Just when small businesses and marketers had settled in to use Facebook for their business, in the style that we have come to know and love (maybe not), Mark Zuckerberg has changed the rules up again. On March 30th, Facebook will change the format most businesses are using to the Timeline. The changes will go beyond simply cosmetic and many will have structural effects as well as functionality. Now more than ever, strategy, content, and using all of your resources will be vital.

Many are focused on getting likes and have done some very creative contests to increase likes including contests to benefit non-profits. With the new throttle Facebook is implementing, it seems that only 16% of fans will see messages. Why would they do this? It’s simple, Facebook wants you to pay for the Reach Generator, a new service available with premium managed accounts.

Some changes are more visible, like the cover photo, which is a visual strip at the top of the company page. The space is 851 X 315 pixels and can be used to share the brand and message of your company. This large image is the first impression and biggest spokesperson, so to speak, for your company, so make sure your message is clear and free from advertising, as Facebook restricts that.

Facebook has also added the ability for two way communication with your fans via messages. That does not mean you can email them, as the fan must initiate the first communication.

Some of the changes will be well received and some will not. It is likely that on March 31st the newsfeed will be full of many posts regarding confusion and frustration, as that is pretty customary with every change Facebook implements. The change that is the most concerning to marketers is going to be the way throttle affects fans seeing the content they desire. The choice will be simple, either pay for the exposure or implement tactics to continue to use the Facebook page as an extension of all of your marketing tools.
For more on the Timeline Checklist, visit a favorite tool – www.allfacebook.com.