Beth Kanter’s “Tips and Cheets” for Navigating new Facebook Timeline

Now that the deadline to the switch Facebook to their new Timelines format is upon us, it is important for nonprofit organizations be prepared for these changes. Beth Kanter, once again, can help us through these changes. She has compiled a list of Tips and Cheat Sheets To Help Your Nonprofit Plan and Implement FB Brand Page Changes.

Kanter offers some helpful suggestions for making this switch as smooth as possible for your nonprofit organization. The crucial first step in this process, in Kanter’s words, is to identify, “how you will integrate your branding strategy, revise your editorial/content strategy, and administrative work flow.” It is first important to make sure that you integrate these new apps and features as seamlessly as possible into your current brand strategy.

It is also important to familiarize yourself with these changes and how they will work to your organizations benefit before actually making the switch. This is why Kanter’s next step is to “ Take the Tour” through Facebook’s Product Guidebook, which is essentially a map of the new features and applications to come.  Make sure that as you go though the guide you are thinking of ways to format your page to adapt to these changes, while keeping your organizations unique look. At the end of the guide is a checklist as well as tips to get your organization started on creating an effective Facebook Timeline.

Another big change for nonprofits is the fact that default landing tabs are being replaced by “Pinned Posts.” Pinned Posts stay at the very top of your timeline for seven days and should be used, according to Kanter, as your “call to action” for that particular week. Kanter also points out that this is shifting from the default landing tabs intended purpose of gaining a wider fan-base to engaging with the fans that you currently have.

Profile photos will now be accompanied at the top of the screen by a cover photo (851 x 315 pixels) that will be almost 70% of your top screen. It is important that this photo represent your organization’s mission and voice. It is also important to note some of the rules of cover photos found in Facebook’s help center. The rules state that cover photos may not contain price or purchase information, contact information, references to “liking” or “sharing” of content, or calls to action. This is where viewing other pages, like Livestrong, can be beneficial for seeing what images other organizations have chosen for furthering their messages.

Facebook is now providing page administrators, or “admins,” with dashboards to quickly review their pages metrics as well as fan activity on one screen. Though the kinks are still being worked out of Facebook metrics measuring systems, this is a great new feature that will at least have to hold us over until “real time” metric data is available.

Another new feature that all nonprofits should be ready for is private messaging between page administrators and fans. When talking with fans through your organizations voice it is important that you remain consistent, and do not differentiate from the tone of your page. Kanter suggests that you plan out how your organization will direct private conversations with their fans before engaging in a private dialogue one-on-one. This would be an excellent opportunity to drive attention to the organizations website since people would, presumably, ask questions to the administrator that could easily be answered by going to the website.

Finally, it is time to prepare for launch. Make sure that before you launch your fans are aware of some of the changes to come to your page and some of the new features that your page now offers. As if she hasn’t already helped enough, Kanter has also created a Pinterest pinboard, Facebook Brand Pages: Useful Resources and Tips, to help your nonprofit “design, plan and implement” these new applications and features to your organization’s page.

Thank you Beth Kanter for all of your help getting ready for the new Facebook Timeline!


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