Continued from the article Facebook Timeline Guide for Business Pages, these recommendations are for preparing your brand for the new Facebook Page design. Making sure you understand the new ways fans will experience your brand, and what steps to take to optimize your Timeline for release will ensure you are confident when rolling out the new Timeline to the public. Spending time checking privacy settings, getting familiar with the new admin tools, and deciding how to leverage new features aid in building a successful strategy for your new Facebook Page.
Different User Experience – Spend some time becoming familiar with the new user experience with Timeline. A default landing page will no longer be available for customized tabs or apps, all users will first experience the Timeline for a brand. Four main images below the header will be how the tabs/apps are accessed. There are static containers/boxes in the right column of the Page – below the header – with content based on the friends of fan’s unique interaction with your brand (likes, comments, check-ins). The first box tells the user how many and who of their friends have been active on the Page and the second box is a collection posts from everyone that has interacted with your brand in Facebook (i.e. comments and tags). This third container can be hidden from view via the management options. Once disabled, the posts will be distributed chronologically through the timeline instead of in that static box. When a user is logged out of Facebook, the first static box on the right changes to show “Also On: [company website link]”. This is great for when the Facebook page is found via search results, by offering anyone that isn’t a Facebook user a path to your main website.
Cover Image is a Must – You will need to design a banner image that is unique to your brand and will be something recognizable that fans will respond to. Facebook wants to stress the importance of the experience, not being sales focused, but authentic and has provided guidelines for what the images can contain. According to Facebook, the image you upload must be at least 399 pixels wide and the cover image may not contain:
Take note that the image header disappears once a user scrolls past it and a small navigation bar becomes available and includes the profile thumbnail and links to different features on the page like apps and highlighted posts. This affects the visual brand presence when diving deeper into the Timeline, so highlighting image/video focused posts and adding company milestones should be considered to enhance exposure.
Review Post History – Use the activity log to review old posts from your timeline to determine what to hide, highlight, star, or pin. You will want to make sure any posts that might have been a negative community experience are repressed when publishing so as not to incite a new conflict once the post is re-revealed in the page. You can hide or delete a post, but by deleting the post you are removing it permanently form the page. To hide a post, you hover over the right corner of the post to view the pencil icon and select the option to hide it. You can always unhide posts from the activity log.
Develop a Company Story – Determine what milestones to add to your brand’s timeline to create a unique company story. This story should be similar to your existing brand voice and include images for each important event highlighted. Adding these milestones helps to humanize your brand and shape the initial experience, so spend time organizing and building posts to reflect your company in a way that is intriguing to the user by including fun facts and photos about the company’s history. Also, you can no longer automatically direct a user to a welcome tab with your company information; however, you will be able to link directly to the tab’s unique URL in posts and campaigns. You can arrange which three tabs are viewed in the header area with the dropdown arrow. The photos tab is static and will always populate in the first tab location.
New Page Management Tools – Admin panel is the new hub for most of the page management features and links. From the panel you can see the most recent fan activity, likes on the page, and private messages. Access to the page settings and privacy settings are within the dropdown navigation in the upper right corner of the panel. You will also notice a message area where private messages from any visitor to your Page will appear. Private messages can be an excellent customer service tool. However if you aren’t going to utilize the feature it can be deactivated in the manage permissions menu. Another new feature Page managers should use is the Likes Insights tab, where upon clicking it on any Pages tab you can view basic insights for the audience activity. Consider reviewing competitor Pages to better understand what they are doing to entice fan activity.
Facebook Pages will adapt how a consumer learns about your brand. Take time to understand the new feature’s so you can build campaign strategies around them. Audit what you have shared in the past, and discover what historical data can be created to enhance your brand awareness. Utilize the management tools to connect with your audience, and decide if private messaging will be activated. Focus on getting your images designed before the page is converted. Using the preview function you will be able to identify which images will require the most attention.
If you need help developing your page or determining what strategy to implement going forward, then give us a call at 561-620-9682 or e-mail us.
Facebook Timeline is changing the way Business Pages look, how they are managed, and how they interact with fans. The new Facebook Pages are being pushed out to all existing Business Pages on March 30th, 2012. Before your company’s Timeline is released to the public, make sure you have optimized what you are sharing with your fans. This blog reviews the features of the existing Facebook Timeline and the new Facebook Page features for businesses. Check back next week for tips to guide you through the pre-launch of the new page before the end of this month.
All Facebook Pages will look different, act different, and the tools have changed.
