It’s April and you know what that means. The little bar at the top of your Facebook that’s been warning you of impending doom has finally come through on its promise. Facebook Timeline for businesses is now in full-swing, and like it or not, your business is on board. Now that all fan pages have updated their format to Timeline (hit or miss), we want to take a look at some of the changes that businesses are taking advantage of, and highlight some of the brands that are getting it right. Learn from the best!

1) Eye-Catching Cover Photo  Obviously, the biggest (and most talked about) change to the new Facebook format lies in the addition of a cover photo. Perhaps thanks to the multitude of articles with hints and tips for finding an effective cover photo (for example, this Copyblogger article), this seems to be one of the changes for which businesses were most prepared. Whether companies went for extreme simplicity (Snickers), a collage featuring several photos (Coca-Cola), or used their cover photo to pay tribute to their fans (New York Knicks), there are a lot of great examples of creative cover photos out there. But one of the most intriguing trends in cover photos (arguably) emerged with the companies that lined up their cover photo perfectly to make it interact with their smaller profile picture. Check out the example below from Google:

2) Telling a story  The whole proposed purpose behind Timeline pages is to allow businesses to tell their story and draw in fans with engaging content tracing all the way back to their roots. Whether it’s because no one has had the time to go back and search for old photos or because they don’t think enough people will look at these archives to make it worth their time, not many businesses seem to be utilizing this particular aspect of Timeline. The notable exception to this lies with sports teams. For example, check out the Atlanta Braves page (we had to give our home team a shout out), which features captioned photos dating back to 1871. But even if you don’t plan to commemorate long-lost milestones from your past, be sure to take note of how the Atlanta Braves have featured this particular milestone of Hank Aaron: by “highlighting” it and making it full-width. You have the option to do this with every photo on your Timeline (just scroll over the top right-hand corner), and it’s a great way to draw attention to upcoming events, company milestones and awards, or product releases.

3) Highlighting Apps  You’ve probably noticed by now that all of your tabs on the left-hand side of your page (photos, notes, etc.) are gone and that Timeline only displays four boxes under your cover photo, but did you know you can control three of those four? You’ll want to think carefully about your company’s strongest assets here — there’s a good chance that unless a visitor is looking for something in particular, he or she won’t click to see what tabs aren’t being displayed. While you’re required to display the Photos tab, you can get creative with the other three so highlight the apps that are most engaging. For example, check out how the “get connected” tab on JCPenney’s page links to a landing page where you can subscribe to their updates. Also, keep in mind that you can change the images on these tabs, so use the dimensions 111 x 74 to come up with something aesthetically pleasing that works with your cover photo.

Want more tips? Check out our blog post on 5 Ways to Maximize Facebook Presence.

Molly Hoffmeister

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2 responses to Facebook Timeline: 3 Brands to Learn From

  1. Thanks for including my Copyblogger tips article! I like the example uses you found.

    • Molly Hoffmeister April 9, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      Thanks for the feedback, Danielle! And thank you for your great tips on cover photos, very helpful.