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Here at Codastar, we tend to stand on the more professional side of the social media circle, but with Facebook rolling out their mandatory timeline to everyone’s personal profile over the next few weeks, and Founder Mark, fellow Marketers, and Social Media Moguls talking of nothing else, we just had to join the conversation!

So, before the chances hit your page, here is your chance to swat up on whats new and how they will affect your profile and the bigger picture. Check out our Top 6 Updates you’ll need to know before it hits your screens:

facebook business page design

1. Cover Images.

One of the biggest most visible changes to your timeline is the Cover Image displayed across the top of your profile page.

A minor con to the Cover Image is that the dimensions are unconventional. Using your standard photos will look stretched or odd when the size has been manipulated to suit. Images can be ‘dragged’ in the viewer space, but you can’t crop or re-size directly within Facebook. There are however a number of reputable sites available with more creative options to upload, create collages of your existing photos, or for the more tech-savvy amongst us, the ability to create your own – with endless possibilities (endless within a 850px wide and 315px space of course!).

2. Through the Eyes of Others…

This is a handy little tool when you first receive your timeline, and a great way to see what you need to edit and what needs to change, or see how it looks after you’ve updated your information and settings.

The “View As” option lets you view your profile as a stranger would, or even pick a specific person to see how he or she views your page. Once you have timeline, there is a small ‘gears’ icon on the far right. Click on it – then select ‘View As’ – simple!

3. Read All About It…

Once you have an idea of how timeline looks to others, this should give you a good indication of what is now visible on your profile.

Previously, it would have taken forever to wait for each page to load and to view what you posted last week or month. Now with Timeline, you can click on the sidebar and view exactly what year and month you wish to, displaying your posts neatly categorised by date.

With this in mind, now is the time for a good old fashioned clear out. There are two easy (ish)  options in how to do this. Firstly, on your timeline, click (as others would) on your timeline, and select the first year available. You’ll see 20 “highlights”, as well as a month by month break down. In the usual fashion, click on the upper right corner of each of the posts and chose either “hide” or “delete”. (Bare in mind, once a post is ‘hidden’ it shouldn’t come back to haunt you, unless an all new Facebook design is launched and changes their settings again. Also, certain posts can’t be deleted, such as friend acceptances).

Step two, is looking at posts on other people’s Timelines. For some people this can be viewed as more important – as you have no control over how other people chose (or chose not to) protect their Facebook page.

To remove posts from your friend’s Timelines, click on ‘Activity Log’ on your own page. This shows all of your posts, likes, comments and events, again, organised chronologically. Again, go through the ones you no longer want displayed and delete from their timeline.

We won’t lie, this is a time consuming process – especially for those of us that have had Facebook from the very beginning. Of course, the path you take is all down to personal preference with privacy and what you would like others to see. But it is most definitely worth reviewing, just in case.

4. Privacy Settings

Once you have taken ‘No. 3’ into consideration, you have covered most of your bases with the privacy of your page and what your friends can or can’t see, but can you remember every privacy update you’ve had across your time on Facebook? Each post and picture will remember the settings of when it was posted. So older albums might be available to the general public and ‘non friends’ for example. You can add a blanket “Limit the Audience for past Posts.” option, but it is worthwhile giving your timeline a Privacy Overhaul.

Facebook is turning much in the way of Google+ to compete, with specific group and custom sharing options. To flip this, you can also customise your privacy settings accordingly to allow certain connections to view and post more than others.

You can do this via your Privacy Settings page, select “Edit Settings” (next to “How You Connect.”) and set them as you wish. (See below for a comprehensive view)

facebook privacy settings

As well as the more ‘standard’ privacy considerations, the biggest improvement comparative to previous updates is that you now have say over exactly what level of access each app has to your profile – addressing previous privacy concerns in the past.  As addition to this, an “application authorization dialog box” has been launched to choose your privacy levels and controls for your data.

5. Location, Location, Location.

To look at it simply, It works much in the same way as Foursquare has been, with Facebook taking their own adaption to the market allowing you to tag yourself to locations and “checking in” to places you visit. As an addition, your photos and photo albums can now be tagged with locations (“Geo Tags”) which are displayed on a map for your (and everyone else’s) convenience. So now, for example, your weekend away with pictures of nature in a nondescript places, can now be tagged by friends with your exact location – letting the world know your holiday getaway was in the middle of the Lake District. You can of course un-tag yourself from every geo-tagged photo (much in the same way as un-tagging yourself from photos at present), but if it is something that everyone starts using, you could find yourself spending a lot of time rectifying the tags.

For business purposes, it does open the doors for commercial gain, working well in partnership with ‘brand tagging’ (e.g. tagging the can of coke you are drinking to their official page) for tracking customers, boosting business, ‘checking in’ to events and exhibitions as well as in store.

6. “There’s an App for That”

Facebook have launched a new class of Social Apps to enhance the Facebook experience (and no, they don’t involve any sort of café or farmyard animal!)

The Apps (over 60 so far) have been implemented to enhance your user experience, helping to express who you are and what you do through your facebook and increase your Facebook presence (and of course, free advertising on their part).

One of the biggest App integrations of late is Spotify, for users to express their taste in music and show everyone what they are listening to (a partnership that has been around a little while, but will be more widely seen/used with the update).

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