New Facebook Timeline for Libraries: What We Need to Know

It would not be Facebook if they did not change their layout and rules. It seems that just when you get the hang of the rules, they change. This is the nature of the beast I suppose.  I know many who work with social media in libraries and other not-for-profit organizations are wondering how the new changes affect them.

1. Choose a cover image. This is the first thing users will see when they visit your page. The landing pages has gone away. (This was a relief to me because I had created my library’s landing page from scratch quite some time ago and was bemoaning designing a new one.) Many libraries and nonprofit organizations don’t have the resources to hire a designer but that doesn’t mean your cover image has to suffer. Check out these tips: How to Create A Terrific Facebook Cover Image if You Don’t Have the Resources to Hire a Designer

Some considerations:
– The ideal size for this is 810 x 315 pixels. However, if you upload an image that is larger, you can drag the image to fit the allowed space.
-You cannot have a call to action in your cover photo
-This is a great opportunity for libraries to show off their brand, highlights new programs or new materials.

2. New features – There are a few new features that were added and some that were taken away. Fangates and landing pages have gone away. You can now receive private messages from users which is a nice feature but if you don’t want to connect to users in this way, you can turn off this feature. You can choose what is visible on your page: Highlights, Posts by Others, Post by you, or Friend Activity. As far as I can tell; Highlights is a good default because it show a little bit of everything. But depending how active your users are, one of the other options may serve you better. You can also highlight or pin posts to the top of your page. This feature is located in the corner of each post. Facebook has a help page to guide you through the new features which I found helpful.

3. Layout. As I said previously, you can choose what is displayed on your page. Unfortunately, when viewing Highlights, there is no way to change the layout of what is displayed. Hopefully, if enough people complain, Facebook will allow the pages more flexibility. You can customize by highlighting posts and updating a variety of content to give variety to your page. Admins can also choose three “apps” to feature under the cover image. Photos are automatically featured in the first box. I chose to feature Photos, Events and the Youtube app. Then, users would have to click on the more tabs to see others apps such as Notes or Map.

This is by no means a comprehensive overview, but it just scratches the surface. One of the most important things to think about with the new layout is that you should keep you should keep content fresh and visually stimulating. I look forward to hearing what others in the nonprofit world share regarding the new fomrat.



About Theresa

I am a reference librarian currently working in North Carolina. I have always been passionate about history, education and the value of books in all of their forms. I also love how quickly we can access information through the immediacy of the web, especially social networks like Facebook and Twitter. I look forward to growing in my chosen profession.
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