Facebook’s timeline update to business pages allows companies to have a much bigger presence on the social media web. Is your business there? if not then why not lol are you crazy!
More than just providing consistency between personal and company-owned Pages, Facebook Timeline provides businesses of all sizes an opportunity to use the platform to market their organisations in a much more engaging way.
On 30 March 2012 it goes live so make sure your business is ready for the switch over. All pages will be automatically changed to the new Timeline format. It’s therefore vital that businesses with branded Facebook Pages are taking steps now to prepare their Page for the switch, and ensure they’re making the most of the great new features Facebook has introduced.
The cover photo
The cover photo will sit at the top of your Page and will be the first impression users have of your business when they visit, so it’s important to get it right.
Keep the image simple. It should embody not only the look of your business, but its personality, communicating your value proposition to customers and what your organisation stands for.
Be careful though, as Facebook won’t allow cover photos to include promotional content or calls-to-action. It’s important the image entices users to learn more and join your community without becoming a direct marketing tactic.
You should change your cover photo at least seasonally to help tell your evolving story. For instance, a local hotel might post photos of a scenic view as it changes through the seasons.
The ‘About’ section
Small businesses can use this section to convey any vital information about the company, such as a top-level overview of the organisation and what it offers its customers, or important local information, such as contact details, address, opening hours and even a map to your exact location.
By clicking on the ‘About’ section, users are taken to a more in-depth description of the company, but still try to keep it short, simple and well-spaced so all of the information is easily conveyed.
We witness the passion and enthusiasm they have for their organisations and industries on a daily basis. We also see just how important the company’s journey is, in particular reaching major milestones.
Timeline is shifting brand pages towards a story-based model, enabling brands to showcase heritage and history in a visually engaging and personal way.
Use the Timeline feature to market your organisation’s history by adding in backdated content you have on file – your first shop or office opening, your first employee, or your 1,000th customer.
If you haven’t already started, now is the time to start collating content about your business’ history. Small companies should aim to insert these key pieces of content into the relevant points in their Timeline to create a compelling story that encapsulates what the organisation stands for and delivers to its customers. Then, think about ways to drive your fans to that content. For instance, you could do a “This Day in Company History”.
This is further enhanced by the new ‘milestones’ feature available on wall posts. It allows businesses to ‘star’ pieces of content as significant so they are featured more prominently on the Timeline.
The page navigation banner
The section under the profile and cover photos is the new home for all content not hosted on the Timeline – including the About section, photos and applications.
The icons for each of the applications will be larger and more prominent than on the old page style, so it’s important to select visually appealing icons. You can also label them however you choose – think about active, exciting names that will encourage fans to click.
If you have multiple applications, you’ll need to select the two or three that you want to focus on and make sure they’re the most visible. The rest will be tucked away and only visible when users expand the banner to see the apps.
Timeline offers businesses several new editorial techniques to make their content more successful. One of the best of the free tools made available is the ‘Pin’ feature.
When a piece of content is posted to the wall, those with Administrator rights to their business’ Facebook Page can ‘Pin’ the content to the top of their Timeline where it remains for seven days.
This will allow businesses to ensure key pieces of news or promotional content remain visible for longer. This in turn will drive more engagement with the content and help boost the community.
One final note is a new feature available through the Administrator Panel: the ability to turn on – or off – private messaging. When this feature is turned on, fans can now privately message you as a business, which is great for more personal or private questions. Further, because Timeline orders your posts by engagement, rather than chronologically, it’s a bit more difficult to keep up with comments and Likes. The Administrator Panel comes to the rescue with an easy way to see all of your notifications in one place.
We are very excited about the new opportunities Facebook Timeline will bring to small businesses looking to market their organisations. Through correct use of the new features in conjunction with promotions and exclusive content, we can see SMBs only becoming more successful with their Facebook marketing.
It’s vital that small business owners spend some time making these changes and investigating Facebook Timeline for Brands in order to create a company Timeline that truly embodies their business and enhances their image online.