Everything You Need to Know About Timeline for Facebook Pages

by Jamie M Swanson

facebook timeline business pages

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As of March 30, 2012 your Facebook business page will be converted to a Timeline and the old structure of pages will be gone.

While at first this seemed like it was going to be another negative change made by Facebook, after doing a bunch of research I actually think this is going to benefit photographers fairly significantly.

Regardless, whether you like it or not, you’re going to have to change over on March 30th, so I thought I’d share with you everything you need to know about the Timeline for Facebook Pages (including some secrets at the end for really stepping things up!).

Introduction Timeline for Facebook Pages

(Click photo for a larger version of the image.)

Facebook Timeline Tour

1. Large cover image

This is now the first thing people see when they go to your Facebook page. You can no longer set a different page to be the default landing tab of your page (although these tabs still exist, more on them in #5 below). This is probably the only big downfall of the switch to Timeline, but it’s better for those of us who don’t have the time or resources to create something cool and custom for that tab because our images can speak for us more.

WARNING! Read these rules about cover images!

Facebook has created very strict rules as to what you can and cannot put on your cover image.

The basic guideline is that you can’t put anything on it that you’d put in your about page. The specifics can be read about in their guidelines.

No website url or any contact information at all, no calls to action (so no arrows asking people to like your page, no text telling them to visit your website, etc), and no blatant advertising.

Don’t be tempted to break this rule. It’s not worth risking your page being shut down (and yes, Facebook does that every so often to people.)

You CAN show your logo, however. I think Coca Cola does a great job with being creative, showing their brand, and creating a feeling of community.

coca cola facebook page

Free Facebook Timeline Cover Template

facebook timline cover image template

You can download a free Facebook Timeline Cover template for photoshop by clicking right here: Facebook-Timeline-Cover-Image.psd (You may need to right-click and “save as” or “save target as”).

Make sure to delete the overlay layer showing you where the small profile image sits on it and all the info is written before saving. No idea if this works with elements or not, so if it doesn’t, sorry!

2. Profile Image

The profile image sits on top of the cover image on the bottom left. It actually covers up more of the cover photo when viewed on small mobile devices like the iPhone, so don’t make your design dependent on it not moving at all.

The profile image is 126 x 126 pixels as a thumbnail, but I suggest using a photo that is 720 x 720 pixels as then people can see the big image if they click on it. As long as you keep your image square, it will completely fill the square as a thumbnail.

This is what will show when people link to your page or like your page, so you’ll want it to be something that catches the eye. I chose to put my logo in there for our wedding photography business. I also show a few different examples of how people have used this creatively at the end of the post.

Free Facebook Timeline Profile Image Template

Facebook profile image template

You can download a free Facebook Timeline Profile Image template for photoshop by clicking right here: Facebook-Timeline-Profile-Image.psd (You may need to right-click and “save as” or “save target as”).

Again, make sure to delete the overlay layer showing you where image overlaps the cover image and all the info is written before saving. No idea if this works with elements or not, so if it doesn’t, sorry!

3. About your business

There’s a range of different things that go here depending on your page. I wanted to type out a description and link to my site here, and I keep getting questions about how to do it, so here’s the step-by-step answer!

Go to “Manage” on your admin panel and select “Edit Page.”

edit facebook page

Then on the left, select the following options:

facebook page category

You can also select “Photographer” from the Sub-Categories right below there, and then instead of seeing “Small Business” on the first line of the front page, it’ll say “Photographer”. You can visit my page if you want to see it in action.

facebook page sub category

Make sure to save your changes at the bottom of the screen after doing this! Changes may take a few minutes to show up.

Now, anything you put in the “About” line of your information will show up on the front, including links. Pretty sweet.

4. Messages for Pages – A Mixed Blessing

People can use this to send messages to your page directly instead of to you as a person.

While this is awesome, and I love it, you aren’t currently notified when you get messages unless you check your page, so be VERY careful not to miss a message!

If you’re afraid you won’t remember to check it, you can turn it off. Just go to Manage then Edit Page and then deselect the Show Message button.

5. Your Former Tabs

This is where your former custom tabs show up if you had any. Photos will always go first, but otherwise if you have more than 3 or 4 you can arrange the order in which they show up.

The biggest loss here is that you can’t set one of these to be the default landing page anymore, so it’s not going to be as powerful as it once was. Boo.

6. Pinned Posts

While you can’t have a default landing page or advertise on your cover image, you CAN pin a post to the top of your page for people to see. This will have a little orange ribbon on the top right side of the post. When you hover over your post, you’ll see the star & pencil icons show up in the upper right-hand corner of the post. Click on the pencil and you’ll see the following options:

facebook edit post options

Select “Pin to Top” and the post will pin to the top of your Timeline in the left-hand column.

