So every once in a while, Facebook decides to make a MAJOR change to its structure. Over the past year or so, there have been some major internal changes going on that have allowed more and more changes to the way we use and interact with Facebook.
Today, Facebook announced one of those major updates, this time specifically for Pages. The last major update was in early 2011, when Facebook decided to make Pages more like Profiles. Now Facebook will again make Pages look more like Profiles, except now they will look like the new Timeline Profiles.
In this post, I want to talk about 3 things:
- The FEATURES of the new Timelines for Pages
- What this means for WEDDING VENDORS specifically
- TIPS on making the mandatory switch
I’ll also give you some free templates so you can easily create a perfect Timeline Cover to fit your branding.
Features Of The New Timeline For Pages
First of all lets talk about a few of the main features with the new Facebook Pages. I won’t spend TOO much time on this, because you can read all about it on the official Facebook help for Pages (they created a pretty awesome video that goes over all the new features, and it is well worth your time to watch – learnfacebookpages.com). Of all the changes, a few really stand out.
1. The new Cover Photo for your Timeline.
The new Timeline Covers give you TONS of real estate to show off what your business is all about. This is a GREAT thing when you are trying to catch a brides attention quickly. The exact cover size is 851px by 315px. Keep in mind that there are several rules as to what you can and can’t include in this cover photo. For example, no calls to action or web addresses are allowed. Keep it simple and use something that really captures the essence of your business.
2. Full Page Apps and “Views”
Now Apps take up the full 850 pixels. Facebook replaced the navigation (tabs) on the left with these apps, which they call “views.” Since the Views are full width, it makes your page more like a website. If you really know what you are doing, you could create an entire website within your Facebook Page. I’ll be on the lookout for good apps to allow easy editing of full width views and I’ll be sure to post an update.
3. Pinned and Starred posts
With the Pinned and Starred posts, you can feature your favorite content by making it larger than everything else, or pinning it to the top of the page (for up to 7 days). This is a really cool feature for wedding vendors, because you can feature your favorite weddings, and pin recent weddings so that your daily updates don’t cover up the content brides are really looking for.
4. Square only Profile Pictures
The new profiles pictures are 180x180px squares that are sized down to 32x32px everywhere else on the site. These are intended to be used for logos or other simple icons that can represent your business.
What This Means For Wedding Vendors
If you take advantage of the new changes, they can really be especially beneficial to wedding vendors. More than any other category, it is especially a good change for wedding photographers. If you are not a wedding photographer, this change makes it really important that you make a new photographer friend. The whole change is based on the idea that strong visual branding really works. In Facebook’s video, they suggest making your cover an image that is as unique as your business. This photo shouldn’t just be any ol’ photo. This is your chance to WOW a potential bride with details that she can’t live without. Finding a photographer who can help you create that would be a smart move.
One major change is that you can’t send brides to a default landing page anymore. The default landing page will ALWAYS be the Timeline on the new Pages. This means you need to make an impression so strong that you convince a bride that she can’t leave your page without clicking the like button. You need to make that impression with your cover photo, your profile picture, and your pinned and featured posts. The perfect thing about wedding is that they are typically weekly events. You can post updates to your Facebook page throughout the week, but pin the most recent wedding for up to 7 days. Then you can pick your favorite weddings of the year and make them span the entire page so they really stand out and get more clicks.
Posting frequently is more important than ever, because interaction is more important than ever. Now the Facebook pages will feature interaction by any of your friends on the page. That way, the visit way more personal because you automatically see what your friends have said about the page. Lets say you have a new bride who is interested in your services, and she comes across your Page on Facebook. If that new bride is friends with anyone who likes your Page, or anyone who has recently interacted with your Page, she will see that interaction highlighted near the top of the Page. Then your Facebook referral also becomes a word of mouth referral, and they are WAY more likely to contact you.
Tips On Making the Mandatory Switch
Yes, the switch to the new Pages IS mandatory, and if you don’t do it by March 30th, Facebook will do it for you. Of course you don’t want to let Facebook switch everything and leave you with a blank cover and a profile picture that doesn’t look right. Here are some tips to help you make the switch.
1. Make sure your information is current. The new page will have a view that displays all your information in a full width Page. You don’t want it looking empty or having old information. Also realize that only two pieces of your information will show up in the navigation bar, so you may have to choose between listing a phone number, address, and website if you want them listed on the front page.
2. Get rid of applications and landing pages that you wont be using. You can just remove the apps from your pages favorites so they don’t show up in the main navigation. Here are the instructions on how to do this.
3. This one is important so I’ll say it again… FIND A PHOTOGRAPHER to help you with some awesome photos. You can probably find someone who is willing to give you a significant discount or even shoot some of your work for free in exchange for referrals or rights to use the images. If you are a wedding photographer, use some of your best work for your cover.
4. Get inspired! Here are a few ideas to get you started, but check out some of your favorite major brands, as well as other wedding vendors who have made the switch. Be creative!
Corey Potter Photographer – consider using more than one image in your cover photo. You have the opportunity to use so much more space than before with the small profile pictures.
Magnolia Bakery – Notice how the photo makes you WANT to eat the deserts! Create desire for your product or services by displaying them LARGE!
Canlis – A great idea for a wedding venue or restaurant. Display not only the beauty, but also the ambiance of the venue with a photo.
Tiffany – Even a simple image can have impact. Use the colors and style to match your current marketing.
Roman Salon – Again, show what makes you different, and feature the ambiance if you have a location with character. Show what makes you different so brides can understand just by looking at the cover photo!
To help you get started, I’m going to include a Photoshop file with guides around the logo, so you can design accurately. I’ll also include the template for the Bride Formula Cover, and the Corey Potter Photographer Cover. Hopefully these will help you get something up quickly that really reflects your brand! These templates require Photoshop, and basic knowledge on how to use layers and guides, but if you can’t figure them out, use them as inspiration, and a starting point. Again, you can probably find a local wedding photographer who knows how to do this for you.
Do you have other tips about the new Facebook Pages? How do you think this will be a game changer? Any other specific ideas about how it can benefit the bridal industry?
Leave some comments below to keep the conversation and ideas going!
Thanks so much for checking out Bride Formula.
My name is Corey Potter and I’m a professional wedding photographer. After all the frustration that comes along with starting a new bridal business, I almost decided to give up and move on to something else. Then I realized that some of the fundamental rules of marketing (especially online marketing) can be applied to a bridal business, then tweaked a little bit to specifically reach brides…
That realization changed my business in the best possible way. I went from a few weddings a year and a feeling of hopelessness to more weddings than I can handle alone. I know there are so many other people out there who are dealing with the same issues… and I want others to experience the same feeling of success and freedom that I have found by implementing the system I call the Bride Formula.
You can get the ENTIRE formula for free… just enter your email at the top of the page. In the meantime, I’ll be posting random helpful thoughts on this blog… so check it out frequently and don’t forget to follow on Facebook and Twitter!
Thanks again for stopping by! I can’t wait to hear how the Bride Formula changes your business!