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MAY 2012 issue of
Rental Management

Rental store users react to new Facebook layout

Facebook recently shifted its pages to a new “Timeline” layout, which is causing more than one business to shuffle its social media materials.

On March 30, Facebook transferred all business pages from the old layout to the Timeline design. The company announced the change in September 2011 and, on Feb. 29, 2012, made the change optional for individual and company users. Facebook changed all personal pages to the same layout on April 18.

The new layout features a screen-wide “cover photo” in addition to the business profile photo. It also lists all the older posts and news items — virtually any item that links the business name — chronologically. On the right-hand side is a clickable timeline by month and year from the time the business joined Facebook to the present, thus the name Timeline.

Several users aren’t sure the change is the best move for Facebook and say it will require companies to adjust applications and photos. Steve Kohn, owner, Miller’s Rentals, Edison, N.J., said it will take time for administrators to get adjusted to the new layout.

“I have updated the timeline, but basically we have tried to keep the look and feel that our fans and clients have become used to,” Kohn says. “I think Facebook should focus on not ‘overcomplicating’ the posting process. The reason we update our Facebook page is because it’s simple and to the point. We don’t want it to become a website where more time and knowledge is required to add material.”

While the cover photo seems to fit well for the party and event rental industry, he says, “I still believe in the simple rule, ‘If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.’”

Tiffany Riordan, director of marketing, Atlas Party Rental, Boynton Beach, Fla., agrees. “I like the cover photo option. It allows you to highlight the best picture or products that you have. The downside is that some logos don’t fit the new format, so it makes it hard to maintain your brand’s integrity.”

She also says the new layout can be cumbersome for readers. “I think the double panels make it confusing to see what is going on. I liked it better when it was just one long scroll down. I think it was more user-friendly,” she says.

As for the apps, those are still available and good for businesses, Riordan says. “I use the poll survey a lot because it is a great way to engage your audience and track their answers,” she says.

Kelly Turkovich, CERP, purchasing manager, Event Source, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio, says she uses Facebook to post photos of events and new equipment. “We also have our Facebook linked to our Twitter account so we can update both at one time. We also use Constant Contact® for email and can post email blasts directly to Facebook via Constant Contact,” she says.

Turkovich also says the new Timeline layout may not be the best. “Some of the tabs we had set up are now sort of hidden and harder to find. As for the homepage, with items in two columns, it is harder to follow,” she says. However, “the Timeline layout will allow us to go back and enter our milestones as a company, including new buildings, expansions and history.”

To learn more about how to use Timeline for your business Facebook page, visit marketingmatters.dexone.com/3135/facebook-timeline-small-businesses.




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