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How to create the best Facebook Timeline for your newsroom

Your newsroom’s Facebook brand Page is getting a facelift. Starting March 30th, all brand Pages on Facebook will go to the new Timeline format. You have between now and then to get your Timeline setup and ready for release. Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Create a Meaningful Cover Photo

Facebook wants Timeline to be the “Face” of your brand Page. This means, they’ve eliminated your ability to set a “Custom Landing Tab”. Instead, every person who visits your brand page (regardless if they Like it or not) will go directly to the Page’s Timeline. This makes the Cover Photo (which measures 851 x 315) your best chance to connect with Fans and convince non-Fans to Like your Page. Be thoughtful and creative with your execution. Here are a few ideas on creating the best Cover Photo for your newsroom’s brand Page.

2. Manage Your Apps

Apps will now be at the top of your brand Page…displayed as a menu of sorts. You can display up to 12 Apps total. And you will be able to change the order in which they appear. However, only 4 will be visible immediately without the user needing to click an arrow (something very few people will ever do). Of those top 4…”Photos” is mandatory which means only 3 are customizable. So choose wisely.

Once you’ve selected the 3 Apps to showcase, be sure to optimize the photo and text. The ideal Custom Tab Image is 111×74 pixels. Otherwise, Facebook will resize it. Unlike the old Custom Tab Image which was so small, it was practically invisible…this new image can be key to promoting the App and getting your Fans to interact with it. A few ideas:

  • Include a call to action such as “Click Here to Enter to Win an iPad2″.
  • Experiment with design and color so that the Custom Tab Image really stands out.
  • Update the Custom Tab Name so that it is as descriptive as possible.

3. Update Your Info

There’s a prominent spot for text just below your profile pic in the new Timeline layout. This will display the information typed in the “About”section of the brand Page Settings.

Because this text is taking up such valuable real estate….be sure you update it to include something meaningful. Also, you could consider updating it anytime you want to push viewers toward a certain App or even to promote something on your broadcast.

4. Pin Important 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 post a Page admin pins to the top of their Page will remain there for 7 days. After that, it’ll return to the date it was posted on the Page’s timeline. This is a great way to feature a big story or to draw attention to a contest App.

Take a look at TODAY and ESPN‘s brand pages and let us know what you think about the new format.

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