All Facebook pages for brands will change automatically to the new Timeline layout on Mar. 30. For many brands, the change delivers a mix of excitement and fear. But the shift to the new format also presents opportunity—and that’s where PR and marketing professionals come in.
Agencies can prevent their clients from panicking about the change and educate them on what Timeline for pages means for business.
From the basic to the detailed, here are five steps to prepare your clients for Timeline:
1. Warn your clients that change is coming
This tip may seem obvious, but there is usually a client or two that won’t believe change until he or she sees it—despite the thousands of stories and announcements about it.
With fewer than two weeks left before the official switchover, it’s time to inform this client that it's really happening—whether he or she likes it or not. Reassure the client that everything is going to continue to function. And remember: Your client should hear about the changes from a trusted source—you
—and not outside sources.
2. Bring yourself up to speed
One of the best things you can do for your clients is become an expert on Timeline. They will be looking to you for advice, tips, and education on the new layout. Do your research, and you’ll look like a rock star. Here are a few resources:
An example to follow: The Sierra Club is using Facebook Timeline in an innovative manner. Read about it here.
- Five things PR pros should know about Timeline: Storytelling is important. Read about it here.
- Infographic: 10 things to know about revamped Facebook pages. Check it out here.
Also, make sure your company’s page has been changed to Timeline and is using all of its features. If a client sees you successfully using Timeline, he or she will have an easier time with the transition and you’ll be able to answer any questions.
3. Console your clients
Change can be tough, especially one that affects a major source of communication between businesses and their target audience. Tell your clients that the change to Timeline is an improvement. Share with them the new options available through Timeline, such as adding milestones.
The milestone feature gives businesses the opportunity to add depth to their social media presence. They can discuss the origins of their business, highlight important dates, and reach their fans on a personal level.
Additional features available through Timeline include the large cover photo at the top of the page, which enables businesses to highlight their brand with an arresting image that grabs visitors’ attention. Pinned and highlighted posts are a great way to show off a custom app or feature something that is of particular interest to fans.
A useful resource is Mashable's Complete Guide to Timeline for brands
4. Discuss the benefits of Timeline
Take time to educate your clients on the benefits of the change to Timeline. New features such as the cover photo open doors for creativity. Pinning and highlighting posts, as mentioned a moment ago, can help spread the word about milestones and apps.
When explaining the benefits, discuss the guidelines from Facebook. For instance, Facebook explains that the cover photo should not include contact information, pricing or purchase information, references to “liking” your page, or calls to action.
You can read all of the guidelines here
Another thing you might mention is the elimination of the default landing page apps. Some clients might fear this change, but it enables businesses to be more creative and feature more content through custom apps since the workspace size has increased to 810 pixels.
5. Encourage your clients to try Timeline before Mar. 30
Facebook unveiled the new look to brand pages on Feb. 29 to offer brands a grace period.
Take advantage of it. Encourage your clients to start adjusting their page to fit Timeline as soon as possible. This way they can run their ideas and questions by you before publishing and can make the switch ahead of the deadline while maintaining their social strategy.
Plus, this is a great opportunity for some spring-cleaning on a Facebook page. Take a look at what’s been working and not working and try something new.
Jim Belosic is the CEO of ShortStack, a self-service social media platform that allows users to create custom Facebook apps.