This can stay pinned for up to 7 days, so it’s not a permanent pin like I originally thought it would be, but it’s something that you can continue to use throughout time.

Reposition Photo

The other handy thing to note in this menu is that you can change how the picture is positioned (or cropped from view) if you do not like the default position. Kind of a handy little feature for those of us who are visually creative. Just click the button, drag the photo around, and save. No zooming in and out, but at least it is something!

Hide from Page

If there’s something you want to broadcast to your followers that you don’t want cluttering up your timeline for everyone to see, you can select to “Hide” it as well. I honestly see no reason to do this at all, but I want as much engagement as I can get so I want it all out there.

7. Friend Activity

This is by far one of the things I’m most excited about as far as all the changes go.

This section will look different for everyone who visits, although it will all be formatted the same.

First it tells you how many of your friends like this page (and how many have checked in, if you have that enabled).

facebook friends who like this social proof

Really cool.

Then down below, it shows a status update from a friend of yours about your page. What I find interesting is that your page might not even be tagged in it, and it may still show up. For example, I see this on the Coca Cola Facebook page from one of my Facebook Friends, even though Coca Cola isn’t tagged and isn’t even spelled the same:

facebook social proof friend status

When people see that their friends like a page and have written comments on it right there in front of them, they’re more likely to engage and like it as well. Super powerful.

8. Highlight Stories & Milestones

Want to have a post stretch all the way across both columns of your Timeline? Click the little star in the top right side of your post. Voila! Big image, same size as the cover. While I wouldn’t do that for every post, it is nice to do something like that for occasional posts that have more importance. I plan to do it each time I post a wedding, and then gift that cover image to my couples along with their digital images.

Remember, you can re-adjust the crop by clicking the pencil icon, which is super helpful when it crops to such a narrow size.

Milestones

These are very similar to the highlight stories, but they seem to get even a bit more attention than highlights. You have to call it a milestone when you create it, which you can see right above the box where you create your status.

Interestingly enough, the size of the Milestone photo is different from the canvas image. It’s 843 x 403 pixels, so just slightly narrower and significantly taller.

Tiffany did a great job of using a Milestone, and using a white background made it look like it is larger than it is. Really beautiful. In fact, visit their page and feast your eyes on their big beautiful photos in their timeline. Go ahead, this post will be here when you’re ready for it again.

tiffany on facebook

9. Admin Panel & Messages

This is where you see your notifications & messages. It’s pretty self-explanatory. You’ll get notifications to the left of your Facebook newsfeed for anything that shows up in the notifications column, but NOT for the messages. This actually shows you the first few lines of each of the messages, but you don’t have any way of knowing when you get one unless someone sends it. I’m hoping Facebook changes this soon.

10. Insights & Statistics

This shows you your most current likes and a generic graph of talking about this, reach, and posts. So you’ll see a dot each time you post (which changes in size based on how often you post daily), you’ll see reach which is how many people see it (so friends of friends or things like that) and then talking about this is when people engage with your content or talk about it in a way that can be tied back to your page (like in the Coke vs Coca Cola example above).

You can click through to see more Insights, but I’m not going to go into them now as that’s a whole different post in and of itself.

BONUS! The extra little stuff you can do to rock your Facebook page!

Here’s a few extra little tips to help make your page amazing and get more people engaged & hiring you.

Highlight awesome client comments using the Activity Log

Right now when other people post on your Timeline, it shows up as a small post right under where you see your friend activity.

It’s not given much fanfare, so if someone writes something really amazing, it gets a bit lost there. This is unfortunate.

Thankfully, by going into your Activity Log (click Manage, then Use Activity Log) you can see every action that’s happened by you or others in regards to your page, and you can hide certain posts, leave them as they are, or highlight them to give them more importance. You can do this to both your posts and to the posts others have made on your timeline.

You can even filter them to only show posts by others, so you can easily look through which ones you’d like to highlight.

facebook activity log secrets

So now those fabulous comments made by others can look like this on your timeline:

make recommendations big on facebook pages

Don’t just link to blog posts

Instead of just adding a link to your blog posts, upload one of the photos from the post and then link to the post in the description. Not only will it be more eye-catching, but photos are given more weight in the newsfeed than links, so more people are likely to see it.

Make your cover image & profile picture look awesome

Here’s a few cover images that I absolutely love. To get the transparent look, use the templates I provide and make sure that the profile image (which is not actually transparent) has the appropriate part of the image insterted into it where it should go.

