Facebook Timeline – What A Business Needs To Know About The Switch

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This is the first post in a series on the switch to Facebook Timeline.  Also read post two.

Facebook alerted Facebook Page Managers earlier this month that we are finally going to receive Facebook Timeline for Pages.  Those brand pages that have not made the switch by March 30, 2012 will automatically be switched to Timeline.

Facebook timeline switch tutorial

I will admit—I thought it would take them longer, but as a social strategist and social media fan, I am very excited about this.

We are already seeing creative use of Facebook Timeline from brands. Coca-Cola is sharing its rich history through vivid images and memories from fans, while Red Bull has already enacted a Facebook Timeline contest to promote its Timeline. This is only the beginning of creative uses of Facebook Timeline as an engagement portal for brands.

The Switch To Timeline

This change is potentially a big hit to some brands though—especially smaller brands without a full social media team to fill out Timeline history, determine strategy and engage with fans everyday.

Regardless, if you are a marketer using Facebook, there are things you have to know about this switch.  Gone are the days when you can post something and walk away. Facebook Timeline is a vehicle through which you can tell your brand story and communicate with customers (who are often your BEST customers).

Are you a Facebook Page Manager who is unsure what this switch means (or what you absolutely need to know)? We wanted to offer some quick tips to help.

3 Facebook Timeline Tips For Your Switch

1.    Add a Cover Image
Your cover image is the first thing Facebook users see when they land on your page.  This image should represent your brand.  It is 850 x 315 pixels, by far the largest visual real estate Facebook has ever given to brand pages. This is really the only thing you need in place to make the switch to Timeline.

2.    Facebook Tabs Have A New Home
No longer will your Facebook tabs show up on the left hand navigation—now they are located to the bottom right of your Cover Image at the top of your page.  You will see your Photos, Page Likes and then additional boxes based on the existing tabs you have.

If you used to require non-fans to land on your custom tab, all users will now land on your Timeline.  This makes the visual in that Cover Image even more important.  Note that it goes against Facebook policy to add marketing messages in the cover image (i.e. an arrow and request for users to “like” the page), so it should truly be a visual representation of your brand. Get creative!

When you switch, if your tabs are showing up with an image of a gear, reach out to the developer of your tab to ensure they upload a custom logo or icon for each one.

3.    Edgerank Requires Engaging Content
If you still have not created a content strategy to tell your brand story on Facebook, now it is more important than ever. Facebook has updated Edgerank (its algorithm for the Newsfeed), requiring brands to produce better content in order to get any coverage in users’ Newsfeeds.

Facebook’s algorithm requires that fans engage with your post, whether they like, comment, share, click-on your post or click-thru your link. So, push the push-only mentality out the door.

Consider Facebook to be a channel where you can share news, get feedback, give tips and tricks that only you will know, and genuinely include them in your process.  Make your Facebook customer part of your planning, give fans extra offers because they “liked” you, and genuinely show them appreciation for being connected.

We will continue watching this switch happen and will update with any other considerations to keep in mind.  All in all, now is a great time to refresh your strategy on Facebook and reconnect with your customers.

What makes you excited about Facebook Timeline?

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