March 30th 2012 marked the day when it became mandatory for all brands and organizations to switch over to the new Timeline format on Facebook. With this switch came the opportunity for non-profit organizations to develop, grow and maintain their brand stories on Facebook.
Below, we have shared four organizations that have made the transition to Timeline with grace, charm and impact. Let’s take a look at some successful examples of non-profit brand stories, cover photos, starred stories, and more.
1. The Visual Brand Story: Big Cat Rescue
Facebook’s new Timeline format demands visual content. And when an organization like Big Cat Rescue is all about providing a home to unwanted, abandoned or abused exotic cats, what better way to tell their story then through dramatic, beautiful images of those cats. They have used the new Timeline format to grab attention, produce emotion and create a robust, visual brand story. Have a look and pay special attention to:
- The cover photo (notice how is interacts visually with the profile picture)
- The multitude of photographs and photo albums they have uploaded
- The milestones they have added to the time before they joined Facebook
2. Customized Tab Thumbnails: YMCA of Greater Toronto
In the new Timeline format, customized tabs are now limited to a small 111×74 pixel thumbnail. They also no longer have the option to appear as the Facebook default page. The challenge therefore becomes finding a way to create thumbnails that are noticeable enough to engage the user.
Our advice? Be strategic and make sure to place your most important tab thumbnails first, since the new format only displays the top four thumbnails. Also, be sure to remove any unnecessary tabs. If you want a good example of how to create and display tab thumbnails in the new Timeline format, look to the YMCA of Greater Toronto’s Facebook page: their thumbnails use bright colors to make them visually noticeable, integrate well with their brand, and communicate quickly exactly what the tab is about.
3. The Strategic Cover Photo: Canadian Diabetes Association
We came across the Canadian Diabetes Association’s Facebook page and felt compelled to share it since they have done something completely different with their cover photo. The cover photo is the large image at the top of the new Timeline format and creates the overall look/visual identity of your page. Instead of just using this space for a large visual, CDA has used it as a way to drive their Facebook traffic to content in one of their tabs. By doing this, they have strategically tackled the challenge that the tiny tab thumbnails pose. The first thing I did when I went to the page was click on their contest tab, and I can bet most other users did the same.
4. The Starred Story: Survival International
Another way to create visual interest on the new Timeline format is through the use of starred stories: posts that expand twice the width of the regular Timeline post. Starred stories help highlight the more “important” things and create visual interest on the page: you can’t help but notice them as you scroll down. Be careful though, an overuse of starred stories can backfire and confuse users as to which stories they should pay extra attention to.
Survival International has used starred stories on their page in an impactful way, calling attention to special events, appeals for donations, photos, videos and more, telling a better-rounded, more engaging story overall.