Facebook has rolled out its Timeline design for users last year and it has received a lot of publicity, both positive and negative. While some users still aren’t supporting the new design, others have completely adjusted their profiles to their preferences. While Facebook is still Google+’s predecessor; by implementing Timeline, Facebook has distinguished itself more from Google+.
It was only a matter of time before Facebook would apply Timeline to brands’ Fan Pages. That time is now.

So, what are the biggest changes? The first difference you’ll notice is the captivating cover photo. This cover photo is placed at the top of the Fan Page and is spread over the width of the page. Obviously, this photo is an opportunity for your brand to attract customers while adding value to your brand’s image and identity. You can choose to either upload an existing photo or create a complete new design that optimizes the benefits of the cover photo. Keep in mind that you still have a profile image as well; it is downsized and moved to the left bottom of your cover photo.  Many popular brands have already published Timeline on their pages and are using the cover photo quite effectively. A perfect example is the Nespresso page: the cover photo grabs the viewers’ attention immediately and is fully compatible with the overall style of Nespresso. Like most other brands do, Nespresso used its logo as a profile picture, which is a logical move in terms of brand recognition and consistency.

The cover photo is certainly an important feature of Timeline; however, when you upload a photo or design, make sure you are not breaking any of Facebook’s rules. Be creative and original, but simple at the same time. You don’t want your page to look cluttered.

Another interesting change is your brand’s history. Timeline enables users to scroll down to a different point in time and view content that was published during that period. It resembles a perfect visualization of your brand’s history. For example: adding different milestones over the course of time will help your Facebook fans to get a better understanding of the foundation of your brand. You can use this to directly connect with people on a more emotional level, because you have shared insider’s information with them. In other words, you can enhance customer relationships by using this beneficial feature for your brand.

If you haven’t noticed already, you can no longer use default landing pages: page tabs will be gone. Some would argue that this is a marketing loss and that’s probably true. Landing pages would often include different calls-to-action and were fully adjusted to a brand’s identity due to the creative liberty designers had. With Timeline, the page tabs might be gone, but it does allow you to create customized tabs. These tabs are placed below the cover photo and offer you the possibility to feature three specific applications (next to your photos tab) that will be highlighted. For instance, Starbucks chose to use their “Send a Starbucks Card eGift on Facebook” app as one of the tabs and Nespresso added a “Boutique Finder” app. Base your decisions on the apps that are most likely to complement the page and your brand’s visibility. Additionally, you have to make sure the thumbnails (111 x 74 pixels) for these apps are inviting and interesting, because meeting this requirement will lead to an increase of users clicking the tabs and thus user engagement.

If you have any special updates or content you would like to see highlighted, Timeline enables you to do so by “pinning” the content of your choice. It will appear at the top of your Timeline, above all your regular updates. You are only allowed to pin one type of content at a time, which means that you should use this feature wisely.

Now the biggest changes have been identified, it’s time for you to moderate the page: adding useful info to your Timeline, making adjustments, among other steps and view the page when completed, prior to publishing it. You have until March 30 to find your way around Timeline and then it’s time to face the music.

How are you planning to prepare for Timeline? I would love to read about it in the comments!