Sam Gibson
sam gibson on facebook

Matt Shumate
matt shumate photography on facebook

Ryan Brenizer
ryan brenizer on facebook

What do you think of timeline for pages?

Leave a comment below or on our Facebook Page!

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Jamie M Swanson is a Madison Wedding Photographer with her husband Brandon. She enjoys photography, loves the business side of things, but truly comes alive by helping others grow their own businesses. Connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

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Amanda Pfeiffer March 7, 2012 at 10:07 am

Thanks! This was great! I love reading your blog posts…you are so detailed! I just have one question…I am not seeing where I can choose “Photographer” in the category drop down menu… Help! :)

Jamie M Swanson March 7, 2012 at 10:20 am

Hey Amanda,

It’s a sub-category, not a category. I just added a screen shot of it above. Here it is for referrence. If I remember correctly, it didn’t show up for me immediately but I was able to set it a day or two later. Strange.

facebook page sub categories

Amanda Pfeiffer March 7, 2012 at 12:36 pm

interesting! lol I changed to timeline on my biz page last week but i do not have this option. i’ll be sure to keep my eyes open though – thanks!!!

Nina March 17, 2012 at 9:31 pm

I do not have this option, either; photographer is nowhere to be found, under categories, and no sub-category tab :(((

Nina March 29, 2012 at 2:22 am

it’s not there

Jamie M Swanson March 29, 2012 at 2:22 am

BOO! Super frustrating, hey?

ForMyBigDay.com March 7, 2012 at 10:43 am

WOW — Thank you so much!

Before reading this post, I was not excited about the timeline changes for business pages. You have really done the research and provided easy-to-follow tips (and beautiful/creative examples) which have changed my mind! While reading through this post, I spent a few minutes implementing changes to my page and playing around with the new features. I loved seeing the Tiffany & Co. page which shows how beautiful and intriguing a page can be when you include an image w/ each post!

Jamie M Swanson March 7, 2012 at 10:46 am

You’re welcome. :)

I think the changes are fantastic once you understand them.

And isn’t Tiffany’s page just swoon-worthy?!? So pretty.

Glad to have helped you out and that you are enjoying the new features. They are fun.

Thanks for the comment!

Cindy March 7, 2012 at 11:05 am

Hummm…. I have done every thing 5-10 times and I am not getting the sub category. Any ideas why not?

Jamie M Swanson March 7, 2012 at 11:08 am

I had a significant delay in that field showing up for me. I couldn’t change it until a day or two later. I’m guessing it just takes some time on Facebook’s side to make note of the changes. It was super-annoying for me at first when I couldn’t do it right away.

Cindy March 7, 2012 at 11:20 am

Thank you !!!! I was beginning to think it was me today. I have had the page for the same time frame as you so I guess you are right. They maybe haven’t rolled it out for every page just yet.
Thank you for sharing such amazing information !!!

Julie Oshiyama March 7, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Thank you so much for this very informative article. I’ve not changed my business page yet, because I’ve been unsure if I like the change first of all. Now that I’ve read this, I feel more comfortable and informed. I will make sure I brand without publishing words or my website. I’m always impressed when I read what you have to share. Thank you!

Jamie M Swanson March 7, 2012 at 12:37 pm

You’re welcome, Julie! I hope you enjoy the change as much as I do!

Thanks for the comment & the kind words. You know how to make me feel like this is all worthwhile. ;)

Salwa March 7, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Great post! Very helpful – can’t wait to switch over and play with it a little. :-)

Jamie M Swanson March 7, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Thanks Salwa! :) Post a link to your page on our facebook page once you have it changed over. I’d love to see what you do with it!

Laura Morita-Yeun March 7, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Love this article. Thank you SO much for taking the time to do this.

Jamie M Swanson March 7, 2012 at 2:11 pm

You’re welcome. :) Thanks for commenting!

Karl Burry March 7, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Another great and timely post, Jamie, this is going to be really helpful. I hate the timelines I’ve seen on personal pages but know I’m gonna have to get used to it. Thanks very much!

Jamie M Swanson March 7, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Always glad to help. Change is annoying. I figure we might as well embrace it and do our best to use it as best we can. In this case, I now love it, although I was bummed to lose my custom landing page. Oh well. Thanks for commenting!

StudioTrainer Kate March 7, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Nice job, very informative!

Jamie M Swanson March 7, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Thanks Kate. Thanks for commenting, too!

April Jones March 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm

For some reason mine didn’t have a subcatergory list? Any ideas? Would love for it to say photographer instead of small business?

