By Cindy W. Morrison
Many of us made the switch to Timeline on our personal profiles a long time ago. In fact, I liked it so much that I worked w/ the folks at Facebook to combine my Profile and Fan Page into one Timeline w/ subscrptions. (I’m told the average Facebook user will have this option later this year. To learn more, check out my blog: The New Facebook Timeline and Why It’s The Bomb.) But while there was lots of time to learn the Facebook Timeline for personal Profiles, the switch to Timeline for Fan Pages was a little more than a month. Eeks! Even I had stuff to learn – STAT! And this is my JOB!
So, what do you need to know about Timeline for your Fan Page that will help you better engage with customers and build a loyal following? Let me count the ways….
1. Your cover photo
Instead of the photo strip w/ 5 of your latest pictures… you now have a cover photo. This is a HUGE photo across the top and is a way to market your brand. For instance, I just changed my Facebook Timeline to a photo of a recent celeb event at which I tweeted.
DON’T use a photo w/ someone else’s watermark. (Plenty of websites offer to help you make a cover photo w/ the proper dimensions, but in exchange they put their name on it). If you’re a professional… don’t brand someone else. Either use the dimensions (851 x 315 pixels) to make your own photo or pay a professional to do it for you. I think this photo is THAT important. Would you put a less than professional photo front and center on your website? NO! Don’t do it for Facebook — where 850 million people spend their time.
Also, DON’T “sell” in this picture. Facebook frowns on price, web info, asking people to “like” you or making a call to action (for example “tell your friends”). In other words, keep it classy.
2. The “About” Section
Don’t blow off this section b/c this is a WONDERFUL place to tout your wares! It needs to be short (155 characters) and should go along with your branding. Here’s one of my client’s Timelines… you can see it’s a great sales tool and is searchable. Plus, if you put a hyper-link to your website (start with http:// to make it clickable), folks are a lot more likely to actually go to your website.
3. Your Tabs/Apps
The apps you can add to your page’s Timeline are now located right below the cover photo. You’ll want to put the tabs you want to highlight in the first four b/c (as you can see above) they will always be front and center. For instance, for my client Just Between Friends… right now we want to show off their April Giveaway contest ($1,300 in prizes), their fan base and a recall app we just added. (Currently, the Facebook “photos” tab is always first one and can’t be changed.)
These tabs are a great way to brand. Not only did we pick apps for JBF that would be relevant to their fans, we customized the wording and pictures (on tabs that allow changes) to make the JBF brand consistent. You can change placement, pictures and wording by pulling up all the tabs (click the arrow at the end of the tabs to the far right that lists the number of tabs on your page). Then, if you roll over the tab, you’ll see a pencil in the upper right corner of that app and you can choose if you want to swap spots or edit. Bingo!
Looking for a good place to find basic apps? I always tell my clients about this: Facebook Timeline Ready Apps.
4. Pin & Highlight Important Stuff
Much like you want your most important stuff at the top of your website… you can “pin” an item to the top of your posts. It’ll last for 7 days. Just hover over the upper right-hand corner of a post and click on the “pencil”. Click “pin to top” and voila!
If you click on the star (next to the pencil)… then you can “highlight” an item.
Do you see how the top post goes all the way across the page? Timeline is set up in two columns….the left is basically a chronological timeline in reverse (thus the name “Timeline”) and the right is basically your fans, things you’ve “liked”, posts where people have tagged you, etc. When you “highlight” an item… it makes it bigger, breaks up the page and draws attention.
Pinning is great for contests, something that’s gotten a lot of comments/likes or big news that you want to stay at the top of your Facebook Fan Page for a week. Highlighting is awesome for for pictures and video. It can really add some pizazz to a page that might look bland otherwise.
5. Create Milestones
Creating milestones is a great way to show off professional and personal accomplishments. Maybe you want to call attention to when your company was founded or your first national conference. You can post a picture with these milestones and put the date to fill in what happened before we were all on Facebook. I use JBF as an example again because I’m working on it this week. We’ve posted when the consignment franchise started (in a living room in 1997) and we’re working through events leading up to today (122 franchises nationwide making it the largest children’s and maternity consignment franchise in the country). See how that REALLY gives your fans a feel for who you are as a brand, what you’re about and what you stand for. So think outside the box. Maybe it’s not a specific milestone for your business, but maybe it’s the start of your family or if you’re a non-profit, maybe it’s a milestone in research for a cure.
Now, keep in mind that this is all Timeline info for your Facebook Fan Page. Your personal Facebook Timeline has some different applications and the apps are more personally driven (Pinterest) than business driven (contests). I’ll have more on personal Timelines coming soon…
What are YOUR thoughts? What do you like and not like about the new Timeline for Fan Pages?