There are a ton of articles out there that summarize the new Facebook Timeline changes. This is not one of those articles. Instead, I’m going to cover what those changes actually mean strategically and tactically for your Facebook presence.
The new layout
Probably the most obvious of the changes is the new layout. Facebook has brought the infamous, and at times controversial, profile design to the brand pages. There’s no doubt that the new Timeline design allows you to make your home on Facebook more akin to your brand’s visual style.
The tab navigator is gone!
One of the first visual changes aside from the giant cover photo is the removal of the tabbed navigator on the left. The first question bouncing around in the minds of many was “Does this mean Facebook is demoting the value of Page applications?” The answer is no. To be frank, the vast majority of users never used the tab navigation to get into applications. The most effective driver of traffic to page applications was and still is promotion of the application on or off Facebook.
There are two ways you can drive traffic to the application:
- Brand Promotions – This includes posting a link to the application on your brand wall, Facebook advertising, or links off Facebook driving traffic to the application.
- Viral Loop – A viral loop is functionality built within the application that enables your visitors to attract other visitors to the application.
The tab navigator was replaced with four app thumbnails and a button reveals a maximum of up to 12 additional apps/views. The first thumbnail leads to the Facebook Photos application for your brand page and cannot be moved while the other slots can contain any of your apps in an order that you specify. This means you havethree visible thumbnails in addition to the photos thumbnail that all visitors will see. These three thumbnails should include the apps that deliver the highest business value (not just the prettiest).
Here is the Timeline view for one of our clients, Logitech Australia, with the Reviews app following the Photos app:
One default landing page for all
Before Timeline, brands could select one of their tabbed applications to be the default tab for non fans. A popular practice was to use a Like Gate to increase a page’s like count. Like-gating in third party applications is still possible, but the application cannot be set as a default landing page. I’ve never been a fan of this practice for brands, because it’s a false indicator of real fans. If someone can’t see your content before liking your page, how can they know that if they like it or not? Furthermore, you could be turning away users that would have otherwise interacted with the content and might have created a viral loop by sharing it with their friends.
Not all posts are created equal
Have you ever felt like there were some posts that you’d like to highlight or make more visible? Facebook has released two new features to help you accomplish just that.
Starring: Page owners can “star” or highlight any post, which expands the post to widescreen and makes it always visible.
Pinning : Page owners can now pin posts that they share to the top of the Page. Pinned posts, like these on the Red Bull Page, will stay at the top regardless of other posts that are more recent, for 10 days.
Both of these features used in combination with the previously-suggested practice of promoting your applications above give you two additional tools to maximize success of your Facebook applications by highlighting a call to action to your application directly in your Timeline.
Applications have more room to stretch
Because the old navigation and profile image have been removed there is now a great deal more space for applications. This means that all of your page applications must be redesigned. At Bazaarvoice we’re taking this opportunity to do more than just expand our current applications to fill the white space. We’ll be taking this opportunity to improve upon the user experience. This approach requires more of an investment upfront, but the end result will be an experience specifically designed for the new additional real estate. You should demand the same from your application developers.
Some additional resources to help with your new Timeline page: