FACEBOOK Timeline: How it Makes Promoting a Business Even More Effective

This is a guest post by Christopher Wallace, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Amsterdam Printing Promotional Products to share tips on using Facebook Timelines. This is an example of a Facebook Business Page with a Timeline Image:

Example of a Facebook Business Fan Page Timeline Image

Amsterdam Printing Facebook Timeline ~ Click image to see it live on Facebook

Facebook Timelines

Facebook created a clear distinction between how businesses and individuals can use the social networking site when it launched Timelines last year. With Timeline, which provides a fresh new look for the site, individuals share their personal information in a profile, while companies can promote their business on a page.

[NOTE: It actually violates Facebook’s policy for a company to create a profile. If you accidentally did this, see How To Convert or Migrate A Facebook Profile Into A Business Page]

Although using Facebook as a marketing platform for a business is nothing new, some of the features introduced with Timeline offer new possibilities for companies seeking to promote their brand.

Cover & Profile Images

UPDATE:  Facebook changed the game on September 16, 2013 by requiring larger images for their Open Graph protocol to include larger images when we share on our timelines:

  • Recommended image size for the og:image is now 1200×627 pixels.
  • Minimum size is 560×292 pixels.

The following is from Facebook’s announcement of larger images for link shares:

UPDATE: Facebook TOS change March 2013: 20% Text Rule Lifted.

Gone are the days when a small single photograph was the primary visual image available to companies trying to get some visibility on Facebook. Today, through Timeline, Facebook users have the opportunity to create much more visual interest with the new, larger cover photo, which if used wisely can function much like a billboard.

Your cover photo and the smaller, inset profile photo are 
the first things people see when they enter your Timeline.
So be sure to optimize these areas first.

Although Timeline’s new look has advantages for businesses utilizing Facebook to promote their brand, there are some limitations. For example, cover photos cannot include overt advertising, such as pricing or direct contact information. Therefore, depending on the nature of your business, you might have to get the creative juices flowing to get users’ attention.

Because images of products and company logos are fair game, there are a lot of options available. For example, larger companies with lots of brand recognition can rely on recognizable logos. Take Coca-Cola, for example. Coca-Cola’s cover photo features various images of the company’s ubiquitous logo (http://www.facebook.com/cocacola).

Another interesting idea is incorporating the cover photo and the profile picture together. Our company took this approach on our Amsterdam Printing Facebook Page, and we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback on the design.

Hubspot Guide to Timelines for Facebook Fan Pages for Smallbiz

Click this image to download Hubspot’s Free Facebook Timeline Guide

Stories

Posts, status updates, and uploaded photos are called “stories” on Facebook, with the idea that individuals and businesses can utilize Facebook as a platform to tell their complete life story. The information posted is viewed in reverse chronological order, so companies can feature important milestones in the life of the business, update users on important news, and advertise special promotions.

Update Often

For some businesses, it may be prudent to change your cover photo periodically to showcase new products or services and to keep the page feeling fresh. In addition, companies should take advantage of the free opportunity to update information about their businesses by constantly adding new, enticing content.

For example, restaurants are increasingly providing daily photos showing specials and featured dishes in an effort to entice diners. In short, if users anticipate regular updates, they are more likely to visit often.

Engage Users

Facebook provides a unique interactive forum, unlike television or print advertisements, where companies can connect on a more intimate level with consumers and even establish solid relationships.

If the look and content of your Facebook page engages someone, that person may “like” the page or share it with friends, thus generating exposure and creating more personal connections.

Pinned Posts

Particularly important information that a company wants to highlight can be “pinned,” which creates a prominent display at the top of the Timeline for a period of seven days.

Promoted Posts

Although posting information (such as a sale or special offer) on a Facebook page may generate interest among those users who have officially “liked” your company’s page, promoted posts potentially provide much more exposure.

Clicking the “promote” icon after you’ve already typed the content allows that information to be seen by people who are connected to those who have “liked” your company’s page. In addition, companies can target individuals in a particular city or region while promoting a post.

Customize Featured Tabs

A company’s Facebook page generally displays four tabs, one of which is reserved for photos and the others can be customized. You can monitor which tabs generate the most interest among users, and savvy businesses will use that information to gauge when it’s time to change things around. See Hubspot’s How to Create Custom Tabs for Facebook Business Pages for more details.

Sponsored Stories & Ads

While most of the options listed here are entirely free, because Facebook has millions of users worldwide, it may make economic sense to pay for a sponsored story or a more conventional paid advertisement. Facebook will profile a company’s sponsored story, and that information reaches well beyond the page’s fan base. These options allow you to target recipients using various demographics including location, age, gender, education, and employer.

While detractors may have once regarded using Facebook
as a silly trend
among college kids and adolescents,
virtually every
segment of the population is now on board.

There is no denying the incredible influence of Facebook, and as a result, companies have an amazing opportunity to market their products and services on the site. That opportunity was advanced with the advent of Timeline, which provides even more possibilities for businesses to gain exposure online.

How to Create Facebook Timeline Images

If you want to do this yourself, Ileane @BasicBlogTips recommends the Facebook Timeline Splicer Pro App. Mari Smith shared last month that Facebook Single Column Timeline Designs Rolled Out so it is likely there will be a similar design for businesses. If it is already out I haven’t seen it yet.

21 Key Points to cover when creating your Facebook Page Timeline

Click this image to see Mari Smith’s annotated Guide to Optimizing Facebook Timelines for Business Fan Pages: 21 Key Points to Know

Find a Facebook Timeline Graphic Designer

Mari Smith compiled a spreadsheet of graphic designers who create Facebook Timeline images. Read her post for more details by clicking the image below:

Example of a quality Facebook Timeline

This is Mari Smith’s Facebook Timeline ~ Click this image to read her post about Facebook Timeline Cover Images or to find a Graphic Designer for your Facebook Timeline.

Facebook Timeline Resources

Facebook Timeline How-to Videos

The video below contains very useful details on how to use Facebook Timelines and Timeline Tips and Tricks. If you know whether anything in this video is or is not applicable only to business or personal timelines, please let us know in the comments and we’ll update this post and credit you for the information.

Facebook Business Page Resources

Facebook Engagement

Facebook Advertising

The leading expert on Facebook advertising we recommend is Aimclear. Their latest post on Facebook Advertising Updates! 2013 Brings More Fresh #FB Ads Features & Functions could be useful to you.

We caution our readers that if they choose to spend money with Facebook that they carefully monitor their results. See these posts for why:


This post was written by Christopher Wallace, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Amsterdam Printing (www.amsterdamprinting.com). Christopher has more than 20 years experience in sales and marketing.

Amsterdam Printing is a leading provider of custom pens and other promotional items such as personalized USB drives. Christopher focuses on providing quality marketing materials to small, mid-size and large businesses.

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