You know I like Facebook pages for law firms and other businesses. I frequently speak and write about the power of a good Facebook page. Alas, the other day I experienced a little bit of a freak out when I saw that Facebook was implementing the Timeline for pages. It wasn’t a surprise, I knew that Facebook planned to change pages to the Timeline layout, but I figured that Facebook would leave in some of the more important features of pages, for example, the ability to have a number of tabs along with a special landing page.
Unfortunately, Facebook got rid of the landing page and placed the tabs in a location where visitors can only easily see three. The visitors have to proactively hit an icon to see the rest of the tabs. Clearly Facebook decided to test the creativity of page designers with these changes.
The first thing I did was change the Facebook page of Freedman Consulting so I could see how the changes would work. I used a lot of tabs as well as a welcome page on Freedman’s page, so I knew it would be a good test subject. I also knew I wouldn’t be messing with any of my clients’ pages, which is, of course, important to me.
Now, about 24 hours later, I believe I have figured out how to deal with the negative and take advantage of the positive. I simply had to wrap my head around the changes and think how to turn them to the benefit of my own firm as well as my clients’ firms.
Here is what I discovered and decided.
The cover photo is a bit fussy, but once you get the size right, it is a nice bit of real estate that can be changed frequently. For example, one firm I work with likes to do Sweepstakes. I realized relatively quickly that I could create an image as well as a note for the award. This actually makes the fact that we are running a Sweepstakes very noticeable. Changing the image is as easy as creating a new picture, adding the correct text, and uploading it to the page. When we aren’t running Sweepstakes I will simply put the firm’s logo, a picture of the attorneys, or whatever else I think is appropriate.
For Freedman Consulting, I put our logo. But as it happens we are running a Sweepstakes now too for a Free CLE seminar. So I will be changing the cover page to reflect that fact.
For a solo firm I created an image with the person’s name, tagline, and areas of practice.
The options really are endless, they just need to fit inside the image space which is 850 by 315 pixels. However, as I said, it can be fussy. Even when I have placed an image that is exactly the right size, it sometimes gets a bit messed up. I think this must relate to the same bug that I experienced with Google+ profile pictures. I found that the same procedure I followed for Google+ images resolved the problem here. See the directions in that post for how to resolve the problem.
The profile picture needs to fit well within the cover picture. The two need to go together in a way that is not distracting or ugly. You also need to make certain that the profile picture does not block an important part of the cover image.
The profile picture should be 180×180 pixels, it is then scaled down to 32×32. Again, it can be fussy. I had to follow the same technique as for Google+ profile pictures again here, with certain images. Incidentally, I notice this problem is more likely with a picture that has a white background or a lot of blank space in it.
Remember to use the scale to fit feature, if necessary, so that the profile picture shows up correctly next to each post.
Milestones and Pinning
Facebook has added a new feature called milestones. A milestone is a bit like a post, except it is more obvious and you can accompany it with an uploaded picture. The milestone has space for date, location and other information. So if you are having an event, a milestone is a great way to feature it.
You can also now pin both milestones and posts. When you pin either one, it is pushed to the top. So if you have a post you want to remain obvious, you can just pin it.
Pinning a post or a milestone is another way to make up for the fact that we have lost the landing page. It can spell out whatever information you want users to see when they first visit your page.
The milestone images can be about 840×400 pixels.
I am going to summarize image size here, because a lot of people will be looking for that information.
Cover 850 x 315
Profile 180 x 180 reduces to 32 x 32
Milestone 840 x 400
Also, I recommend this post by Dennis Smith. He does a good job of outlining the different image sizes.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with the new Timeline lay out. While Facebook has made it hard to take advantage of some features which we were used to having, it has also added some pretty cool items as well. Use this opportunity to think of new ways to encourage your potential clients and customers to engage with you.