4 Marketing Tips for Facebook Timeline

3/27/2012

Bea Halstead, Social Media Marketing Manager

Facebook Pages for all businesses evolve at the end of the month to have a Timeline. The strategy to market your business in Facebook will also become more advanced with enhancements to the page design, and additional posting features.  Social media marketing strategy focuses less on the sales aspects of marketing and more on brand exposure and community building.  Facebook's Page design for businesses embellishes upon that strategy by providing tools that community managers will need to become adept at using.  Depending on how content is created for your company's campaigns, applications and status updates will have more capabilities to take into consideration when implementing social media campaigns.

At first glance, the new design alludes to some of the opportunity waiting for marketers by promoting a more visual experience.  Activity and interaction on Facebook gains exposure and continues to be a core principle behind the success and popularity of the network. Facebook has added static containers and tabs to make information about your company more accessible, and development tools to enhance the exposure of an individual's activity with your Page.  Communicating has changed with new posting options, and potentially can enrich the way people learn about your brand. Facebook has also provided more options for aiding the natural exposure within the advertising model, referred to as Sponsored Stories.    Understanding the potential to market with these new tools is outlined below within four basic marketing tips.

1. Elements of design shape a new user experience.  Everything from posting with larger images, to the new customizable cover and tab thumbnails, all point to one core concept.  A visual representation of your brand existing in what essentially becomes a second website for your company.   Timeline is your new landing page that will first greet visitors, rather than a Fan Gate/default tab.  This is important to note, since developing the initial first impression to "get liked" will depend on a large cover image, about info, a few tabs, and posts within the page.  Consider making a visual story for visitors to the page, and use all the customizable design elements to create a single story worthy of garnering fans.  Make sure that story changes often and incorporates the interests of the fans to create an impression. Try incorporating a simpler profile image, like a brand icon.  Design themes for the cover, profile image, and customized tab thumbnails that will be a succinct concept.  Customize up to 12 tabs, now available in a wider format, for sub pages of your mini website in Facebook.  The new tab landing page and navigation between the tabs has advanced user accessibility, and eliminates the advertising from the page.   This is the place to promote applications, campaigns, contests, and/or create mini landing pages that navigate within your main website.  Fans that are logged into their account really do prefer to stay in Facebook, so discover ways to achieve your goals without taking them outside of the network, and you will be nurturing their experience with your brand.

2. Interaction worthy information is what is popular. Once a visitor has liked your page, they may not necessarily need to visit it again to view your post stream.  However, they may visit occasionally to read comments and recommendations about your company made by their friends.  This information is located in the containers in the right column of your Timeline, and is unique to each visitor based on their network.  Consider developing an App that incorporates the social graph api, so activity with your page can gain additional exposure.  Take some time to learn about the new recommendation and listing features for users, to better understand how Facebook promotes your relationship among your fans. 

3. Posting can be done with control.  The wall has converted to the timeline and now offers more control over how posts are promoted.  A post can be pinned to the top left of the Timeline for up to seven days at a time, and then will return to the original date when it was created.  There is no limit to how many times a post can be re-pinned, so highlighting campaigns for longer than the week is possible.  Posts can be highlighted in the Timeline, by selecting the star from the post options menu - seen upon rollover to the right of the post container - will cause the post to span both columns and include a large image preview.  Milestones can be created for any event date. You can add historical achievements for your company to offer more information to visitors who explore your Timeline, seeking to learn more about the brand.  Once a user scrolls past the cover image, they will only see your profile image in a small thumbnail.  Milestones can continue the brand recognition, once a user is inside the Timeline. Milestones are highlighted with a blue flag, larger image, and also span both columns of the page. An automatic "founded" Milestone is created upon the preview/release of the page to Timeline, and can contain a link to your location, a description/story, and an image.    

4. No hard sell messaging is allowed.  Facebook has a mission, they want to keep people coming back to experience the social network, without feeling bombarded with advertising.  With the additional creative elements, comes a new set of guidelines on how to use them.  Be conscience of not including any call-to-actions on your Page, and also limit the company's contact info to the about section.  Private messages can now be made available on your Page, however, the fan has to message you first and can only be responded to twice.  Facebook also has changed how a company can and should advertise.  They support the concept that a referral recommendation is more valuable than just promoting with a text ad. The new advertising structure - called Sponsored Stories - will aid in targeting your audience by using their friend's influence.  When a fan has liked your page, or commented on a post, it is then promoted to their network which may encourage more engagement with the ad and/or your page.  You can still use text ads to link to a site outside of Facebook, but by utilizing the links to customized tabs you will aid keeping them within the network.

Facebook promotes the importance of creating content that enriches a fans experience with your brand rather than focusing on the sale. Facebook believes that by making relationships between fans and brands stronger, it can provide insight to companies to produce a better product. These tips can provide an understanding of how to utilize the new tools within Timeline.  Use them to gain basic knowledge of the overarching strategy for marketing your brand with Facebook Pages, and continue to create dynamic content for your community to share.  

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