At the end of March, Facebook changed over all pages to the Timeline layout. This radical move has left many business owners scratching their heads, wondering how this will affact their presence on this platform, and how they will need to change their strategy to take advantage of the new layout.

How does the new Timeline affect your presence on Facebook?

We have always known that users are drawn to your Facebook page, and once they “liked” it, very often had little interaction with your actual page anymore. In fact, only 1-5% of fans actually visit your page. This means the power of your presence should rely heavily on your posts, as it is your fans’ Newsfeed that is your constant touchpoint to your audience.

But don’t underestimate the power of the first impression — and that is your timeline. And while the old version gave you the power to choose whether a new visitor was driven to app first, the new version give your visitors the experience of your brand starting with a large cover photo that appears above the fold. (Apps aren’t gone, BTW: in fact, they are more important than ever, but we’ll talk about that in your strategy).

This giant cover photo gives you the opportunity to really show your audience what you are all about. But there’s a catch – gone are the days of promoting apps and encouraging people to “like” or “share” your page on your images. You also cannot include pricing or purchase information on your cover photo, nor can you put contact information (web address, email or mailing address) or any calls to action in it. A good way to look at it is, if you can include it in your About section, you should not put it in your cover photo.

Other photo opportunities exist in your profile picture and thumbnail picture. It should be noted that the profile and cover photo overlap, you have a unique opportunity to create a unique and eye-catching image. Just be sure they also can stand on their own.

What should be your new strategy to take advantage of the new Timeline layout?

Posts in newsfeed – now more than ever, the content of your posts is what will keep fans engaged with your brand. In the new Timeline format, you can tell your company’s story in a very customized, visual format.And your posts are now called stories, so use them as such. Fine unique and engaging ways like photos, videos, questions, milestones, and fill in the blanks to consistently engage visitors and keep them coming back for more. The addition of starred posts and Milestones allow you to showcase milestones such as awards, events, new product releases and business growth.

Pinned posts – This new feature allows you to pin a story to the top of your timeline for up to 7 days using the pencil icon. Your pinned posts will be prominently displayed the top left of your Timeline where visitors can easily see it. Pin stories which include links to places you want your users to engage with the most, such as to your business’s website or to a particular app. Speaking of apps,

Apps – the good news in here for apps. Their actual real estate on the new timeline format has almost doubled. Use this increased real estate to customize your apps whether you are running a contest, making an announcement, or driving traffic. Another great strategy is to use your apps to get people to subscribe to an email list.
Facebook has given businesses the unique opportunity with the new Timeline layout to improve ROI and conversions by pinning posts, creating app icons and telling stories, all of which can be used to drive traffic to specific places you control. By catching your visitor’s eye with a large, relevant cover photo and strong calls to action on your apps to drive traffic to where you choose, Facebook has created a powerful tool for marketers and business owners alike.