Facebook fan pages now have the same timeline look and layout that rolled out to all personal profiles a few months back. This post will highlight many of the new features and functionality so you can understand the changes taking place to your fan page and make the most of them for your business.
5 New Facebook Fan Page Features
1. Cover photoÂ – Facebook fan pages now have a cover photo. This is advantageous for businesses because it gives them the option to furtherÂ build their brand and give customers a sneak peek into their company or personality. Fan page profile photos are still visible as part of the cover photo – just like with personal profiles – so businesses will still have their logo in a prominent place in the page’s header area, and can add a second image that (hopefully) interests their fans.
Below is a great example of a Memphis realtor’s fan page cover:
Cover photos need to be at least 399 pixels wide (and can be up to 850 pixels wide) and cannot include: price or purchase information, contact information or calls to action. For more information on cover photos, read Facebook’s cover guidelines.
2. Facebook App TabsÂ – What used to be a vertical list located directly underneath your fan page’s profile image is now a horizontal row underneath your cover. You can include up to 12 apps here, and rearrange the order so your most important apps are shown (Click on the drop-down arrow next to “1” to edit the order). Photos must remain in the first spot, however, and you might also find that some apps are lacking an image.
To improve the look and branding of your fan page, edit the Settings of each app and choose to change the existing image to one that better represents your brand.
3. Pinning and HighlightingÂ a Status UpdateÂ – If you want to give special attention to a status update, you can choose to “pin” the update by clicking on the pencil icon visible at the top right corner of an update or highlight the update by clicking on the star icon to the left of the pencil.
Pinning an update keeps that update at the top of your fan page wall for 7 days whereas highlighting an update displays it in widescreen, spanning both columns of your fan page wall. Pinned updates show a yellow flag in the top right corner.
4. Admin PanelÂ – There are several changes and updates that took place with this part of Facebook fan pages. First, the admin panel is now located above your cover photo, with the ability to toggle between hiding the panel or showing it in full. Second, the admin panelÂ dashboardÂ displays notifications, recent Likes, a snapshot of your page’s insights, any messages you have waiting to read and a menu that includes options to manage your page, build your audience and create an ad.
5. MessagesÂ – Facebook users now can private message your page directly by clicking on the Messages button in the bottom right corner of your cover photo. It is possible to turn off this feature, though, by visiting your Manage Permissions section.
While viewing your permissions, take a look at the other visibility settings of your fan page as additional options have been added.
An important note regarding Facebook “welcome tabs”: Facebook no longer allows you to set your welcome tab as the default view to non-fans. This is significant as many page owners have spent a great deal of time (and sometimes, money) creating an intriguing, well-branded landing page. As of right now, you still need a 3rd party app to hold a contest through your page. But this change in the default landing status arguably decreases the relevance of having a welcome tab.
For those with a tab created through Shortstack: Shortstack posted this video on how to turn your existing 520 pixel tab into a 810 pixel tab.
It is possible to publish the new timeline to your fan page now, and all fan pages will be forced to the new design as of March 30, 2012. If you are in the midst of a contest or have an amazing welcome tab you’d like to hold onto a little longer, you might prefer to wait a few more weeks before transitioning.
Have you transitioned your fan page to the new timeline look? What creative cover photo examples have you seen?