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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Facebook Timeline Resources
- 8 Things Businesses Need To Know About Timeline For Facebook Pages
- Facebook Restrictions For Profile Timeline Cover Images
- 4 Things Your Facebook Pages Timeline Cover MUST NOT Contain!
- Where Did My Custom Tabs Go On Facebook Timeline For Pages?
- How To View Posts By Fans on Facebook Pages in Timeline Mode
- 15 Creative Tips to Rock Your Timeline Cover Photo for Facebook Pages
- 19+ Facebook Timeline Features and Resources You Should Know!
- NEW: 5 Tips for the New Facebook Timeline for Personal Profiles
Facebook Timeline How-to Videos
- NEW: Create an Awesome Facebook Image Post in Less than 5 Minutes [Video]
- Facebook Timeline Information and Tutorials Portal
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 Fan Page Photos Tutorial [Video]
- How To Get A Personalized Vanity URL For Your Facebook Fan Page
- How To Change Your Existing Facebook Fan Page Vanity or Custom URL
- How To Backup Your Facebook Profile Data
- 3 Ways to Add Google Map (Business Location) to Your Facebook Page
- 12 Must-Know Tips to Improve Fan Engagement on Your Facebook Page
- SocialCode Studies Top 500 Facebook Pages To Determine Best Practices For Engagement
- From Facebook Like To Lifetime Customer: Effective Strategies To Gain, Track Conversions
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:
- How Will The Facebook Ad Landscape Change In 2013?
- 5 Common Facebook Marketing Mistakes (And How To Avoid Them)
- Dangerous Facebook Ads Bug Results In Unauthorized Media Spend
- Facebook Ads Bot Traffic? Get The Real Story
- Facebook Users Outraged Over New Extortion Model
- Facebook Promoted Posts: Case Studies Suggest Distribution Fraud
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.