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March 19, 2012

10 Critical Things to Know About Facebook’s Timeline for Business

FB_business_timeline

Like it or not, Timeline on Facebook is rolling out to businesses at the end of March. Soon, we will have forgotten all about this shift, but for now, there are some things that you must know!

1. “Likes” don’t matter anymore, if they ever did. The call to action to “Like” your page is gone. Folks will have to be enticed to return to your page or voluntarily give you a “Like” and that will directly be a factor of the next item.

2. Content matters. I think that we’ve said that before. Why would anyone want to put themselves in front of commercials all the time (other than at the Super Bowl)? They wouldn’t, so you cannot become a commercial, but more than that, you must be interesting. Images, videos, and opportunities to share their own opinions are what tend to be the most interesting to others – and it’s about them, not you!

3. Your Cover Photo (851px x 315px) has a lot of restrictions on what it can be. Get help or do the research, but don’t risk your entire Facebook account by violating their terms.

4. Use your Cover Photo to spark curiosity, enhance your brand, connect emotionally, or highlight your features, but like any image, it will need to be visually appealing to the eye.

5. Murphy’s Law applies here. Designing your Cover Photo (and custom apps/icons) will absolutely take more time than you think. Plan for it.

6. Customize your Apps! And again, customize your apps (or tabs if you’ve not made the jargon upgrade). Use these to generate all of the Call-to-Actions you want to, but remember to personalize the icons, too. (App images are 111px x 74px).

7. Carefully consider which 3 apps you will emphasize. The top row of apps will be seen regularly, so put your best call-to-actions there!

8. Learn how to use the “Highlight” and “Pin” features. These will allow you to emphasize key moments on your Timeline in strategic and unique ways. Enter key dates, use pictures and links, etc. Experiment with these tools. You may find, they are actually more engaging than a Landing Page.

9. Get familiar with the Admin panel. There are some cool features there for engaging with your fans. Messages, “New Likes,” Insights, and the Activity Log are great resources to monitor what’s going on with your page and your fans as well.

10. Ads matter. Yes, we said it – the “A” word. Ads will become more important now, BUT they will need to be done differently. Engagement over Likes will be important, so your ads may need to be run to your current fans. Or, you may want to direct your Ad to one of your apps where you have a specific call-to-action. You may want to do both! Focus on engagement, not the “Like,” as one thing can be said to be true…

Timelines for Brands and Businesses changes everything!


Camille Rodriquez is the owner of Polka Dot Impressions, a social media consulting company. She is also the Women’s Pastor at her church, Living Stones Church – Sugar Land, and has authored a Christian devotional titled, “When I Die – On Being, Living, and Having the Last Word.”

She believes passionately in integrity and intentionality – integrity in living, integrity in business, and personal responsibility to others. Because all that we do leaves an impression, she encourages others to make it a good one!

If you’d like a free copy of her “10 Commandments of Social Media,” visit her website and fill out the “Contact Us” form. Or, you can follow along on her blog site – http://camillerodriquez.com.

2 Responses to “10 Critical Things to Know About Facebook’s Timeline for Business

    avatar Don Hill says:

    Thank you for your insight into the somewhat controversial decision of Facebook to change the layout of its users’ “landing pages.” However, I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss or diminish the value of a “Like” as a result of the implementation of Timeline. In fact, “Likes” will most likely become even MORE valuable – primarily because it’s going to take much more thought and consideration of the interests of fans, rather than the often blatant focus on the self-interests of the marketer who’s seeking the “Like.”

    After all, “Likes” will still result in your page’s content being displayed on the fan’s timeline, which results in an expansion of the exposure you and your business will receive. If anything, the Timeline change will now force marketers to actually EARN their “Likes” more than before, by making it necessary for them to interact more with their fans and to provide good reasons for them to remain as their fans.

    Let’s keep in mind that a “Like” is the business equivalent of a “Friend Request” for an individual, which is supposed to be an indicator of a degree of TRUST in the character of the object of the “Like” – something that marketers have been taking pretty much for granted, even though a large number of them end up shooting themselves in the foot in their efforts to solicit “Likes.”.

    If you’re providing regular relevant – and most importantly, valuable – content on your Fan Pages and you’re also interacting with your fans, the Timeline change will likely have minimal impact on you. However, if you’re constantly forced to “ethically bribe” people to “Like” your Fan Pages by using “Fan Gates,” you’ll likely need to revamp your strategy completely, especially since you’re no longer allowed to prompt (or even suggest) to people that they “Like” ANY of your pages in the Cover graphic that appears at the top of your Timeline. (You can’t even include an arrow pointed at the page’s “Like” button under the new Terms.)

    One thing is certain – you can expect to see a plethora of “shortcuts” and “loophole” exploits to the new format being offered by all the usual “guru” suspects, who often make their fortunes by offering ways to “cheat” or otherwise get around these kind of changes in the landscape, rather than simply providing ways of adapting to them.

    There are some who find the Timeline a little bit confusing but I believe that after learning the dynamics of the Timeline, it will be easy to navigate it. The power of images is great that’s why the Timeline can be very advantageous to any business.

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