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November 6, 2012

Making the Most of Facebook Timelines

Among the many exciting features that Facebook offers, the Timeline feature is one of the most useful. If you use the feature properly, you will grab the attention of your current and potential fans and keep them indefinitely.

Some of the Facebook Timeline features that can help you to do this are milestones, highlighting and pinning. Those features can help you to increase the number of people with whom, you interact online. The features amplify what you would be doing already, only they do it in a bigger and better way.

Using the Pinning Feature

When you are using the pinning feature, you are keeping your status update at the top of your timeline. This needs to be done manually. If you use this feature, your status update will not be able to move from wherever you “pin” it no matter how many new status updates you add to your Facebook page after that (within a seven-day time period). There are several useful pieces of information that you will want to know:

* One at a Time: No matter how many items (status updates, posts, etc.) you want to pin on your page, you can only pin one at a time.

* Where Your Pinned Post Will Appear: Your pinned post will always appear at the top of your Facebook Timeline (on the left).

* The Length of Time that Pinning Lasts: After you pin a post on your Facebook page, it will remain pinned for seven days unless you unpin it before the seven days are up.

* How to Pin a Post: If you want to pin a post, you should click on the pencil icon that appears in the upper right hand corner of your status update. Once you have clicked on the icon, select “Pin to Top.”

* How to Unpin a Post: If you want to unpin a post on your page, click on the pencil icon in the top right hand corner of your pinned post and choose the “unpin” option.

Pinning is a very useful feature because it gives you ideas on how to pin most effectively for your business. You can offer to give something valuable to your fans if they agree to “Like” your page or send you their contact information. Another effective way to use the pinning feature is by pinning something on your page that you would like your new visitors to see before anything else. It basically works as a welcome message in that context. Pinning works just as effectively with videos as it does with the written word. You can put a welcome message above the link for the video and invite your visitors to watch the video. If you don’t want to use a video, you can also use still graphics to get your point across.

Highlighting One of Your Posts

The term “highlighted post” means that you have a post that you choose to put across your Timeline (the width of both columns). If you highlight the post, you will be getting your visitors to pay attention to it and the unwritten message that your visitors will get is that you consider it more important than your other posts. You are letting them know that it is worth paying attention to it. There are several pieces of information that you will want to know about highlighting a post:

* Pinned Posts Versus Highlighted Posts: In general, pinned posts stand out more than highlighted posts; however, highlighted posts hold a great deal of value.

* Limitations: Highlighted posts have no limitations.

* One at a Time: Facebook will not allow you to highlight and pin a post at the same time. You need to choose which one you want to do.

* How to Highlight a Post: If you want to highlight a post, place your mouse over the post (in the upper right hand corner). You will see a star icon. Click on the star to highlight a post. If you want to unhighlight the post, click on the star again.

* An Important Difference: Facebook does not allow you to keep a post at the top of your Timeline once you have highlighted it. Highlighted posts appear in chronological order. The more posts you highlight, the further down the older highlighted posts will appear.

There are many wonderful ways in which you can effectively use the Highlighting feature. You can highlight testimonials that people have written about you and your business (with an image of the person who wrote the testimonial, if that is appropriate). You can include it in your status update and then highlight it so that people are drawn to it. Since there is a likelihood that you will have many highlighted posts, you can create a strategy of how you want to present those posts. That can be most effective. You can also highlight a post that discusses new products and/or services that your brand is offering.

Creating Milestones

A milestone is an incredible way to present a story for your business using words and graphic images. You can include your business’s mission statement as part of the story as well. You are able to place them anywhere you wish on your Timeline. The only placement limitation will be the date that you actually place them. There are several pieces of information that you will want to know when it comes to creating milestones:

* How to create a Milestone: If you want to create a milestone, click on “Event, Milestones +” at the top of your screen.

* What You Need to do Next: You don’t need to highlight milestones because they are already highlighted. They will appear across both columns in your Timeline.

* Creating Multiple Milestones:
There is no issue with creating more than one milestone for your Timeline.

* Going into the Past: You are not limited by time or date. If you have a milestone that you want to create for today and you have milestones that you want to post that occurred in the past, you are allowed to do that.

Using milestones as a tool can be extremely effective. You should incorporate them as part of your social media marketing strategy. You can use graphic images in your milestones, include a call-to-action or include other compelling pieces of information that will be of value to your visitors. Regarding graphic images, you should choose your cover photo carefully. You want it to reflect who you are and what you represent in your business.

Facebook Timelines are valuable tools that are user-friendly and can be instrumental at drawing more traffic to you and allowing you to establish more relationships with other business people. Your online connections will be valuable and you will benefit from one another. So, jump right in and start making full use of Facebook Timelines for your business.

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Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies. Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. He also reduced company travel and travel costs by introducing and implementing various collaboration technologies.

His expertise includes business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.

Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.

Mr. Cohn is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).