MSNBC’s Your Business show invited me on to talk about Facebook Timeline this weekend, and what small businesses should do to prepare for the switch.
I’ve given a 75 minute webinar on Facebook Timeline, discussed these changes with Facebook, with top vendors, with top brands, and I even put together an 18 page ebook for agencies to help them brief their clients.
So cramming a summary of the Facebook Timeline changes into 3 minutes was a little tough. Here is the full video and my bullets of what we focused on during the segment.
1. Timeline As a Web Page
The new Facebook Timeline is designed to be more like a web page. There are a few key pages, more fan friendly content, and more control over what shows up and what does not from the business perspective.
2. Photos Photos Photos
If Facebook wants you to remember one thing about the Timeline it is simple this…
Use More Photos
From the large cover image, to the app thumbnail images, to more prominent photos and photo albums throughout the content of the page. Facebook knows that people love photos. They love to share them, engage with them, and they go viral more quickly than other content types.
So Facebook wants all businesses to pay more attention to images.
Need help finding a large image for your Facebook Timeline cover? Here are a few tips:
- Use an iPhone or other smartphone to take large photos of products, customers or employees. Capture the personality of your brand.
- Use iStockphoto.com or Shutterstock.com to buy stock images that represent your brand. Expect to pay $50 to $100 on the low level for a really good image.
- Use Photoshop or free photo editor Pixlr to edit your cover image (if you use Chrome, search for the pixlr chrome app).
- And do not forget, Facebook says there are no calls to action allowed in the cover image. So no websites, phone numbers, coupons, sales, like this, share that, or arrows. This space is for branding only.
The Timeline gets it’s name because of the story telling that businesses can now do through the date links that are created from backdated status updates. Businesses can go in and add their founding date and story. Ford shared a photo of the first Model T rolling off the lines. Use photos and historical moments to talk about your business and the personality that goes along with it.
Businesses can now receive private messages from fans, just like personal profiles. This is optional, but if enabled can be a great customer service utility.
As Facebook pages changeover to Timelines, the big user experience difference is that not every piece of content exist on the wall any more, in order. Pages have more control over what content is there and if it is emphasized or not. You can feature photos, hide fan updates, and even pin content to the top. With all this new control, there is a new admin feature called Activity Log that allows businesses to get a grip on these options.
The bottom line is the Facebook Timeline will look like a huge change for most pages. Visually things are way different. The admin will take a little getting use to. And there are a couple new things that need to be learned, like messages, activity log, milestones, and pinned posts.
But at the end of the day, this change does very little to how you should be using Facebook for business. Use organic content posted by your page to build a loyal audience. And use Facebook ads to convert them.