Another Year, Another Change
In typical Facebook fashion, another year brings another change. Last year we moved from FBML to iFrame “apps” to create welcome landing tabs, many of which were a “gate” to keep new visitors out until they clicked the “like” button.
This year we are saying goodbye to landing tabs and saying hello to the Facebook Timeline for our pages.
Perhaps our best shot at using Facebook to enhance our branding will be with the page “cover image.” This image is a huge image, and the first image your visitors will see when they view your page.
Of course there are rules to these images, though.
What we CAN’T do with cover images:
~We cannot encourage visitors to upload our cover for their own timelines.
~We cannot provide discounts, discount codes, or web addresses where our services or products may be purchased.
~We may not provide web addresses or contact information that belongs in the “about” section.
~We cannot encourage visitors to like our pages.
~We cannot include calls to action, for example, “share this,” or, “tell your friends.”
What we CAN do with cover images:
What we can do with cover art is further our brand without spamming our visitors. Use an image that will engage and resonate with your visitors. Perhaps an image of people enjoying your product, or a version of your blog or website header and logo. Get creative, but remember to stay on brand! Incorporate your profile picture in your design scheme – it is located both in and outside of he cover art! Remember also that the profile image is what will follow you around Facebook.
The “about” section lives right under your cover art and your profile picture on the left side. This should be a short and sweet description of you and/or what you are all about. Make it exciting, but practical and memorable.
Apps are located to the right of the about section, below the cover art. Apps are built-in, as in the case of he photos, and some you can install like promotions, maps, videos, notes, etc. Then there are custom apps, welcome pages, I have even customized a Pinterest app to my page! It’s not great, but it’s doable for now.
You may have many apps, but only the first four will show all the time – the rest are in a drop down menu. The photo app will always be first, and the rest can be moved around easily. I say go for four and see how it goes. There really is no use spending a lot of time creating apps that are not going to be seen. When deciding, think about how your customers have historically interacted with your page. What would you like to continue? Would you like to shake things up and experiment?
Important posts can be pinned to the top of the news feed for up to seven days. These pinned posts can be used as a welcome message or to direct visitors to apps. Think promos, new photos, etc. To pin a post, hover over the right corner of the post until a pencil appears. Click on it and chose “pin to top.”
When you update your status you will see the option to post a milestone. A milestone might be the date you were founded, a date you reached a certain number of followers, or had some other exciting news for your business. Fill out the milestones, as it is thought they might be considered more important by the Facebook algorithm. These milestones can also be pinned to the top of the page.
Rather than pinning a post, you might choose to highlight content. Highlighting content will expand the post to the full width of the page, but it will remain in the same place on your timeline. You might want to highlight some of your own content or content that is posted to your timeline by happy customers or visitors. In order to highlight the content, hover over the top, right corner and click on the star that appears. Experiment with pinning and highlighting and see what works best for you and engages your visitors.
Timeline for pages new marketing, in short:
~Use the cover image wisely. Be fun and engaging, and give visitors a reason to like your page, or to come back.
~Make sure you have a clean about section. Do not be overly wordy, but remember to give the best information about you or your business.
~Use apps wisely and sparingly. Don’t overload your page with apps – remember that only the top four can be seen at all times.
~Pin relevant and exciting posts and milestones. Use them to welcome your visitors, excite them about your products, and direct them to your apps.
~Highlight other important posts that you think are or remain timely and relevant.
Ultimately, Facebook is going to continue to make changes, just as we get used to what we are doing. What is not going to change is how to interact with your visitors. Content is King, as they say, and it is as true for Facebook as any other platform. So engage your visitors in a way that is useful, relevant, and meaningful to them. Let them get to know and trust you AND your brand. Monitor your insights and make your own changes as necessary. Weathering the changes with grace and savvy will ensure you end up on top.
Do you have questions about the new Timeline for Facebook pages? Feel free to contact me!