Facebook Timeline

On March 30th a dramatically different Facebook page format will replace the current main page. Facebook Timeline will become mandatory for all organizational Facebook pages…including yours. That gives you just about two weeks to get ready, and our tip this month is all about helping you put your best foot forward during this changeover.

First, the good news: we’ve determined that this Timeline change does far more good than it does harm, and provides significant new opportunities for you to effectively present your organization on Facebook and generate traffic, engagement and financial support.

The problematic change you should be aware of is the loss of default landing pages, also known as splash pages. For many nonprofits, these pages functioned as a useful first experience for new visitors to the organization. With the move to Timeline, it will no longer be possible to set a separate default landing page, so the splash pages—while still technically functional—will no longer be the point of arrival for a first-time visitor.

Fortunately, the Timeline page itself now does a much better job of introducing visitors to the organization and providing significant ways to get engaged – provided that you as an organization are taking the right steps now to make the most of it. Here are some tips to help you do just that:

  • Use the cover photo strategically: Facebook has dedicated significant space to this image. Russ Reid recommends developing a strategy specifically for the use of this space, featuring images that powerfully convey your organization’s work. Also, plan to frequently update the image in a way that corresponds to your critical campaigns, seasons and offers. Manage it in much the same way you would the feature space on your website – in fact, correlating the two may be an idea worth pursuing.
  • Pin critical content: It will now be possible to “pin” content to the top of your Timeline page. This provides organizations with interesting new ways to emphasize and promote certain content, and as with the Timeline image, we recommend developing a strategy for pinned content (possibly related to what you are doing with the Timeline cover photo and navigation tiles).
  • Tell the story of your cause: The timeline itself can be a powerful tool for telling the story of your cause: where it began, why it grew and the important stories that define its history. For an excellent example of this, check out the Livestrong Timeline page:http://www.facebook.com/livestrong. This organization has gone back to the beginning of the timeline and built in a powerful, visual narrative of the origin and growth of its cause.

If you haven’t begun your move toward the Timeline page, now is the time to get started. If we can help, or if you’d like to hear more on this topic, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.