If you admin your company's or organization's Facebook page, all pages will transition over to Timeline by March 30. What does this mean for your brand and Facebook page? A lot of work, for sure, but also an unprecedented opportunity to shape how your company or organization is engaged – and perceived – by 845 million users on Facebook.
Below are 10 tips that will keep you ahead of the game and prevent you from being blindsided when your CEO is asking you what happened to the company's Facebook page.
1) Cover Photo. Normal users who have switched over to the new Timeline already know the impact of this feature in conveying your personal brand to your social network. The 851-by-314-pixel dimensions gives you a massive amount of real estate to upload an image that best represents your company's brand. This image should epitomize everything that your company or organization is all about in terms of culture and values. Pick a stunning high-resolution image that will really resonate with your audience. An important ground rule to keep in mind with cover Images: Brands may not include any calls to action, pricing information or references to Facebook features, apps, or websites in the cover image. This is to help minimize many of the cheesy promotional hacks that many marketers have stumbled upon in regards to using graphics. As we always tell our clients: Keep it classy, if possible.
2) Take Advantage of the Larger Real Estate for Photos. Images posted on the old wall and photo albums now enjoy a lot more prominence and increased visibility on the new Timeline. Photography now becomes a very salient communication aspect of your brand's Facebook page. By default, uploaded images will appear on either the left or right column of your timeline but by clicking on the highlight button next to any Timeline photo you can set the image to become a virtual photo billboard on your Timeline (843x403 pixels)
If you have an in-house photographer, this will be where his/her talents will shine for your organization. Also, photographic archives will find new life on your company's Timeline.
3) Take the Conversation Private. Prior to Timeline, critical comments and complaints could be posted on your brands wall by anyone, and brands could only respond to the comments on the public wall. This aspect of Facebook made many brands very hesitant to enter this space. With the new private messaging feature, organizations have a new customer-service channel that allows brands to request users to message them directly and privately to resolve any issues that people may have.
The catch here is that Facebook pages cannot initiate a message toward a user; they can only respond to one sent by the user. For instance, if someone is complaining on a company’s wall, the administrator of the company’s Facebook page can request subsequent messages be sent in private and take the conversation away from public view when appropriate.
4) Update Your Facebook Tactics. Under the old Facebook Page Wall paradigm, many brands would optimize their profile photo with what amounted to skyscraper ads. Often this would allow for additional brand information, calls-to-action and other topical information by taking advantage of Facebook's generous limits on the vertical height. These vertical pics are effectively reduced under the new Timeline system. Also, all custom Facebook page apps have relocated from the left-hand bar to a discreet right-hand box. Any tactics that were optimized to direct attention to these left-hand navigation items will need to be revisited.
5) Lose the Welcome Tab or FBML Landing Page. A staple of aggressive marketers on Facebook, the ubiquitous FBML or "Welcome Tab" on many pages will no longer function as a default landing page for new visitors. If your page was rocking one of these, hide or delete it. The way it's relegated as an obsolete app would be viewed as a quaint and outdated by many users. What new visitors will now see when they first visit your page is your brand’s Public Timeline, which brings us to No 6.
6) Clean up Your Brand's Timeline. Those company holiday party pics you posted back in 2009 with the open bar? Hide or delete them. Prior to Timeline, those photos would have simply been buried at the previous pages of your Wall safely hidden from public scrutiny. Now, by clicking on years, people can quickly navigate to any point in your company's timeline to learn more about your brand's history. Take some time to slowly remove anything that is not aligned with your brand's core values and feel free to add historical highlights.
7) Curate Your Brand. With the new Timeline functionality, a lot of third-party apps are being developed that allows for very personalized platform for creative self-expression and interacting with their fans across multiple touch points. Take a look to see what makes sense for your brand and try them out.
8) Get Ready for New Facebook Actions. Users now have more options for how they interact with brands. Instead of just liking, commenting and sharing something, users can now express that they "love," "want" and/or "own" a product as well as write recommendations about products and services that can be shared with their network. For brands that operate within the Reputation Economy, these touch points will become very powerful drivers for word-of-mouth marketing.
9) Telling the Story with Milestones. The feature of Timeline that will resonate most with companies and organizations is the ability for brands to list salient milestones for the organizations: Date Founded; Important Awards and Accomplishments; Mergers, New Partners, Game Changing Product Launches.
Milestones now allow brands to tell their own unique story in a very holistic manner and see and shape that story from a birds-eye view.
10) Revise Your Social Media Strategy. Facebook Timeline offers a very powerful and visual tool to engage with your fans and offers a wealth of branding opportunities. If you're not currently on Facebook promoting your brand, your competitors are there already engaging with your audience and potential customers, and they now have access to a very compelling and visual way to do that.
Bottom line: Facebook Timeline now allows companies and organizations to punch way above their weight class.
Have additional questions about migrating your brand to Facebook's Timeline? Contact John Luu at (713) 523-5711 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.