Goodbye Facebook Fan Page: Hello Branded Timeline

Goodbye Facebook Fan Page: Hello Branded Timeline. Facebook’s new pages for businesses, brands and organizations will hit your computer and mobile screens March 30th. Get ready now. Think about your strategy and discuss it with your Web Designer or Graphic Artist. Be sure to work with one who knows marketing and branding. The new page will be just like our new profile pages: Timeline, and have “updated tools for your business, brand or organization.”

I get the feeling that Facebook wants us to be more visual with our branding, rather than mostly conversational. Not that they didn’t allow it before. But now, with the NEW Facebook Business Page replacing your current one on March 30th, you can post a dramatic cover image and stunning photos of your products and people in your posts. No more tiny thumbnails. Plus, you can track milestones of your company, which builds credibility. Video and other content can be featured, stretching across the two columns in your Timeline, making for a dramatic, interactive page. Think: Pinterest meets Facebook meets YouTube, with a little bit of Tumblr. It smells like design in here!

Notice the strategy that American Express used in this simple post:

Feature a video on your new Facebook Business page. Really grabs your attention.

Get Ready Now by Thinking About Your Strategy

Study the examples below and think about YOUR strategy. If you own a restaurant: your cover image is a no brainer: choose a professional close-up photo of your most popular food item on the menu or capture a happy group of customers chowing down on their delicious, juicy burgers. If you’re a consultant, speaker or business coach, consider your branding carefully, just as you would for your header image of your website or if you were to have a billboard. Here’s where the talent of a great designer comes in. Be sure you work with an experienced one.

Place your logo in the lower left picture area  to mark your territory.  In the example below, Coca-Cola placed its Coke bottle there. The “Like” button is right below the right side of your cover image for new visitors to be come fans. Take a look at how Coca-Cola made sure you knew you were on their page. The name “Coca-Cola” is in the cover image  (the prime screen real estate: the upper area of the page–three times. It’s below the cover image; in the avatar (the label on the bottle) and in the “About” section.

Here’s what you need to know to get ready

  • Instead of the row of thumbnail photos along the top of the page (the “ribbon”), you’ll have one cover image. Use this section to brand your page with either a stunning photograph that makes your fans emotionally connect with your brand or go a slightly different direction for your cover image and think: billboard message by adding your company name and tagline on the photo or a message that underscores a key benefit of hiring your company or patronizing your place of business. Here’s when you need to hire a professional, experienced designer who knows branding and marketing. Just like you would for the design of your business card; your web design and other branding for your company.
  • Your logo or picture of your face can go in the lower square area. This is your avatar. If you brand with your face, put your professional headshot photo there. If you want to use that spot to brand with your logo, go ahead. See how Starbucks put its icon image as its avatar in the image below? See the dramatic professionally photographed coffee beans? You can practically smell the coffee.
  • Think of this area of your business page as the billboard of your brand. The less said, the better. Let the image or a few words do the talking.

Facebook Branded Timeline

Ford Mustang

See how clever Ford Mustang was in strategically designing the cover image so that the avatar appears over the grill of the Mustang. The avatar is the Mustang  grill ornament.

Ford Mustang designed an interesting cover image by using the Mustang as its avatar, which is placed over the grill in the cover image.

Highlight what matters

Facebook says: “Pin a new post to the top of your Page each week so people notice what’s important.”

The first post on your page can be a place where you’ve pinned an important message. For instance, if you’re hosting a networking event, you can promote it in this area and link to a registration page that’s on your website or EventBrite or Meetup page.

Tabs can be found under the “Timeline” button

Tabs and Apps can be found under the Timeline button.

If you’re a graphic artist or web designer, it’s a great time to capitalize on Facebook’s changeover because all those Fan pages need branded cover images and strategy for getting  clients up and running in their new “uniform”: the NEW Facebook Business page: a Timeline of your brand.

You could almost think of your business Timeline as an online scrapbook of your company but with customers getting to express their opinions about your brand and ask questions within the pages of your scrapbook.  Facebook’s Business Timeline has a much more organic and growing feeling to it than the old fan page. I love it. What do you think of it?