Facebook Timeline and Your Business – Maximize the Branding Potential
Although the Facebook Timeline at first received mixed responses with some business page owners complaining about the removal of the custom landing pages, the overall reception has been amazing. The FB Timeline was first announced at F8 meeting and the new lay-out became available at the end of March in 2012.
One of the main concerns aired by business page owners was that of how the new lay-out would affect branding because of the lack of control over default landing pages. With users by default landing on your Wall, you have to work a bit harder in getting them to custom pages. The upside is the elaborate banner size cover photo which is displayed right at the top of your page.
Cover Photo for Optimal Branding
The importance of the cover photo becomes apparent when one considers that 3.2 million visitors from South Africa visit Facebook in a month. With the right targeting and branding strategy you will thus be able to get to the ideal audience. If you haven’t utilized the new Timeline fully until now, you should certainly not procrastinate any longer. There are millions of users out there waiting to engage with your brand on your page.
History Overview through Scrolling
Apart from the branding possibilities offered through the page wide cover photo, Facebook has also made it easier for people to review the company history. This is especially beneficial for the really old companies with histories dating back to the days before technology changed the world forever. People can now scroll down year by year to see your company’s achievements and highlights.
The Timeline allows for direct fan and admin interaction through messages. The upside is that you will now be able to immediately respond to urgent messages. The downside is that once users start using the messaging feature more than email, you will need to appoint a person to handle the influx of messages. Note that if someone messages you, they normally expect an answer immediately and as such don’t neglect the communication channel. The messages also mean that you must be logged in 24/7 to ensure immediate response to fan communication.
Content Strategy is Essential
Although fans can message you directly, you cannot initiate messages unless in response to such. As such a vital part of success with the new lay-out will be to create engaging content and to ensure that posting is done when the main portion of your audience is online. Use the insights to gather information about such and don’t ignore the statistics when posting.
Content should not be created randomly. Know what you want to say, how to do so, and when. If you are for instance, posting for an audience in the 18-24 age group, you will want to post in the timeslot of 8 to 10 in the evening as that will be the time when they visit their FB pages.
If you want to highlight a post to ensure optimal visibility, use the highlight feature as it will spread the post through the entire width of the page. Photos have high viral value and you will thus want to add photos which catch user attention as well as videos to get people talking.
Posts should not be longer than 90 characters. People are not using Facebook to read essays. They want short, useful, fun and engaging chunks instead of online brochures. Get their attention with catchy titles and do so within the first line of each post.
Why the Focus on the Cover Photo?
As with everything else, first impressions count. The cover photo enables you to create a lasting good first impression. Here is the secret – change it often. Once every three or four days will ensure more reach and will help to keep your page interesting for the returning visitors. Pay attention to detail. Although you may not add a call to action, contact numbers, website addresses and prices you can still create engaging branded ads for your Facebook page. Visual engagement is essential within the strict guidelines of Facebook.
The photo should say something about who you are. If you recently hosted a product launch, use photos of such to create the banner with dimensions of 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels in height. Add the logo and a slogan.
The single most mentioned complaint about the new lay-out is that of the ditching default landing tabs. Instead of default ones, we now get the custom landing tabs which can be used to direct to specific URLs. It is a useful feature if you plan on running a special promotion, but it does entail a bit of work to ensure that the user sees and responds to the tabs.
It is the section that you can and should use to include contact information, basic information about the brand and the address of the business. You can also add your website address. In addition, use the section to add links and any information that you want to share. Whereas other parts of the FB page may be more visually attractive, this section focuses on information only.
The about information will be displayed just below the cover photo. Create a short and well constructed description to ensure that users will know exactly who you are and why they should support your page.
Like Our Page
Like is an action word. You want people to Like your page, events and photos. Unfortunately you have to play within the rule of Facebook. There are strict guidelines for getting the Likes you want. As soon as the page gets more than 30 likes a whole new world opens up. You will be able to gain insight regarding who liked the page, the demographics of users such as age, city, country, and gender in addition to other useful information that no marketer should ignore.
How to Get Likes
Post a link to your business page on your personal profile to create more exposure and possible likes. Another method involves the use of ads which can be targeted for a specific group to create the likes. If you run an event page, the chances of people clicking on the FB page and liking it increases. Just remember to create likes according to the acceptable FB policies – see their Application Integration Policy.
Increase Fan Engagement
It is possible to extend the reach of the page and to hold on to that valuable fan base. Status updates about the same old topic – you – are not engaging. People love reading about themselves and they want to be your focus. Yes, you sell amazing pizzas, but why should the fan be bothered? Create call to action buttons on your tabs. Add fan contests where one has to Like to enter. Every like of a fan will show up on their profiles and if you can get them to subscribe to your specials and newsletters with the right incentive, you will get more engagement.
The status updates must rank high with the EdgeRank system. It simply means that every status update should create a buzz. If you asked a question and nobody responded, maybe you didn’t give enough incentive or the question was simply not worth answering. Focus on the right demographics and get the fans to talk about the topic. You are not running the two in the morning show with no phone calls, you are running the headline morning show where you want as many responses as possible and you are doing this 24/7 on your page.
View 10 Facebook Timeline Business Pages That Rock as covered by PCWorld for some inspiration.
The new Admin panel that appears above the cover photo is rather useful. There are some drawbacks such as getting to the dislikes with five instead of one click. Overall though, SEOs love the many admin privileges. Control security, add more admins, create the ability for comments and easily track the interactions with your page. It is worth using daily to ensure supreme interaction with fans.
Apps Still in Place
The numerous apps are still in place, but note that you will only be able to see four tabs for such. The user must click the drop-down arrow to get to more apps. On the positive side, with a wide range of apps available, you will be able to customise the page completely by including from contact forms to integrated HTML. Even add custom YouTube videos, and it is no secret that videos are amongst the most popular means for going viral on a topic. View the “The 8 Secrets You Cannot Go Without…” to get started.
New Redesign of Timeline
Even though the timeline hasn’t even made the first birthday yet, it is already up for some more changes. The thumbnail images of tabs such as Photos, Friends, and Events may be removed and where the About information is now underneath the cover photo, you can expect such to appear in the cover photo in future. The changes are still in proposal form and may be met with some resistance.
Facebook is making its Wall Street debut and many experts feel that it will now be more important than before to create brand awareness through the social media pages. The value of social media pages will thus increase. Unfortunately you can only brand well if you know how to maximize the potential of Timeline and this is where iLead comes in. With our expertise and committed team we can help your company to reach more people and to enhance engagement with your fans.