Unless you’ve been on the planet ‘on holiday with no wifi’ you’ll have heard of the new Facebook Page changes which were launched last week.  Some page owners have adapted to the new Timeline with ease, some are panicking, and some are not sure quite what to do.  If you’re in the latter two groups,  here’s a helpful, and friendly guide, which cuts through the information overload - from someone who’s been there.

1)  Don’t panic.  You have until the end of March to make the changes to your page before it’s published, so you have time to sort out a great cover image.

2)  Get your graphic designer to do you a stunning, impactful cover image which promotes your unique selling points.  Don’t infringe Facebook’s terms for the image; you mustn’t include contact details, a web address or any call to action including a call to ‘like’ the page.  Dimensions: 850 x 315 pixels.  Consider changing this from time to time, to reflect your business cycle.

3)  Your profile image, which is inserted into the cover image, is your brand identity.  It must work with the cover image, but also on its own, as it’s also the avatar that will be beside each of your posts.  This image shouldn’t change.  Dimensions: 180 x 180 pixels.

4)  Your apps, if you have them, are now ‘tabs’ beneath your cover image.  You can change the order of them by clicking on the drop down arrow to show them all (maximum of 12) and then hover over the right hand corner of each app to edit it.  Only the top 4 will be shown, and only the photos tab isn’t movable or editable in any way.  You can give each app its own cover, which should be a call to action or an incentive to open it, and you can also change the name of the app underneath to incentivise opening.  Dimensions for your tab image: 111 x 74 pixels.

Landing pages are no longer allowed – sorry.

5)  So how do you exploit the new timeline as far as your posts are concerned?  There are three main ways:

a) By pinning a post to the top of your Timeline for up to 7 days at a time.  You do this by clicking on the pencil icon top right of your post, and selecting ‘Pin to Top’.  This is a great way of showcasing anything about your business that you want to highlight, such as links to your website, competitions, offers and important calls to action.

b)  By starring a post which then expands the post to the width of your Timeline.  If you have a great image to show off, this is the way to do it.  Star a post by clicking on the star image at the top right of each post.

c) By inserting milestones into your Timeline, featuring the key events in your business’ history.  You can also add images to your milestones to make them more impactful.

6)  Be aware of direct messages.  Fans can now message pages directly, and Pages can reply with a message.  You can’t message a fan as a Page, unless the fan has messaged you first.  Although I wouldn’t advise it, you can turn this feature off by clicking on the Admin Panel button and selecting the option in the messages box at the top right of the panel which opens.

7)  This brings me to my last point, which is the Admin Panel.  This is the button at the top right of your Page, and when you click it you’ll see all the good old functions you know and love.  So no need to worry over those.

And finally – enjoy!  The cover image especially gives you a brilliant chance to shine.

Check out these articles for extra help:  Social Media Examiner and Jeff Bullas.  Also, here is a great cheat sheet on image sizes from Wildfire Interactive (more up to date and accurate than many I have seen).

So, ask away!  Is there anything you’re stuck with or hate or love about the new Timeline?