or the address and contact info if you have a physical location.  If you have a website, this is a great place to provide the URL to your site.  You can see an example from the German Pulse Facebook Page below:

4. Cleanup or Add Some Apps

With the previous Facebook Page design, you were able to install apps to allow for more functionality, but they were often hard for visitors to find since they were displayed as small text tabs that all looked the same.  Now, with the new Timeline design, each app is displayed with visual artwork directly under your Cover Photo.  You can designate which apps are displayed by default and the remaining apps are tucked away until a user clicks on the icon to reveal them all.  Now that these apps are more prominently displayed, you may notice some that you no longer want an app displayed and can choose to delete or hide them.

If you have not been using apps with your Facebook page there are some that can be very useful for your organization.  On the German Pulse Facebook Page we have an app for users to quickly sign up for our Email Updates (using MailChimp) and a donation app that works with our PayPal account.

5. Give Certain Posts Attention with Pins and Highlights

A nice feature that comes with the Timeline design is the ability to have more control over the display of your posts.  Your posts are still displayed in reverse chronological order but you now have the ability to keep an individual story “pinned” above all your posts for up to 7 days.  This is a great way to feature an important post so that it doesn’t get buried beneath your newer stories.  When you hover your cursor over a story, two icons appear at the upper right corner… a star and a pencil.  When you click the pencil icon you can select “pin to top.”

Highlighting a story takes your post that normally occupies just one column in the 2 column layout and spans it across the width of your page.  Doing this allows you to bring more attention to a post and is great to highlight a photo.  To highlight a post, hover your cursor over the post you want to highlight and click on the Star icon that appears in the upper right corner.

6. Enter Important Milestones for Your Organization

Many German organizations have been around for a long time and have a very rich history.  The new Facebook Timeline allows you to go back in time before Facebook was even around and highlight important historical moments for your club.  This gives the Timeline name more meaning as you can fill in such information as when your organization was founded, when you started certain popular events or festivals, and more.  Have fun with this new feature since it allows your fans to get a complete picture of what your organization is and where it started from.  You can even add photos to enhance your timeline.  A great example of this is on the Coca Cola page… they highlight important milestones in the company that go all the way back to the 1800’s.  Feel free to check their page out to get some ideas.

Conclusion

These are just 6 of the new features that you can take advantage of and implementing them will go a long way in making your organization’s page stand out.  On March 30th your Facebook page will automatically switch over to this timeline view, but you can already get started on preparing your page today.  If you are an admin for your page, you should see a notification at the top of your page announcing the switch.  In that box is a link that allows you to start working on your Timeline and you can even activate it early once it is complete.  Remember to have fun with this and when you have your page all set up with these features implemented, post a link to your page in the comments.

Stephen Fuchs
Stephen founded German Pulse and LGBT Germany out of a passion to introduce Americans to a Germany that goes beyond beer and polka (although with enough beer he has been known to polka it up a bit). He's a coffee addict, lover of wine and good times, a hit in the kitchen and editor of TV commercials. You can follow him on Twitter (@StephenWFuchs) to find out a lot more.
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