On the 31st of March Facebook swapped over all Pages to the new Timeline. For better or for worse it’s here now and we have to figure out how best to use it.
A little while ago I sent a bunch of info over to my bands explaining some of the changes and suggesting ways we could use the new Pages to our advantage. Most of them backed up screaming murder “how can they be changing everything again???”. “Welcome to the future” is my answer to most questions these days.
Here are some of the ideas I sent over to them.
Cover Photo and Profile Photos
The new Cover Image is great. You get to lay a big 851px x 315px image over the top of your Page. Really useful if you have some nice artwork or photos to show off. It’s the first thing people see and if you do it right, this could really make your Facebook Page something special. Think of it like an album cover and get creative, use it to tell more of your story. Update it when you’re on tour with a photo from each show. Imagine how excited your fans will be if they land themselves at the top of your profile? Teaser artwork for posters! Stills from video clips! Overlays! The possibilities are endless.
Overlaying this cover photo is your profile picture. If you are clever you can make it work in conjunction with your cover photo. It’s a perfect square so you could upload album artwork, or use it as an avatar.
There is a new ABOUT section
It’s now front and centre. Before it was hidden in some weird tab but now it will be just below your profile image. If you click on it you get an extended version on a separate page but you can put a brief summary here or even link to your other sites. Next to the cover image it’s one of the first thing people see when they land so update it regularly to keep things interesting. Even treat it like a news ticker if you want!
You can control how posts are displayed
You can now pin a post to the top of your Facebook page for up to seven days if you have news you want to stick (shows coming up? what about a new video clip or a single?) You can also change post dates, which will help you bump up posts that you want to keep at the top of the page. This is one of the best new features and I recommended changing it regularly to keep things “fresh” (that’s my favourite industry adjective).
You can also “star” a post which both bumps up the real estate it takes up as well as it’s placement on the timeline. Because of this you need to pay attention to pictures that get posted. if you want them to take up all the space they need to be a minimum of 851 pixels. Not too hard these days given that my iPhone can take 5mb photos. Welcome to the future.
Tell your story through the time line
This is by far my favourite new feature. You can add “milestones” to your timeline. These are date focused posts that highlight events throughout your bands history. I think people will stop looking to Wikipedia first if bands can get this right. When did you band form? Do you have a photo of your first rehearsal room? What about a scan of a lyric sheet from your first single? First live show? What about your best support tour? Do you have a set list from that night you supported Pulp? Or perhaps a plane ticket from your first interstate flight? All of these elements combined can tell your bands story in a really effective, personal and visual timeline. Instead of some bio that your manager uploads to Wikipedia you have something special to share with your fans. Do this right and you’ll have one of your most valuable resources.
There are other features which work great but these are the main ones. If you haven’t started updating your profile already, get to work. Welcome to the future.