In case you did not get the message on your Facebook fan page, Facebook has started letting pages convert to the Timeline format. The details can be found on Facebook here, or by clicking on the link on the top of your Facebook page.
As with any Facebook update, there are some exciting new features available, but there are also some drawbacks that you should be aware of.
First, I would recommend that you delay upgrading or publishing the new format right away. There are too many variables and design options that would deter you. There is also an issue with page “likes” that I will get to. The best thing to do right now is hold off upgrading your page. You and Facebook have until March 30th right now to figure out the issues, so in the meantime, hopefully these points of interest will help.
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So, what is good about Timeline for pages?
1. REAL ESTATE! If you are familiar with timeline for your personal page you probably know the image area for the cover image is 850 pixels wide x 315 tall. Before, all we had were the 5 little thumbnails across the top of the page and the area on the left. This is prime area for promoting your blog/brand.
2. We also have larger tab areas with the upgrade. Page tabs were 520px wide, and now have been considerably upgraded to 810px. For the height, I believe you can do whatever your heart chooses. Try and keep it simple my friends!
3. If you have previously used apps like WooBox, an Iframe App or maybe MyChaptr to display HTML content within your fan page, you should be excited! Your old HTML tab pages and other apps pages work with the new upgrade. However, you will want to consider upgrading these tabs in the future.
4. The tabs you use to use on the left side of your Facebook page were tiny little things – almost the size of your favicon you have made for you website that shows in the address bar of your web browser. Well, these are much larger as well; in fact you can now set images up to 111px x 74px to promote your tab app.
With the upgrade only 4 tabs are now visible. The functionality to reorder the tabs is still there, but you can only choose three as you cannot change the PICTURES tab. It is static. There is a drop down menu on the fourth tab that allows you and your fans to see other tabs. To rearrange, click the drop down button on the far right tab. You will then see all your old tabs and all of them will have a drop down so that you can edit the tab. The PICTURES tab will not have a drop down. From there you can assign that space with the tab you choose.
Note: I am currently having an issue with some of the tab apps I have on some of my FAN pages. For some reason I am unable to edit and change the thumbnail. I am working on a solution to this and once I find it I will update this post.
Remember that this upgrade goes live March 30th, so you should start planning your internal Facebook page upgrade now.
What are the drawbacks with Facebook Timeline for pages?
No more landing pages! All users now see your wall, both fans and non-fans. This may be a shocker to some of you just like it was to me. Maybe it was an oversight on Facebook’s part, but rumor has it that Facebook was a not big fan of these landing pages in the first place. It may to be harder to try and convert fans without custom welcome pages..however…don’t forget about that prime real estate you now have at the top to grab people’s attention!
If you are running a fan gated promotion, it is in my opinion (and most other experts I have talked to) to not upgrade your page right away. If a fan were to click LIKE on the promotion tab, Facebook does not currently automatically refresh the page as it use to. In order for the new fan to see the content they would have to refresh the page themselves.
So what should you do next?
First, do not upgrade, especially if you have a custom welcome/landing page! You can play around with the new format, but just don’t publish what you have changed until the bugs are ironed out or you have a new design ready.
Second, you should build a plan of action for all the redesign you will need to manage before March 30. This is especially true for those of you out there that have those custom welcome tabs.
Third, get ready for greatness! This upgrade has the potential to show you and/or your product in a better light.
Ron Bosworth is a graphic designer that specializes in creating custom banners and graphics for Facebook groups, blogs, websites and now Timeline pages! Contact Ron to request help with your new Timeline page at RonaldBosworth.com.