Jamie M Swanson March 7, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Check it in a couple of days. Mine took a few days to show up. It’s a delay on Facebook’s end.

Marta Spendowska March 8, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Thanks Jamie,
I’m loving the FB changes so far.
And—I don’t have the sub-category as well. From researching I found out that there is a percentage of people who just don’t have it and it’s up to FB. I would hope it’s some kind of temporary glitch though.

Jamie M Swanson March 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Boo. That’s totally lame. Hopefully it will show up for those who want it, though.

Barbara March 14, 2012 at 5:51 am

Hi and thanks for all the info!
But: I don’t have the REPOSITION PHOTO in the Edit button!! Is it just me?? I have everything else but that, and it’s really annoying.
Thanks!

Jamie M Swanson March 14, 2012 at 8:39 am

No way! That is so strange – you’re the first person I’ve heard of that doesn’t have it. Sorry! Hopefully it’s just a Facebook bug that will be fixed soon on its own.

Barbara March 14, 2012 at 8:51 am

Really, it’s so strange!! I hope the same!! Let me know if somebody has the same problem and if there’s a way to fix it…

Deb Dyer March 16, 2012 at 8:38 pm

I still don’t see the subcategory… I will wait a few more days i am sure it will show up..

Jamie M Swanson March 16, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Some people are not seeing it at all…might be a facebook flaw. Hope that it shows up for you soon though!

Petra H March 20, 2012 at 5:57 pm

I’m confused on the milestone feature. Not sure how to do that. What box above where you create your status??
This has been such a great help! I never noticed the reposition button!
Thanks,
Petra

Jamie M Swanson March 20, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Look at the words RIGHT ABOVE the status box. The last one says “milestone”. Click that, and you’ll be good to go.

Glad you found this helpful! Thanks for the comment, you rock!

Petra H March 21, 2012 at 10:36 am

Good morning, Jamie.
Mine says “life event” and then you have to scroll through the type of life event you want :). I tried it, and it worked like the above example. I wonder why I have a different name.
Thank you!
Petra

Jamie M Swanson March 21, 2012 at 10:45 am

Are you using a personal profile for your business instead of a Facebook page? Personal profiles will say “Life Event” instead of “Milestone” because they are not supposed to be used to promote businesses. In fact, if you are using your business name on a profile page instead of your actual name and are using it to promote or advertise your business and Facebook finds out, they can shut down your page completely. I’ve heard of a few photographers who have had this happen, so make sure to start a business page for your business so that you don’t have this happen to you! It can be a major headache that you truly do not want to risk dealing with. Hope that helps!

Petra H March 21, 2012 at 12:38 pm

No, I’m just trying to figure out the new timeline on my personal page so I know what to expect when it starts on my business page. I didn’t realize they would be different. Still, with everything I’ve read in your post, I feel ready to deal with the change. :)
Thanks again,
Petra

Lucy Duke March 30, 2012 at 2:30 pm

I am wondering about # 5. How do I add new apps? I have not been able to find out how to do this. Help if you can. Thanks Lucy :)

Jamie M Swanson March 30, 2012 at 2:35 pm

That’s a whole long post in and of itself that I’m not quite qualified to write about. I’d do some master googling about adding apps to facebook timeline, and hopefully you’ll find something new and relevant. All my resources are for the old wall and don’t apply anymore. :(

Michelle b April 7, 2012 at 6:48 am

Great post! How do I enable timeline so I can see which friends have visited?

Jamie M Swanson April 7, 2012 at 10:38 am

Hi Michelle,

Not sure how to track who has visited – you could look through insights, but it won’t tell you the people who are there. I’d love to know how to do this if it’s possible, though, so let me know if you find a way to do it.

Thanks for commenting!
Jamie

Don June 15, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Hi, fantastic information on the timeline.

I have a profile picture and cover picture that I quite like. When I post on other pages, it doesn’t use my profile picture as the thumbnail for the post, but lest me choose from 4 pictures, but I don’t knowhow it decides which thumbnails to put on this list of 4. Do you now how to get my Profile picture as a thumbnail for my posts. My Facebok page is Selfcontained Holiday Accommodation.

Thanks in advance. Don

Jamie M Swanson June 16, 2012 at 8:22 am

Hi Don,

You must mean when you’re linking to a post or something that has several images in it. Otherwise I have no idea!

