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Business owners beware! Facebook has changed the game again, and this time the change involves your business! On March 1st, 2012, Facebook rolled out Facebook Pages (otherwise known as Timeline) for businesses, brands and organizations. All business pages will be converted to this new format automatically on March 30th, 2012. You can choose to have your page move to this new format before then by simply clicking “publish.”
I think the new Facebook Pages for business is a good thing. This format offers businesses a greater ability to develop relationships with new customers and deepen relationships with existing ones. In fact, Mashable reported that the release of Timeline for individual pages resulted in a 37% increase in the amount of time people spent looking at another person’s profile page. This can only be a good thing for business.
So before the official roll-out, take some steps to make sure your page is ready. Here are 5 tips to optimize your Facebook business page for Timeline.
1. Choose a Cover Image.
A Timeline cover image is your chance to tell the world what your business is all about and I don’t mean what you are selling. For example, Coca Cola’s Facebook Timeline Cover image shows happy, people having fun and enjoying Coke! The image tells me that the brand is all about friends, good times, good memories and fun!
The Timeline cover image is 851 X 351 pixels and there are some very specific rules about what you can put on it, or more specifically, what you cannot put on it.
Your cover page cannot be an advertisement. It cannot have a call to action such as “like” or “call now” or a special offer such as “buy one, get one free.” It cannot have your phone number, URL or email or physical address . This information is supposed to be documented on your “About” tab which is on the left hand side of your business page, just under your cover image.
So what should you put up as your cover photo? Any kind of image or collection of images that tells the story of your brand. Here some more examples of some excellent Facebook cover images from Mari Smith, Starbucks, Cool Fords , and even Facebook. Here’s a tip: Need a graphic designer to make a custom Timeline cover image for you? Hire one on Fiverr.com or Elance.com.
2. Familiarize Yourself with the new Display.
The new Timeline gives page owners a couple of different options on how information is displayed on the page. It can be “pinned” to the top of the page for 7 days (pin your info by clicking the pencil icon on the top right of your post; a yellow flag will appear at the top.). Hint: Use this feature to post a call to action.
Posts can also be highlighted by clicking the star icon on the top right of the post which will make the post or image stretch across the full width of the page. (Great for images).
3. Add Important Events to your Timeline.
With timeline you’ll now be able to record and showcase important dates in the history of your business. Think; grand opening, anniversaries, special events, any date that is important in your business should be documented on your timeline. Don’t forget to add photos.
4. Clean up Your Business Page.
This is the time to take irrelevant posts off your business page. You can either hide them or delete them. No more explanation is required.
5. Determine Which Applications to Showcase.
Gone are the navigation links (or tabs) on the left hand side of the page which was labeled “photos, events, wall, etc.” Those are now positioned on the top right hand of your business page right underneath your cover photo. Make sure that the first four are the ones that you want your fans to see first. You can edit which tabs can be seen by clicking on the icon that has a number and an arrow next to it which is just to the right of the rightmost tab.
Change can be a good thing, and I think the new Timeline for business pages is going to be good for all business.
Do you have your Facebook business page optimized for Timeline already? Share it here so that members of StartupNation can learn and “like” your page too!!
Want to get more inexpensive and practical small business marketing ideas, grab a free e-book called “Build Buzz for Your Biz, 23 Creative and Inexpensive Marketing Strategies That Will Get You Noticed” at http://23kazoos.com.
Wendy Kenney is the bestselling author of How to Build Buzz for Your Business available on Amazon.com, and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Newsday.