5 Tricks that Every Marketer Needs to Know to Exploit the New Facebook Page Design

Come March 30th 2012 every active Facebook Fan Page will be flipped over to the new design called The Timeline. Personal Profiles have been using a similar design for some time now. (Pages can choose to push the new design live before that date, but you might want to read the rest of this post before you do so.)

Plenty of posts have been written about all the new features, but I want to point out a few that I think are ripe for marketers.

The obligatory debate rages on about whether or not this format is good or bad for companies, smart marketers are discovering some tweak that need to be made in order to get the most from the new design. (You can get some helpful tips on pages from the Facebook Help page as well)

The Cover Image

The Cover Image dominates the Facebook real estate

The biggest change from a design standpoint is the addition of what Facebook is calling the Cover Image. This 851 x 315 pixel image dominates the head of the page and while this tip isn’t much of a trick as a reality – use this space!

Because the image so dominates the design of the page make sure you send a very strong visual image with this real estate. There are some rules that Facebook is going to enforce, such as no calls to action and no references to “Like” or other Facebook terms.

You will also have the ability to tuck a profile kind of square image (180 x 180) into the cover. The sizes and position of these images are fixed but you can get pretty creative with this space. The main bit of advice is to get an image that says a lot about what your brand is all about.

The About Box

The About tag offers a nice branding opportunity

Down below the Cover Image is the About tab. This box links to the traditional about page that has always existed. However, you now have the ability to dictate what show up on your Facebook homepage in this box.

Edit your about settings to dictate what shows on the about tab

If you’re set up as a local business in your Facebook About settings then the default for the About box is your address and phone. This may be fine, but if you would rather have a tagline and link to your website, then edit your About settings. Keep the text short, about 90 characters including web address, so that it doesn’t fall off the page.

Tab Calls to Action

Create custom calls to action for your other pages and apps

To the right of the About box you’ll see images for all of your current pages and apps or what used to be called tabs. You can now have 12 apps and pages listed and the first four will show up on this bar.

Here’s the cool trick for this one. Now you get to create images for these apps instead of simply using the default app or page images. So now if you want to send someone to a page to grab a free eBook you can use an image to create a call to action. You simply open the page and hit edit settings and then upload a 111 x 74 pixel image that you want to represent your page. You can rearrange the order of the tabs to make the four most important stand out.

The Pin

You can pin an item to the top of your page for 7 days

Another way to bring focus to something you are marketing is to pin a story or item to the top of the page. As the admin you can pin a story for up to 7 days and will appear as your top story.

To pin an item you simply click on the edit button to the top right of a story and hit Pin to Top.

The Star

When you star or highlight an item it spreads across both columns

Facebook lines the posts and updates on your page up in two columns. If you want to bring special emphasis to an important post or highlight a product launch you can hit the star in the upper right corner of the update to highlight it.

This makes the post spread across the page and brings special emphasis to it.

Take the time to update these little features today. I’ve seen a traffic spike from Facebook due to some of these more marketing friendly little tweaks.

In the end though it’s still about the content. Make sure you continue to invest in the wall and creating visually and mentally stimulating content.

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • I have been hesitating with the timeline because I was not aware of the specific tactical things that I needed or should be doing with it. This is exactly what I needed. Time to implement now…. Thank you John.

    Todd Nielsen

    • There was a lot of how to written last week, but not enough “why to” – that’s what I tried to focus on.

      • Julie

        Thank you for the post   It has been a great help.  The only think I can’t figure out is how to rearrange the tabs.
        Please help!

  • SadieMichaelaHarris

    Clear and succinct overview John 🙂
    I’m really liking Timeline for Pages so far. Strict rules of play on Cover Photos and a lot of negative chatter in social spaces – mostly by marketers about FB’s decision to get rid of the ability to choose an alternative custom landing tab. On the upside not much chatter and seemingly overlooked by many;- I really like the fact that when a business changes it’s name, which often happens on a change of ownership the Page can apply to change it’s name via a drop down menu 🙂

    • Great point Sadie – that was very frustrating in the past. Complaining about change on Facebook is a bit of a hobby for some I guess.