Make sure the image you’d like is a featured image, but otherwise I don’t know if there’s any way you can select it. I’ve heard of some plugins that do it, but honestly I haven’t had much luck with them doing that. Sorry I’m not much help! It’s one of the frustrating parts of Facebook, for sure!

arno July 31, 2012 at 4:34 am

think you got some numbers wrong:
if you want to have your profile imaged be a part of your cover photo you will find several usable .psd templates floating around were you can create bothe of them. your profile photo will end up beeing 160×160 px but you need to scale it up to 180×180 px because that is the minimum facebook allows. it than scales it down to 160x160px??

i cant find spec stating that your thumbnail will be 126×126 px as you mentioned above. the thumb i come across are 50×50 px….

Jamie M Swanson July 31, 2012 at 8:54 am

Hi Arno,

Thanks for mentioning it – I’ll have to look into it when I have some time. Things may have changed over the last few months since I wrote this post – facebook never seems to stay the same. This is what it was back then. Thanks!

Jamie

Katie August 8, 2012 at 2:20 am

how do i add someone without a fb page to a life event….i want it under first met and the name will not save….any suggestions???

Jamie M Swanson August 8, 2012 at 8:49 am

I suppose you can write their name. If you add a photo, you could tag them in it. Thing is, if their privacy settings are set pretty strong, you simply might not be able to at all.

ann August 12, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Hi, great post I have a question. How do I get my profile pic to show up when I leave a comment on someone else’s page. Thanks for any help.

Jamie M Swanson August 12, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Hi Ann, You have to link to your profile, not just mention it with an @ sign. For example, if I wanted my page to show up, I’d type in http://www.facebook.com/TheModernTog and it’d show up below. Hope that helps!

Monkey Fran August 13, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Hi There….
Would you know why my profile pic doesn’t show up when I make posts on other facebook pages? I shows up fine on my page, just not when I post. This is very frustrating for a monkey like me.

Here’s my page:
http://www.facebook.com/monkeyfranny

Hope summer is treating you well!

My Best,

Monkey Fran

Jamie M Swanson August 13, 2012 at 7:11 pm

It’s very possible that Facebook considers it to be spam and is hiding it. This happens often when you are linking on another page back to your own. Also, posts by other people on pages are in a very little spot, not a bit spot, on pages now. That might be the case as well.

Monkey Fran August 13, 2012 at 7:16 pm

I’m not linking any pages whatsoever. Just an “lol!”. I tried posting my facebook url like you suggested to someone else and that doesn’t work either.

CJ August 17, 2012 at 4:50 pm

I have noticed that a lot of photographers have their contact information show up in their timeline under the about section. Does anyone know how to do this? I have my info in the about section page but it doesn’t show up on the timeline under the about section.

Jamie M Swanson August 17, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Hey CJ!

Read section 3 above! That will explain it all.

Jamie

Thu September 6, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Hello,

I was wondering if you could help me out. I have listed my page under a couple of sub-categories. However, when I click on the sub-category headings on my page, I’m not listed as one of the businesses! Would you have any idea why, and how would this be resolved?

Here is my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/friendswoodvision

Thanks!

Jamie M Swanson September 6, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Sorry, I’m not really sure how the subheadings stuff work. I thought it just linked to community pages, not anything that may list you. I don’t use those types of pages at all as it could lead clients away.

linda mac September 12, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Wonderful article – thanks. Will be re-reading as I have at times found FB frustrating. I have just set up a Business page which is totally separate from my personal page and have read that I can’t like other pages from business page. Is this correct?

Jamie M Swanson September 17, 2012 at 11:27 am

You’re welcome. :) You CAN like other pages from your business page. You just make sure you’re posting as your page and you’ll be able to search for them and like them with your page, no worries. :)

Kristi September 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Hey Jamie, thanks for all this information. I’ve loved my new page since the timeline change but now I’m experiencing a problem. I post a small selection of sessions for customers on facebook so they can have them for profile pics if they want. But lately I’m noticing an issue with cropping. I had a customer make one of my pics from my photography page her profile picture, she said that facebook would only let her crop it as a square…therefore cropping the photo in a ridiculous way and also cropping out my logo. I can’t have this happening! One of my friends said she did the same thing once with a photo from my page and the only way to prevent it was by doing “make my profile pic” on her phone and not on her computer. Do you have any other solution to this problem? I don’t know what to do and I want to be able to continue to put pics on facebook for customers and also instruct them how to avoid this problem. Please help! thanks!

Jamie M Swanson September 19, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Hm strange. It makes sense that they can only crop it to a square for their profile pic, since that’s how it is displayed. I thought it still showed the full image if it was clicked on, though. Not sure what the answer is, but if you find out, definitely come back and let me know! :)

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