The basics: Facebook timeline for brands

It has been just less then two weeks since Facebook Timeline rolled out to the general public, but as marketers we have been working with Timeline since it was first unveiled on February 29th. So, we have had a couple months to digest everything and while a lot of the basics are still there, it is essentially a complete remodel of pages as we knew them.

Here is your Facebook Timeline 101.

Customizing Your Timeline Page

Cover Photo

The Cover Photo size is 850 pixels X 315 pixels. Facebook has restrictions on what can be shown on your cover photo. You can read all about them here. The things to be noted are:

All covers are public. This means that anyone who visits your Page will be able to see your cover. Covers can’t be deceptive, misleading, or infringe on anyone else’s copyright. You may not encourage people to upload your cover to their personal timelines.

Covers may not include:

i.    price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it on”;

ii.    contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section;

iii.    references to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features; or

iv.    calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”

In general the cover photo should be something that speaks to your brand. There are a ton of blogs out there showcasing the best and the worst of what brands have done with their cover photo. has a good list, but maybe I am biased as I love their reason behind the fact that Virgin Airlines cover photo made #16 on their list.

Profile Picture

The profile picture that rests inside the cover photo is sized at 180 pixels X 180 pixels. In general most brands should consider using their logo for this piece of real estate. This profile picture is what will be seen in your activity stream and therefore is branding reinforcement. When the photo is seen in an activity feed it will be 32 X 32 pixels so ensure that your profile picture works at that size.

Of course there are exceptions to every rule. Proceed with caution though as even brand powerhouses can forgot that branding 101 rules should apply.


Your tabs, which Facebook now refers to as apps, run along the bottom of your cover photo. You can have up to 12 apps shown, with four being on the first line. The Photos App and Likes App cannot be changed although the location of the Likes App can be. The Photo App will always be the first app you see.

Custom App Thumbnail

For any pages that have custom apps you have the ability to use your own image as the thumbnail for your tab. Simply hover over it, click edit, and upload the image of your choice. Image size should be 111 X 74. While you are in the Edit mode you can also change the display name that is shown below your app.

Your profile picture, cover photo and custom apps (tabs) are the basics of what makes up your Timeline landing page.



Your composer or sharing tool is where you can post your status update, a photo, ask a question or record a milestone.

Highlighting a Post

When you look in the right upper corner of your post you will now see two options: 1.Highlight and 2. Edit/Remove

Highlighting a post is simply doubling the width of your post to have it span two panels. If you use this feature strategically you can really highlight the most important posts for your company. Personally, I also think that this feature has more impact when used along side posts that contain great images or video.

Wildfire App recently released data that showed that while the old Facebook pages showed the most engagement with status updates the new Timeline is showing increased engagement with photos.

Pin a Post

Pinning a Post should be used when there is announcement or communication that your company deems important enough to reside above all other communication for that point in time. Pinning a post, does just what it sounds like, and pins a post to the top of your status updates for up to 7 days. Even if you update your status within the 7 days your newest status updates will be posted below your pinned post. This is a fantastic feature for brands and I feel one of the positive improvements that we have seen from the new Timeline. It is recommended that you have pin a post at least once a week for maximum effectiveness.


Milestones are key moments that you wish to highlight on your Page. This type of post is automatically expanded to widescreen and visible to all traffic visiting your Page.

If you wish to add a milestone, simply click in the composer/sharing tool and click Milestone. Add a headline, location, date and any details you want to communicate for your milestone. Select add a photo and then click save.

You can navigate to the location you wish your Milestone to be posted and click the + to post.

To add a milestone:

  1. Click Milestone in the sharing tool at the top of your Page’s timeline
  2. Add a headline, location, date and details for your milestone
  3. Choose to add a photo
  4. Click Save

From anywhere on your Page’s timeline, scroll to a spot and click  to post a milestone or other type of story to a particular date.

Milestone photos display at 843 pixels wide and 403 pixels tall. At this time, January 1, 1000 is the earliest date a milestone can have.

So, there you have the basics that can get you and your Facebook Timeline page up and running. Experiment with your page to see how Timeline changes affects your brand. Do you find that you are getting more engagement on pinned posts? Or highlighting posts? We are all entering the Timeline world together so if you have a tip or trick that people should know about Timeline pass it along!

Thanks to my clients Photos By KathrynFix Auto Canada and Willowbrook Shopping Centre for letting me share screen shots from their Timeline Facebook pages.

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