Facebook Timeline – Are you ready to make a change?

“All great changes are preceded by chaos.” -Deepak Chopra

Sounds really deep, right? Relax, this is not a philosophical post – but there is definitely some chaos in trying to navigate all of the changes Facebook is implementing for business pages.

Last Wednesday, Facebook announced that Timeline, which has been available for personal profiles for several months, is indeed coming to business pages. This occurred after many months of speculation of what these new Business Page Timelines could look like. So from now until March 30, you have a chance to create, edit, and perfect your new Business Page and “Publish” when you are ready. But March 30 will come quickly. What are some of these new changes? Well, I’m glad you asked…

Key Changes

No more default landing pages Currently in the web-o-sphere, this is one of the most unfavorable changes. Facebook iframes or custom tabs do still exist, but you lose the option to set them as the default tab. Previously, page tabs were 520px wide, but with the new layout you have 810px of content area to use. The Wall will be the default for all. You now get room for up to 12 apps, and only four can be showcased at the top of your page.

No more fan-gating – With no default landing tabs, the option to “hide” content until someone has Liked your page is no more.

New admin panel – I have to admit, the nerd in me got really excited about this one. Each admin gets to see a quick snapshot of how the page has been performing recently, a brief look at the Insights, new Likes, and…


Messages from your fans! –
Fans can now message the brand page! This is a fantastic feature for customer service. This feature technically rolled out before Timeline, but it was not nearly as prominent.

Add key dates to your history –Tiffany & Co., Manchester United and Coca Cola (click on the dates to the right of each of these) have done a great job telling the story of their brand on their Timelines. ‘Nuf said.

Cover photo –
This is one of the biggest changes to the profile. You now have the ability to add a large photo to the top of your profile. Facebook has stated that cover photos must not use the word “Like”, “Share” or other Call to Actions. There are some other restrictions you should check out too, as well as the correct dimensions for your cover photo.

An even more personalized experience – Old business pages would tell you how many of your friends also liked that page (that feature is still there) but now you can also see if one of your friends has mentioned that brand in a post.

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, this is a lot of change, but it’s also a great opportunity to evaluate your strategy for Facebook and really enhance your presence. The Newsfeed is where the majority of your fans will see your content – so yes, while these Timeline changes are big and important, your content still needs to be relevant, useful and engaging to your audience. While the channels of social media may change and evolve, the general content principles never will. 

If you want to see some of these changes in action, head on over to our Facebook page and check it out. And if you need a little help making some of these changes, give me a call or shoot me a quick email.

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The 996 Grid: Making Websites Look Great from Desktop to Mobile with Our Responsive Framework

You may have heard about CSS grid frameworks for assisting in web design, such as 960.gs, Blueprint, or Golden Grid. These grids almost act as wire frames for web design and allow you to streamline your development process while ensuring consistency and cross-browser support. There are many out there to choose from, but I had a few specific requirements. I wanted a grid that had plenty of room for design but didn’t attempt to fill every last pixel. Also the ability to reformat the elements on a page for tablets and mobile was definitely needed. There were quite a few that came close and seemed to work well, but in the end I decided to make my own path through the CSS grid jungle.

Using the 960 grid as a starting point I decided that the 940px inner-space was just too small. Upping that 30 more pixels makes things a little less cramped and allows for a larger gutter between the columns. I wanted to ensure that the overall grid size did not push too close to 1024px because there are those who still use smaller screens, but still has minimal margins on larger resolutions.

After getting the grid dimensions at optimal sizes, I set out on a task of adding media queries to allow the content to restructure based on browser width. There are many grids that implement a “fluid” structure, but avoiding and using a fixed width ensures that content is laid out much more precisely on each screen. Electing to have 3 smaller sizes, they are sized to approximately tablet, landscape mobile and portrait mobile. The first step down still implements a grid structure, however with smaller columns and gutters while still maintaining a readable size. After that the content is stacked to allow mobile users a convenient view of the site without eliminating any content.

Lastly, the framework includes a slightly modified version of the html5 boilerplate, which offers cross-browser normalization and performance optimizations. The Modernizr JavaScript library is also included which can assist in making sure websites work exactly right, no matter what browser it is viewed in.

The 996 Grid is still a work-in-progress and the latest updates can be viewed on GitHub. Hopefully the 996 Grid will be useful for those who are still searching for a grid and have yet to find what they are looking for.

Read more: http://996Grid.com