Cleared for Landing...
Pages that urge people to become fans of your page (the default landing tabs and fangates) will disappear. This means that your content will be visible to everyone, whether they're fans or not. Content becomes even more important on your page, as pages will now have to deliver premium content, rather than fish for likes by promising it!
Make a Colourful First Impression
Replacing the landing tab is the 'Cover'. This is a 850x315 image that sits at the top of your page. It sounds simple until you see the list of restrictions placed upon it by Facebook. You're not allowed to put your contact details there, or anything else that should be in the 'About' part. You can't include any calls to action, so phrases like 'Tell your friends' or even 'click like' are banned. Purchase info and price offers are also prohibited.
Some creativity is going to be needed for cover images to be Facebook-legal as well as engaging - perhaps a good starting point for a cover image could be the answer to the question 'what makes your club or tournament unique?'
Twitter is also trialling a version of this with some pages too, with a smaller 835x90 pixel image. It may be worth thinking about this too.
Related to the cover image is your profile picture. If you currently have a skyscraper style image, you'll need to replace it - the maximum dimensions for the profile pic are now 180x180 pixels. There's no reason why you can't have both pictures interacting with each other. For example, you could have a player sliding in for a try with a team-branded ball - when people see your logo around the site, they'll see the ball, but they'll only get the full picture if they click on your page.
As with all of the changes we are happy to advise on the best way for you to promote your club, and can offer our design services to produce new cover images if you require.
At the moment, tabs for pages are on the left-hand side. They're now moving up to the top, where they'll sit below the cover image. Some tabs such as Photos are automatically locked by Facebook to be in position one.
As the tabs are moving up, their logo size is also changing. Instead of the 16x16 pixel icon, you now have space to create a 111x74 image and make your tab really stand out!
If you're a page with a lot of (more than 3) tabs, you may want to start thinking about the best way of getting people to click 'below the fold' and discover what's on the page. Read on to see how we suggest you do this.
Several of you already have iFrames on your Facebook pages. These are the pieces of content created and housed in the CMS of your site and displayed on Facebook (generally in the past behind a 'fan-gate'.)
At present the size for iFrames is restricted to be no bigger than 510 pixels. The new timeline gives you scope to put a lot more information on your page by expanding it to a maximum of 810 pixels! Your current iFrames will still work but they'll be centred, so they'll be plenty of white space either side.
Think about content on your existing site which you may want to promote on the Facebook page but which you had to cut from your current Facebook page for space restrictions. Perhaps video can be a reality now with the wider size, or you can include the dynamic Ticket Information pages.
Again we can create new iFramed layouts specifically for you - this may also be a great oportunity to include some content from your main site on the Facebook page for the first time.
Fans are now able to message the page directly. This feature can be turned off but is on by default.
You will have to decide whether you want people to be able to contact you directly, or whether email and public Facebook posting (or tweeting) is enough.
To help with all the changes, your page admins will get a special panel that acts as a one-stop dashboard. Here, you can see the most recent likes, messages and notifications, as well as seeing a quick insight graph.
Pick a Post, any Post
You're also now allowed to push one of your posts at the top of the page. Similar to a 'sticky' on a forum, this update will spread itself across both the left and right columns and copies itself to the top (it will still be in it's chronological place).
This is a great way to draw people to your key message. Perhaps you want to highlight your next fixture or ticket details. You can get a gallery at the top too, if you like. The only downside is you can only highlight one thing at a time. It's marked with the orange flag at the top.
If you have lots of apps, you could put a stickied post once every few days with links to the apps!
There's also highlighting. This allows a post to spread across left and right columns to give it some impact. While useful, it's best done sparingly. After all, you wouldn't want to see a page full of highlighter pen, would you?
A New Record!
It's now possible to show people milestones. These landmark events automatically cover both left and right columns, can be back-dated and even geo-tagged. You can add a photo with them too. So if one of your players breaks the league scoring record, you won the league in 1963 or a British and Irish Lion comes from your side, you can record it in your page's history.
This is quite an underrated feature that we think can be used in many different ways.
Also Known As...
You can now request a name change for your page on Facebook. If your page name changes - for example, a tournament with a new sponsor - you can fill out a very simple form and get that changed, within around 3 days. We think this is a crucial improvement given the nature of changing tournament names or club sponsors.
There are a lot of changes and the transition will likely be met with unpopularity - as all Facebook makeovers seem to be. However this is a strong opportunity to tidy up your page and give users a flavour of the history of your team or competition - it is a timeline after all!
Content will be crucial. The timeline is more media-centric than before, with photos, links and videos coming to the fore (to keep up with Tumblr and Pinterest). Sotic will happily guide you through these changes, whether you want us to design a new profile picture, adding milestones and highlights to even letting us take the pressure off you and fully manage your entire social media output, we can give you a bespoke service that will keep fans talking about you.
If you have any questions or would like to find out we can specifically do for you please contact either or Head of Content Jonathan McConnell or Social Media manager Hashim Piperdy