    • This is a much needed change but I have not been able to find this out. Can you help where is the link to change the name?

  • Tom Robinson

    Some well-written and -conceived thoughts on getting the most from facebook; people, like yourself, are sharp to be able to whittle through the standard FB mix-mash, and provide us with a scaled down, ‘what we really need to know, and do’.  Thanks, always, Tom

  • John, Having my about box show my address and phone was really bugging me, thanks for the advice on how to change it to my website. Also your timeline cover photo is the best one I’ve seen. Cheers.

    •  Well thanks for that Matt and yes I’m guessing lots of folks are stumbling around with the About change as it took me a few tries to get it right.

  • Carrie Chase

    Editing the about section works differently depending your page’s category. I was set up as a local business and couldn’t keep my address and phone from appearing. Changing the page to the “Company” category allowed me to do it. Here’s what FB says about it: 

    Can I change the information that appears in the summary box below my Page’s profile picture?You can edit the information that appears in your Page’s summary box below its profile picture, but you can’t choose which fields display there. The types of information that appear in the summary box are specific to your Page’s category. For example, Pages for restaurants show price range, address, phone number and hours of operation in the summary box, while artist/musician Pages show the About field of the Page’s basic information. 

  • Spent all morning in a webinar on this topic Sat and the tip on the About box never came up – thanks!

  • Blair Nastasi

    So glad I came across this post. I’ve been stressing about the new Timeline layout for a week or so. It seems like once I get the old layout and algorithms down, they change things up again. This sums things up perfectly, and I agree – the new layout could be a great branding opportunity!


  • I think this post has some ‘profit’ implications for small businesses that do all manner of transactions online.

  • Thanks for such a great post!

  • Thanks for the simple explanations John. It is little wonder you are the master marketer and just tell it like it is. While the rest of the i.m. industry is dreaming new ways to game these sites you are delivering solid useful value. I am glad I am a subscriber on your list

  • Thank you so much for this excellent info which clarifies a number of things. It’s amazing how FB just produce these radical changes without much user-friendly guidance! Google give more notice at least…

  • Copywriter Matt

    Good post. I need to get out ahead and just do this. 

  • Nicole Mikkelsen Snow

    Love it, and just did it all! http://www.facebook.com/DGYarn

  • AJ Perisho

    Great tips John!

  • Sheila

    John, thanks for the great description.  I’d like your opinion concerning the upcoming FB changes.  Some say these changes will lower engagement with FB.  Having a forced email opt-in seems to be missed along with some of the old features.  What is your read of these changes?  

  • This is great! I haven’t changed my facebook page because I needed a guide like this, Thanks 🙂 

  • Excellent stuff!  Simple and easy breakdown of the new features.  

  • I am using timeline on my facebook account, personally I don’t like the layout itself because I think I will more like the new facebook page because of the new features but of course, you are right that is it all about the content. Thanks for your in depth explanation.

  • Pamela S

    Thanks for the tips!  We are lovin’ the new look on our page! Please come check it out and let us know what you all think  about it. Comments and suggestions are welcomed. Thanks! https://www.facebook.com/AllGodsCreaturesPetServices

  • gotwww

    here’s one more I haven’t see anywhere else – http://goo.gl/FBJ67 

  • Thanks for going into the details on how to take advantage of what could be some tricky spots for marketers, particularly the About Us section. I published the new http://facebook.com/exhibitcraft timeline fan page at 5:15 and couldn’t get why it said we were open for 15 minutes. I soon realized it was because the page was originally set up as a local business and we close at 5:30! You helped me see how to customize the info shared there. Thank you for adding such value, creativity and technical savviness to the marketing world. And beyond!

  • This is a great article John. Something to note is the importance of limiting “starred” posts. By only staring posts that are likely to be discussed and shared, you will likely generate more buzz than someone who stars every other piece of content.

    Two sites that have great timeline execution are Red Bull and Banana Republic.