Have you already switched your business’s Facebook fan page to the Timeline layout? Facebook rolled out the format for personal pages in September, and now the social-networking site plans to apply the design to business pages, too. All pages will be updated automatically on March 30, says the company, which is currently offering users a chance to preview the new features.
The Intuit Small Business Blog recently published an interview with branding expert Dan Schawbel, in which he offered tips for promoting a business on your personal Timeline. The option for businesses to take advantage of Timeline wasn’t available until Feb. 29. Although many companies have made the switch, others have stuck with the traditional look. Ready or not, your page will be forced to make the switch at the end of this month.
Here are a few tips for making your Facebook fan page look its best with the mandatory rollover.
Come up with a compelling cover photo. One of the biggest changes—the addition of a cover photo—is a plus for businesses. It helps you make a bigger impact with your branding by displaying a large photo (851 x 315 pixels) at the top of your profile. Source or take a high-resolution photo that relates to your brand: If you own a bakery, for instance, a mouthwatering photo of some freshly baked bread will make a striking visual splash. You can switch this image periodically to renew interest in your brand. While it may be tempting to use your logo here, don’t. You should keep your logo image as a consistent branding element in the smaller profile image box.
Use milestones to tell your brand’s story. The Timeline itself provides an ideal tool to illustrate your company’s corporate history: Use its chronology to mark significant events like the store’s opening date, the launch of a new product, and special events you’ve hosted. You can incorporate multimedia, such as photos and videos, into the Timeline to create an interactive experience for your fans.
Take advantage of “pin posts.” If you have a special event, sale, or contest that you’re eager to promote, you can keep that message at the top of your Timeline for a seven-day period. You may also highlight older posts for your fans by “starring” them (clicking on the star icon that appears when you hover your mouse over the message), which will expand the message to widescreen.
Customize your featured tabs. Custom landing tabs are gone with the new design, much to many marketers’ dismay. Now, your Timeline page will display four small tabs: One for photos, and three that may be customized. You can choose elements such as “likes” (displaying your number of fans), videos, a map of your store, or an events calendar. Pay attention to which tabs users click on regularly, and switch them up occasionally to see whether certain tabs attract more interest than others. You may add up to 12 tabs, but only four will be prominently displayed.
Even with the new design, the way you use Facebook as a business shouldn’t change: As always, the focus should be on providing useful advice and engaging with your fans. “The more you post, the better,” Dan Schawbel tells the ISBB. “The more you respond to people commenting, the more time your post will be on their news feed, and that’s how you really build a community.”