New York Times' Facebook Timeline

Facebook will transfer brand pages to its new timeline format by the end of March. Those that want can initiate the transfer before that time.

What Is The Facebook Timeline?

Facebook Timeline is a new page format or page layout initially introduced for personal profiles.

How Is Facebook Timeline Different?

One of the most important differences is that Timeline highlights a number of posts, photos, videos and other moments from the past picked by Facebook's algorithms. The old style profile was a simple endlessly scrolling first-in/last-out list of items.

The year-by-year scrapbook-style view can make two business profiles look very different.

Take for example two companies which have both posted an equal amount of information in 2011 but one company was relatively silent in the years before. That company's profile will have empty or somewhat empty years scrolling back; something which was virtually hidden form view in the old format.

Another big change is the cover photo. This image is much larger than your current square-style photo.

Finally the landing tab has gone. Depending on how you used this tab this may impact your Facebook strategy.

Important Information About The Cover Photo

Maximum dimensions 830px by 315px.

Your cover photo may not include:

  • A call to action, including Like or Share
  • Discounts or any other pricing information
  • Any contact information

Can I Remove Items From My Timeline?

Yes. While the Facebook algorithms do the initial picking, you get the final say-so.

Simply keep your mouse over the item until the edit pencil appears.Click on it to hide the item from the timeline. This does not delete the item; it simply removes it from the timeline view.

Can I Feature Items On The Timeline?

Yes.

Hold your mouse over the item. When you see the star, click on it. This item will now stay visible on the timeline.

Can I Add Items In The Past?

If you find your past's timeline too empty you can retro-actively add items to it either by changing the date on one or more posts or by adding new predated material.

Once you have a suitable item, hold your mouse over it until the edit pencil appears. Then click on the watch icon. Update the date details.

You can add new material by adding a new item directly to the timeline but selecting an older date for it.

Can I Opt Out Of The Facebook Timeline?

No. You can opt in before the forced, mandatory change by the end of March but there is no way to opt out.

What Are The Advantages Of The Facebook Timeline?

Your investment in social content gets a potentially higher ROI because of the longer half-time of the content.

In the past material which scrolled off the page would simply be gone; who would scroll back pages and pages and pages to see what happened in 2008?

With the new format it becomes very easy for people to (re)engage with your key material and key events from the past yeas. Imagine featuring your most engaged posts, your best content, highest rewards; the overall impression you can make is stellar.

By featuring different kinds of content you and Facebook keep the user entertained, interested, and engaged.

What Do I Have To Do To Prepare?

First and foremost, invest in a good, delicious visual that matches your brand(ing). Make sure the image is of high quality image quality: simply enlarging your current image or logo will probably not work.

If your social past is barren, prepare key content to feature for those years. If you've already been active in the past, select what content you want to feature on your timeline.

 

Ruud Hein

My paid passion at Search Engine People sees me applying my passions and knowledge to a wide array of problems, ones I usually experience as challenges. People who know me know I love coffee.

Ruud Hein

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20 Responses to “Facebook Timeline For Brands & Businesses Factsheet”

  1. Ruud-

    Wow this is some interesting information. Exciting too because I think the new FB timeline could make some really interesting FB pages for companies. So at the end of march FB is forcing a mandatory change to all pages?

    thanks for the great read,

    sean

    • Ruud Hein says:

      Yup, by the end of this month everyone will be switched over. It's kind of fun, kind of exciting, indeed.

    • Chase says:

      Where is the source for this? I'm not discounting the validity of the article, however, there were a bunch of articles published on the 24th of January saying that the mandatory shift would occur within seven days (which was met with a great deal of backlash within the Facebook community). This never came to fruition, so where has Facebook said that the mandatory shift would in fact occur by (arbitrary date)? I can't seem to find any sort of memorandum indicating that beyond ambiguous statements and speculation.

      Thanks,

      Chase

      • Ruud Hein says:

        Hi Chase. Appreciate the follow-up for sources! Facebook has included this information in its official Pages page right here https://www.facebook.com/about/pages

        The January update seems to have been a miscommunication or misunderstanding. Timeline started to become available to all personal profiles then but no roll-over date was set. The 7 days came from the 7 days a voluntarily switched over account has to make adjustments; 7 days after switching over the change becomes permanent.

        Hope this helps and again — appreciate the comment, feedback, and question!

  2. Ryan Hanley says:

    The one problem I'm having with the New Timeline and I know this is a ME issue but I don't have a lot of Visual material… Most of my material is written and it seems like the new Timelines are very visual.

    Just something else to do I guess.

    Thanks!

    Ryan H.

    • Ruud Hein says:

      Visual works good/better but I think you can get a long way with a few nice photos and perhaps some quotes as graphics. What do you think?

    • Ryan Hanley says:

      Ruud,

      I definitely agree… I've just never focused on Visual with my blog.

      I like the idea of Quotes though… I'm going to work on that.

      Thanks!

  3. Timeline for brand pages sounds good. Many online marketing brands have already activated their Facebook timeline. I think the most important thing that business owners should remember is that they should enforce their brand message while using this new Facebook feature.

    This is a great post on using Facebook timeline effectively.

    Thanks for these tips, Ruud.

  4. Erica Price says:

    I like the fact it's a lot more visual and there is more place for the photos. I think the full width picture will make my page look more like my blog. Will probably look to opt in early.

    • Ruud Hein says:

      The large photo is gorgeous property, yes. I love what I see from the big brands so far. You really do need high quality imagery though or it will look very, very tacky.

      Do report back how everything works for you, Erica1

  5. Ryan is right, in one of the comments below, Timeline is very visual. It's a whole new way of thinking about your page updates, make them more interesting.

    Guy Kawasaki's approach to Facebook was to post photos 90% of the time, so I guess he was on to something.

    Really interested to see what creative pages businesses will come up with.

    • Ruud Hein says:

      Good observation, Viktor. Interesting too, your mention that Guy posts 90% photos. I see a similar pattern on Google+; I do so often myself even :)

    • It seems to engage people better, while Twitter is left for text, all 140 characters of it.

      But I do see some popular bloggers leave long posts on G+, Darren Rowse, is an example.

  6. Troy Jaggard says:

    I would be annoyed as the average business owner who just invested in a custom Facebook page to be forced to adjust to Facebook's new look and custom page dimensions. As someone who is the one making the pages however…I love it!

  7. Josh says:

    Just a quick note: The dimensions of a cover photo are actually 851×315 :-)

  8. Jer Marie says:

    I love the Timeline…. I am using it now on my Facebook (of course) and I enjoy it a lot…..

  9. Charloth says:

    The big takeaway facebook timeline is clearly working best for visual media. Dig out as much visual content as you can. Consider also, in your new posts, how you can tie in a visual to support the status..