Facebook Timeline for Businesses: 10 Most Important Features You Need to Know

Facebook Timeline for brands has finally rolled out and every Business Page will be automatically be switched to the new Timeline by March 30th 2012. So like it or not, you’ll have to make the proper adjustments to your Business Page.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Covers

The Timeline cover picture is where you can really make a real impression on your visitors so try to be creative! Use a unique image that represents your Page and business. You can change the cover as many times as you wish, for events, different seasons, using different themes, etc. as long as you’re following Facebook’s terms.

According to Facebook, your cover image cannot contain:

  • Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”
  • Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section
  • References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features
  • Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”

Covers must not be false, deceptive or misleading, and must not infringe on third parties’ intellectual property. You may not encourage or incentivize people to upload your cover image to their personal timelines.

Cover Pictures Size

For best results, your cover picture should be 851pixel by 315pixel.

2. Profile Pictures

The big profile banners on the left are now gone. This has been replaced by a simple profile picture which shows on the bottom left corner of your cover image. This might be a good place to display your company logo or any image that represents your brand across your different social media channels.

Profile Picture Size

Your profile picture should be 180 pixel by 180 pixel. This will display at 124px by 125px.

[update April 20, 2012: The profile pictures are getting resized on April 26th. The new profile pictures will be 160 x 160 pixels and will sit at 23 pixels from the left and 210 pixels from the top of the Page.]

3. Custom Pages and Apps

You are no longer able to set a default landing Page. This was used by many businesses to direct people to a custom page such as a Welcome or promotion page. With the new Timeline, visitors land directly on your Page wall. This will definitely make people upset as many businesses had invested in this feature.

Custom Pages Size

Custom Pages which used to be 520 pixels wide can now be up to 810 pixels wide (794px of content plus margins).

4. Tabs

Your tabs for apps, pictures, videos, events and likes now appear under your Page cover. You can have up to 12 tabs but only 4 appear under the cover and the picture tab is the first one to appear and cannot be moved. To change the order of the other tabs:

  1. Expand the views and apps menu by clicking on the    to the right of your Page’s views and apps
  2. Hover over the position you’d like to put a view or app and click the pencil icon  that appears
  3. Choose the view or app you’d like to swap into that spot from the menu

To remove a view or app, select Remove from Favorites in step 3.

Also, you can now change the large thumbnails tabs for most apps you DIDN’T create. Here’s how:

Click: Admin Panel > Manage > Edit Page > Apps. Click “Edit Settings”, then next to “Custom Tab Image” click “Change”.

Tabs size

You can upload a 111 pixel by 74 pixel image to replace the one that’s there.

5. Pinning posts

Pinned posts are Page posts that admins have chosen to display prominently at the top of their Page. A pinned post always appears in the top left of a Page’s timeline and has a  flag in its top-right corner. A pinned post will remain there for 7 days. After that, it’ll return to the date it was posted on the Page’s timeline.

Posts from people who like a Page are not eligible to be pinned posts. Page admins can only pin posts created by the Page.

Since you can no longer set a default landing Page, pinning items to the top of the Timeline might be a good strategy to include; images, blog posts, call-to-action asking for the visitors to click one of your tabs under the cover photo or anything else that might promote engagement.  

6. Highlight posts

Highlight important stories by clicking on the star icon in the top right corner of your post. This will expend your post over the two columns making it more visible for your visitors.

7. Messages

Page visitors can now send private messages to Page owners. This is a fantastic new feature!

Note that as far as I know, Pages still can’t initiate the contact unless they’re replying in a message sent by the fan. 

8. Milestones

Milestones are key moments you’ve decided to highlight on your Page. Milestones are automatically expanded to widescreen and will display pictures at 843 pixels wide and 403 pixels tall.

To add a milestone:

  1. Click Milestone in the sharing tool at the top of your Page’s timeline
  2. Add a headline, location, date and details for your milestone
  3. Choose to add a photo
  4. Click Save

You can also add Milestone from anywhere on your Page’s timeline, scroll to a spot and click  + to post a milestone or other type of story to a particular date.

Here again, this allows you to get creative and use this feature to add important and interesting events you want to share with your visitors.

 9. About

You can use around 160 characters (including spaces) in your “about” section. It’s also a good idea to add a link to your website in this section. You can change the description by clicking on the about box.

If your Facebook Page is categorized as a Place Page or Local Business, the “About” content for your Timeline will show an address, phone number, and hours. If you want to change the category of your page:

Click: Admin Panel > Manage > Edit Page > Basic Information. Click “category”, then select the appropriate category for your business and finally click Save Changes at the bottom.

10. Admin Panel

You can access the admin panel at the top of your Page. It offers a quick snapshot of  your notifications, and also gives you access to your Insights, New Likes and Messages. You can also manage and edit your page from there. You can choose to hide and expand the admin panel from view.

Other features you should know

Friend Activity: On the right side of your Timeline, people will see stories about how their friends are interacting  with your Page throughout your Page timeline. When visiting your Page, each visitors will see a different view of the right side of your Timeline according to how their friends have interacted with your page.

Activity Log: Under the manage button, you can view all your Page posts from the activity log, even the ones you’ve chosen to hide. You can also highlight, delete, hide or change the date of a post from here.

Posts Dates: You can change the date of a post at anytime and it will move it up or down your Timeline according to your date.


According to Social Media Examiner:

Some studies show that a whopping 90% of Facebook users don’t return to a fan page once they click the Like button. They only see and interact with your content in their news feed.

It’s very important that you try to keep your audience engaged so that your posts appear in their newsfeed. This also tells us that although you should optimize your Facebook Page Timeline features, investing thousands of dollars in the design might not be the best place to put your money. It is definitely possible to create a successful Facebook Page without breaking the bank!

Simply make sure that you understand all the Timeline features and how to best use them, create a posting strategy, make a unique visual impact for your visitors and add valuable posts on a consistent basis to your Timeline.

Learn more

Take a look at Facebook interactive course to learn more about Pages.

What do you think about the new Facebook Timeline for Brands?

Source: Facebook.com/help, Hyperarts.com


Genevieve Lachance is a web marketing consultant who has a passion for social media and technology based in Montreal, Canada. Read More About Me »