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March 7, 2012

7 Easy Steps To Get Your Facebook Page Timeline Ready

Facebook just went public recently and now they are making major changes to the way people and businesses interact with the platform.
 
This is to be expected since now that facebook is a publicly traded company they will be beholden to shareholders to increase their revenue every quarter.
 
Time will tell if they can pull this off without alienating users.  Their revenue stream comes from advertising and they also announced the launch of a new adevertising platform for large companies with big ad spends.
 
What does this mean for your fan page?  There are a few major changes and some not so major.  The biggest downside I have seen so far is that you will no longer be able to set a default landing tab for new visitors to your page.  To me, this is a very big downside, but they didn’t consult me, so I guess I’ll just roll with it.
 
Here are the 7 steps to get your facebook fan page ready for the switch to timeline.

1. Edit Timeline In Preview Mode

Until march 30th, you can work on your timeline in preview mode, just go to the top of your page and hit preview or if you have multiple pages to preview you can go to
 
Any time you want to go back to view your old page desing there is a link for that at the top of the page.
 
2. Set Your Cover Photo
 
The cover photo is a 851 x 315 pixel image that will show up at the top of your page.
 
This is an image that you can change as often as you would like and will only be seen on your fan page.
 
Facebook has put a lot of restrictions on what can be on your cover photo, mainly no contact information, calls to action or sales message.  This means you can no longer request that fans like you from your cover image.
 
To set the image, simply click on add a cover and you can either pick a photo that you have on facebook already or upload one from your computer.
 
3.  Upload Your Profile Picture.
 
This will be the image that it seen wherever you post as your page, either a photo
of yourself or your company logo.
 
The image size is 180 x 180 pixels and can be added by hovering over small square box and clicking on edit profile picture.
 
This image should not be changed since this will become how people will recognize you on facebook.  By default they are choosing the same thumbnail image that you had previously set on your fan page.
 
4.  Edit Your About Section
 
This now has prime real estate on the page right below your profile picture, so make sure to put in your website link first. 
 
There is room for a toatl of 150 characters that will show here, any more that that will be truncated and users will have to click on the box to see more.
 
5.  Arrange Tabs and Set Tab Images
 
This is probably the most valuable real estate now on the fan page.  You can now have up to a total of 12 tabs with photos and likes being default tabs.  The first tab is the photos tab and cannot be moved.
 
The other tabs can be put in any order you wish, so make sure the 3 that show up on your fan page are the most important ones.
 
To reorder your tabs, first click on the down arrow next to the right hand tab to show all your tabs.  Then hover over any one of them (except photo tab) and click on the pencil icon.  From there you can switch this tab with any other one except for photos.
 
To set tab images, click on the pencil icon and select edit settings.  Now you can change the tab name or add a custom tab image.  This is probably one of the better branding opportunities with this new change, so take advantage of it.  At least put custom images on the 3 tabs that will show by default on your fan page.
 
The custom tab image is 111 x 74 pixels.
 
6.  Pin A Post To The Top Of Timeline
 
You now have the ability to pin any post for up to 7 days at the top of your timeline.  Simply go to the post you want to feature and click on the pencil icon that appears when you hover over the post.  From there choose pin post.  This will only stay at the top for a week, so be sure to pin a new post every week.
 
7.  Highlight Posts
 
By default, posts will show up on half of your timeline.  By highlighting a post it will show across the entire screen.  When hovering over a post, click on the star that says highlight.  Note that you can not highlight and pin the same post at the same time.
 
This is especially useful for highlighting milestones in your business and posts you want to draw attention to.  I would sprinkle these through your posting to give a more balanced view.
 
Summary
 
Facebook is switching all fan pages over to timeline effective on march 30.  Make sure you are ready by setting your cover image and profile picture, editing your 3 visible tabs and pinning a post to the top of your timeline.
 
Well, there you have it!  Now your all ready for the switch over come the end of the month.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see if this is a welcome page.  Head on over to my fan page  and let me know what you think of the change.

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