Is the New Timeline Timely?

At the end of this month those of us with Facebook business pages will be moved into ‘timeline mode’ whether we want it of not.

If you are like me, you will have seized the nettle and made the transfer already.  I say ‘nettle’ because it is a prickly decision and rankles some.

Jay Baer believes that small businesses are disadvantaged by the design shift; in fact he sees it as a betrayal. While I don’t necessarily agree with his entire argument he has made several good points:

  • SME’s lack the creative design abilities and resources to come up with a convincing cover design
  • Banning any use of promotional language in the header graphic is a big negative. While Facebook is trying to push its platform philosophy of ‘creating emotional connections’ , this requires time that most small businesses can’t give to such a task
  • The old Landing Tab has disappeared in the new layout. This used to be a defacto landing page  / microsite for small businesses.

I find the new tabbing arrangement on the Timeline very limiting as only four are visible at any one time and one of those, photos, is locked in position. Facebook is an important business tool and having to rely on a drop down tab means that  important content is often buried.

There are some enhancements that Jae finds disturbing that I believe are advantageous in the new Timeline mode.

The ability to pin and star content moving it to the top of the page provides for extra prominence.With an increased page dimension from 520 to 810 pixels, presentation is less cramped. For those of us using third party application such as Shortstack, this means tweaking the page dimensions; a simple enough exercise.

A big plus is the ability for Facebook users to send a direct message from the Page.

Facebook recommends that the profile image (180 X 180 pixels) be a company logo or similar.   This is not bad advice given that a recent study by Ohio State University found that in the majority of cases a Facebook profile picture tells viewers all they need to know to form an impression of you.

Milestones allow a company to share their developing story with their community; how you were founded, what you have achieved, awards gained etc.

Dave Fleet has simple five step method for companies to follow:

  1. Review company marketing/communication materials and history
  2. Plot out the story you want to tell and the milestones for it
  3. Identify appropriate engagements to feature
  4. Identify approach to contentious issues
  5. Determine appropriate cover image

It is also interesting to compare the Google+ Landing page with that of Facebook’s Timeline.  In the example below the company has used animation in its header, something that is not possible with Facebook’s Cover image.

See the animation example on this business page

If you haven’t already changed over to the Facebook Timeline, Mashable has a simply slideshow to show you how to log in and click to get things underway.

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About thedigitalconsultant

Roger Smith is a retired international, digital consultant and former British Council Director of Online Operations within the East Asia region.
This entry was posted in Business, Google, Marketing, Social Media and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Is the New Timeline Timely?

  1. mike says:

    Couldn’t agree more with you. I understand where Jay is coming from but also look at the changes as a great opportunity for small businesses to further localize themselves, and feel ‘Milestone’ is one of those feature, but it’s about the small businesses wanting to put the time into it. Like always it comes down to what side of the fence you’re on.. Thanks Roger.

  2. Pingback: New Facebook Business Page Milestone Feature For Small Businesses

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