Many people have been getting used to the new Timeline layout within their own pages since the release in September 2011. It boasts a much more visual experience organizing all status updates chronologically in a bi-column format with larger image areas. Timeline includes integrating check-ins and photos onto a geographical map, and a new header design for highlighting a main image along with your profile thumbnail. There is also a new navigation layout – below the header – with about info and image boxes that link to photos, friends, likes, apps, and more. With this layout a new type of content is being highlighted in your newsfeed – based on a social plugin (Open Graph API) – that shares your activities, like what you are listening to, depending on the app. Going back over time, a user has more control over who can view posts by hiding them or staring them, and can add Life Events throughout the timeline at any point to note important status updates that might have been missed.
The Facebook Pages are similar in appearance/features to the individual Timeline. The new page will allow you to interact more freely with your fans, includes enhanced graphics, the ability to feature posts, and engage in private messages with fans. Social Media marketing strategies can leverage the large banner/header, the ability to pin a post for up to seven days to the upper left area of the page, star a post (making it appear larger in the Timeline), and also highlight the company “milestones” by adding posts to dates in the past to promote the history of the brand.
To learn more about how to leverage these new features, and what to focus on before publishing your company’s new page, look for the second part of this article in the coming week, or give us a call, 561-620-9682.
Facebook’s paperwork for its Initial Public Offering filled this month, has created some media buzz and speculation as to what the company will be doing next. The IPO included stats like, “Facebook had 845 million active users as of Dec. 31, with slightly more than half of those people, 425 million, using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to visit Facebook. An average day on Facebook sees about 483 million people logging into the world’s largest social network, an increase of 48 percent over the previous year.”, and other tid-bits that sparked a lot of ideas as to what to expect this year from the company. In just the beginning of this year, Timeline was released for user profiles and will soon be made available for businesses too. If you haven’t been following all the media, here is a review of a few anticipated Facebook Updates in 2012 we think are important for businesses watch for.
Mobile App with Ads
The IPO alluded to mobile as a potential revenue source, and cautioned that the lack of mobile revenue could harm it, since nearly half of the users access the site on a mobile device. According to Zoe Fox at Mashable, “Users of Facebook‘s apps — for Android, iPad and iPhone — may begin seeing ads as soon as early March, as the company looks to gain an addition revenue source before it goes public.” Also, a new advertising method to expose ads to mobile users called, Sponsored Stories, was released in December of 2011, and embeds the advertised posts directly into the newsfeed of an individual’s profile.
Facebook Timeline for Businesses
On Feburary 29th, Facebook will be sponsoring an event for marketers where it is expected to announce the release of Timeline for Business Pages. Timeline was recently released to profiles for all users and although it is getting mixed reviews, it offers a new experience for the site. Timeline aggregates every Wall post in a profile into a chronological view that can be adapted, added to, and hidden away from view, changing the way information is accessed. Also, the new enhanced options for sharing with media partner applications directly in the Timeline. Facebook VP-Marketing and Business Partnerships David Fischer said Timeline for brands would be “consistent” with the Timeline look-and-feel, but not a carbon copy.
What does that mean for businesses?
Marketers can use those mentions from user interaction, and give their brand wider distribution through sponsored stories. “Marketers want to promote stories about the things they’re affiliated with but don’t always own the apps,” said Gokul Rajaram, Facebook Ads director of product management, referring to apps from services such as Spotify, Netflix or Pintrest that allow users to share what content they’re consuming. “Now you can promote stories from any app about objects you own, not just from the page owned by the marketer.” This will open a whole new way to target ads as well, based on what a user is listening to, reading, or watching when the ad is served.
Brands will have the ability to promote the history of their business by adding historical facts to the Timeline. A large customized design in the profile banner can be adapted more often to promote the brand, campaigns and contests, or other relevant marketing to drive traffic to. Unfortunately it’s rumored that Page Tabs, which were once visible under the profile image, will now be condensed and hidden in a box at the top of the page. Kunur Patel of Ad Age Digital suspects that the format change is to promote the use of the “Open Graph” apps and could put pressure on brands to develop their own apps using custom verbs other than “like,” in the same vein as Pinterest, which has a Facebook app that tracks when its users have “pinned” something.
As Facebook continues to expand, and gain the billions of revenue expected from the public offering, there will be new internal initiatives being added frequently to ensure that the revenue generated by the company will meet stockholder’s expectations. That being said, we expect the advertising element within Facebook to continue to expand and add options for businesses to increase exposure and engagement with their fans.
What updates will you need to make in your own Social Media Strategy for the Facebook of 2012?