Today (March 30, 2012) is the day our Facebook pages switch to the timeline layout.
Timeline offers photographers new opportunities as well as a little pain. The new banner is nice for photographers to show off their work. My best advice is to keep it simple. One big change is the feature default custom tabs is no longer available. All traffic lands on the Timeline front page.
The new cover photo dimensions are 851 x 315. If you are interested in the Facebook cover guidelines, click here. It is important to note you can’t reference sales, calls to action, pricing, downloads or anything that would take the visitor off site. You can display your photos, show off your style and post your branding everywhere. Be creative.
For those photographers who use page gateway apps (A gateway page means people have to Like your page before they can see your timeline.) you can still use them, but now your header image will still be visible. I would think in most cases this is a good thing for branding purposes.
Now when you have an important post or image to share you can highlight it. This means it will expand the post over both sides of the timeline (giving it extra emphasis). When you roll over the top right of a post the options to star (highlight) or edit will display. If you wish to highlight a special photograph, sale or information, Facebook has a new option to pin your post to the top of your page for up to seven days. Use the pencil editing icon to find this option. Only posts created by admins may be pinned.
Applications have been moved from the left side of the page to their own photo boxes (see below). Four are displayed at a time and may be arranged any way you like. Your page is limited to twelve apps.
Take advantage of the milestone option. This option allows you to place important information about your company or brand’s history in specific points in time. Good examples for photographers would be the date you founded your business, awards received, or the date important images were created (include your photographs). You can create your personal photographic history in timeline.
Timeline is designed to allow larger photographs and longer stories. This is helpful for photographers who wish to share more information with their followers. Followers now have a new option send private messages to you through your page. The new admin panel is designed to make it easy to communicate. Followers also have the opportunity to see how well you engage with them with visible stats. This means it’s even more important to keep the conversation going.
The new admin panel, on the upper right side of your header, is easy to access. It drops down from the top of the page displaying important information, such as messages (as mentioned above), notifications, new Likes, and your insights (statistics). If you like to comment on other pages under your brand name, this option is now found under manage in your admin panel. Once you get used to the new set up you will appreciate the improved user interface.
Facebook gives photographers new opportunities to showcase their images, especially with the new header, highlight and pinning features. It may be a pain in the beginning, but photographers will gain more than they may lose with Timeline.
Timeline image size reference:
- Cover photo – 851 x 315
- Profile picture – 180 x 180
- Thumbnail image for apps – 111 x 74
- Images within wall posts display as 404 x 404
- Highlighted & milestone images – 843 x 403
If you would like more information, Pam Moore has an excellent post at social media today.