Quick reference guide to the new Facebook timeline upgrade changes for business pages

upgrade Quick reference guide to the new Facebook timeline upgrade changes for business pagesFollowing is the quick reference guide to the major changes Facebook is rolling out in March 2012 to Facebook business pages.

Before we jump into the good, the bad and how the changes will affect page admins below; if you’re having problems upgrading or you don’t know how to change something on your upgraded page, pop over to our ‘how to’ article to find the answers: Sizes, FAQs & how to guide for upgrading to the new Facebook timeline for your business page 

Goodbye photo strip, hello cover photo :)

The 5 thumbnail images across the top of the wall – called the photo strip – have gone. These have been replaced with a gorgeous big cover photo which gives you so much scope for creating a fantastic first impression.

To get a full list of all the new measurements you need to design your cover photo and the very strict new rules your designer needs to know about, see our timeline how to article

It’s also worth bookmarking this gallery to check out later for how other brands are using their cover photos for inspiration before you design yours.

Here is one example of a very simple design for new cover photo, profile image and top navigation tabs in action on our upgraded page along with the measurements your graphic designer needs to know (sizes are in pixels):

OWD new facebook design w sizes Quick reference guide to the new Facebook timeline upgrade changes for business pages

Navigation moves to the top

Depending on how many custom page and apps you had before the upgrade, this is going to be good or bad news for you because the top nav only shows 3 of your pages or apps as the default view (see the screenshot above).

The left navigation has gone. You now have a set of 4 navigation tabs in the navigation bar under the cover photo at the top of your page. Your other pages and apps are not shown by default.

1 of the 4 tabs will always be a link to your photos page, but you can set the other 3 to be any of your pages or apps.

The rest of your pages are still there to be found, but fans have to click the arrow on the right to view them. Don’t rely on fans knowing how to do that! Make sure you set your page to show the 3 most important pages in the top row that you want fans to see. See our timeline how to article to get the full instructions.

Here’s how Subway used their navigation bar to feature mini banner ads as their tab images to entice fans and non fans to view their custom pages:

subway facebook Quick reference guide to the new Facebook timeline upgrade changes for business pages

No more default pages :(

You can no longer set a custom page to be the default page that non fans see. The new design forces  the wall to be the default view for both fans and non fans.

That means you need to get creative with those four navigation tabs underneath the cover photo to convince people to view your custom pages. You can use your navigation tab images like ads to get attention by setting the tabs to show a small banner ad like Subway has above.

You can also change the order of 3 of the 4 navigation tabs so your photos and the 3 other pages of your choice show as the default tabs under your cover photo. The tab on the far left will always be your photos, but the other 3 can be selected by you. For the instructions for changing which pages show and the order they show, as well as how to set the images for custom pages, see our timeline how to article

To view your ‘hidden’ pages, click the arrow in the box on the far right of the navigation bar, shown below:

new facebook design navigation tabs Quick reference guide to the new Facebook timeline upgrade changes for business pages

Pin an update :)

You’ll also want to use the clever new pin function when you want to feature a custom page, offer, event, article, competition or news that you want to draw attention to and that you don’t want fans to miss when they view your wall.

This is an important way to offset the down-side of custom pages no longer being able to be the default view for non fans.

Any update you’ve added can now be ‘pinned’ to the top of your page for up to 7 days so that other updates don’t push it down your wall and risk it being missed. To get the instructions for pinning and unpinning an update see our timeline how to article

Highlight an update :)

You can now ‘highlight’ chosen updates.

Highlighting an update makes it go the entire width of your wall instead of the default which is half the width.

To use this new feature to full effect, always upload a photo at the full cover photo width. That way, when you add a photo and it appears as an update, you can then click ‘highlight’ on that update and the photo will stretch the full width of your page. This can look really stunning and grabs attention when fans scroll down your wall. To get the instructions for how to highlight an update see our timeline how to article

Milestones :)

The new design includes a feature called ‘Milestones’. You can highlight selected accomplishments and achievements, such as fan growth, awards you’ve won, when your company started, product releases and so on.

Milestones take up the full width of your page so it’s worth adding images at the right size. To find out the size and how to add a milestone see our timeline how to article

Here’s an example from our Facebook page of how a full length photo can make a milestone stand out:

milestone Quick reference guide to the new Facebook timeline upgrade changes for business pages

New about box :)

Also included in the new navigation bar across the top under your cover photo, is a featured about area. When clicked it takes fans to your info page which has also had an upgrade in the way your info page is displayed.

If your page is a local business this will show location information as the default. However for other Facebook page types you can type anything you want in this area, including your phone number, email, website or blog domains (which will become a hyperlink).

Here’s how we’ve used our about box to share our phone number, blog and remind people to like our page:

new facebook about box character word count Quick reference guide to the new Facebook timeline upgrade changes for business pages

To find out the character count or if you’re having trouble editing your about copy, check out our timeline how to article

Admin panel :)

The new Admin Panel can be accessed from the link at the top right of your page. It allows you to track all of the activity on your page in one place. You can also reply to comments, edit  your settings, access your insights (ie: your pages analytics), create ads and more. To find out how to show or hide your admin panel see our timeline how to article

Private message :)

I love this new feature. If the Messages box is ticked in your page settings, your fans can now send the admin personal messages, making it much easier for you to have a private conversation with fans and reducing the chances of negative comments appearing on your wall for everyone to see, such as dealing with customer service issues.

The default when you upgrade is that Messages will be activated, but you can turn it off (which I wouldn’t recommend).  To find out how to show or hide the Messages box see our timeline how to article

New premium ad types 

This article on Mashable goes through the new advertising options for premium advertisers (those who spend $10k+ USD on a campaign) including log-out ads and offers.

Facebook Insights goes real-time :)

Live analytics will be coming soon to your Facebook page insights, here’s more from Mashable about this new feature.


Although this has been talked about in the same conversation as the new premium ads, offers is a bit different. It isn’t available to everyone ye but I’m particularly looking for to this which allows pages to offer coupons to reward fans. When fans click ‘get offer’ an email is sent to them with the coupon. Check it out.

If you don’t like change then you might not like the new timeline upgrade but I think there is more good than bad and no doubt more features and functionality yet to be released by Facebook.

This is by no means the complete list of all the new features and functionality that the timeline upgrade brings with it, rather it’s just a brief guide to the most noticeable changes that business owners and marketers need to know about. HubSpot’s upgrade guide is one of many that go through the upgrade in more detail – with screenshots – which I’d highly recommend bookmarking to read before you upgrade your page.

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