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A guide to the new Facebook page timeline layout

Facebook has made wholesale changes to the way business pages work, mainly to bring them in line with the new Timeline layout that was introduced for profiles but also to introduce some new features that are useful for businesses.

In this post I demonstrate the key changes for page administrators to take into account, and for my examples I am mostly using screen shots from the Facebook page for Be Child Cancer Aware, which is a charity worth of a mention in any event.

A summary of key changes, detailed below

  • New Timeline layout allows a large image that is 850 pixels by 315 pixels.
  • New administration screen gives easy access to data, and data is now real time instead of two days behind.
  • Users can now correspond privately with a page via Messages.
  • No more welcome landing tab. All users now land on  the same page.
  • Tabs now appear in the top, with a “more” button if you have more than four.
  • You can sticky a post to the top of your page for seven days.

Cover photo image

The cover photo is 850 pixels wide by 315 pixels high, and it cannot be an advertisement. You can’t include calls to action or sales messages. It is supposed to be something eyecatching and artistic to illustrate your page.

Facebook page timeline layout - cover photo

Messages and other options

Users can send messages to the page privately, which is a great addition because it now means people who want some kind of customer service without publishing their question can do so. I always advise use of the public wall to be seen to be giving customer service, but the option of privacy for customers is a good idea.

Facebook page timeline contextual menuThe icon next to the Message button also allows users to perform actions related to your page, such as promoting it on their page, sharing it on their timeline, sending feedback or reporting the page.

Tabs for applications need rearranging

If you have several tabs on your old Facebook page layout, you will find these bunched up as large icons at the top of the page, to the right of the page description. Only four are shown, but a “More” option opens them all up.

Facebook page timeline layout tabs for applicationsAs the page administrator, you can select which tabs appear as the first four items. Photos cannot be moved, but you can hold your mouse over a tab to select to swap its position with another tab. This way, you can display the most important items in the default top row.

Tab pages have a much wider layout

Previously the canvas width for a page tab would be 520 pixels, now it is the full width of the page at 850 pixels. So now your 520 pixel wide pieces of content will float in the middle of the new pages.

You can edit your applications and the content you are serving into those applications to take advantage of this new wide layout.You will notice, too, that each tab page has a menu at the top allowing the user to jump straight to another tab.

Pin a post to the top of your page

The new layout lets administrators pin a sticky post to the top by starring it as a highlight. When you do this, the post will appear full width, across both columns of your timeline, and will remain there for seven days.

Facebook page pin a sticky post to the top of the timeline for seven days.

New administration panel

When you access your page as administrator, you will see an administration panel at the top of your page. This panel shows you a summary of activity related to the page, including new posts or comments, new likes and a quick view of the Insights, which you can expand.

Facebook page admin panel for Timeline layoutsThe other great improvement to the admin area is that Insights data is now real time. You don’t have to wait two days to see whether your content is being viewed and shared.

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