Facebook Timeline launches for Business Pages

The Facebook Timeline layout that has been in place for personal pages for some time now is going to be applied to all business pages on 31st March 2012. After this date, a cover photo (or graphic) will dominate the header of your facebook business page – if you have one! If not, the old banner will be reduced to a square box on the left side and you’ll have a big grey box as a banner instead. Facebook’s way of encouraging you to play by their rules!

Please email me on dave@energise.co.nz or call 0800 627 546 to get a new Facebook banner. There are some guidelines that must be followed. The following are not allowed;

  • Promotional offers, such as “Weekend Sale” or “Free download at our website”.
  • Contact details from your Facebook page details section like your website address, email, phone number or address.
  • Requests to LIKE or SHARE or any other Facebook features.
  • Advertising calls to action, like; “Phone us Now” or “Bring your Mates”

The banner images are publicly visible, so must not deceive or mislead the viewer. They should not infringe third party rights or intellectual property. And just when you thought you’d found a loophole, you must not encourage others to upload your banner to their personal timelines.

As your old banner will be reduced to a measley 180 x 180 pixel square, you’ll probably find that it’s been cropped in a way that doesn’t work for you. The intention is that this should now be a logo that sits alongside your big banner graphic or photo.

Facebook isn’t doing this to make your page prettier but to boost their revenues, which were over US$3.7b in 2011! As you will have seen in the media, Facebook is going public this year and is expected to be worth around US$100 billion. A boost in advertising revenue by a surge of activity from business pages is just the kind of publicity they want when they launch their share offer.

There are certainly some useful new features for businesses in the redesign. Advertising exposure is better (despite the rules) and content management is also improved. Page admins will be able to pin a post at the top of their page for up to seven days and user tracking and activity stats are also clearer.

Perhaps most exciting is the new Facebook Offers feature, which allows business pages to offer discounts and promos to their fans that can that can be displayed at the store on their mobile phones. Much cooler than walking into a shop with a printout or newspaper cutting!

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