Changes aren’t always fun or exciting. Each time Facebook undergoes a change, whether big or small, they always deal with some confusion or backlash, but in the grand scheme, users don’t leave and we all adapt. We continue to sign on each day and interact with our virtual communities. When I chose my career path to be in social media, I knew that change would be the main ingredient. But that’s just one of the reasons I chose it – it’s so exciting!!
I also know that social media marketing is often times a big enough task to manage and that changes to Facebook can seem daunting and unnecessary – “What was wrong with it before?!?” I found some quotes that I thought spoke to some of the great opportunity that the new Facebook Timeline for businesses offer…
Change means that what was before wasn’t perfect. People want things to be better. - Esther Dyson
It’s true that maybe you were 100% satisfied with what Facebook was before. But Facebook is a multi-billion dollar company; it needs to be as close to perfect as it can be! For sure, you can expect even more changes to come, but when you take it in stride, or “cross that bridge when you get there” it’s all manageable!
Facebook Insights gets an upgrade!
The new admin panel allows you to look at all your notifications in one little space! With drop-down arrows and categories, you can browse between the different options, but you get your most commonly viewed stats, all in one glance. This “home” of the Insights include notifications, any direct messages a customer sends you (YES, that’s a new feature!), your newest likes to the page, your Reach and Talking About This stats, and finally some tips to make your page more effective.
About those messages…ever run into a scenario when a customer brings a comment or issue to the wall and you need to give them more detail but don’t want the conversation airing for everyone to see? While there are some pluses to that (people see amazing customer service) it’s a huge upgrade to take that conversation to a private message.
Change brings opportunity. - Nido Qubein
Get Creative with the Cover Photo
Have you wanted to build a brand story for your store? What about show some more creativity? The new Timeline gives you both of these opportunities in so many ways! First and foremost is the cover photo. This is a great place to tell the story of your brand in a creative, visual space. Make it exciting! Make it important! Your cover photo should be creative variable now; keep your profile picture simple with your store logo or sign.
Here’s the SnapRetail cover photo. We’ve actually been changing the photo every few days lately as a teaser campaign to today’s exciting announcement! With a new feature to our product, TrafficBuilder, this was a great way to keep our fans engaged in the page! (Side note: If you want to try this new feature, click here!)
You DO have to be careful with your cover photo, because, alas, Facebook has some rules and regulations. Don’t worry, they’re not too bad. The cover photo cannot be a clear promotion of your business – no call to action, no arrows to like the page, no contact information.
It’s not clear how these rules would be enforced, but as we always recommend, it’s better to stay on Facebook’s good side than lose the opportunity to market your business and interact with your customers on the most social platform ever!
Tell Pre-Facebook Story
Chances are, your business has only been on Facebook in the past few years but your business has been along much longer! With Timeline, you can write your history from day 1. Organizations like the U.S. Army have gone back to infamous battle dates and told their stories, educating their fans but also defining who they are. After all, history does take part in defining who we are.
Build an Interactive Community
Before, many businesses would use a custom tab to promote the current store sale. These were great – they looked nice, they changed up the expected look of Facebook and for many businesses, they made a posititve difference in getting customers to the store.
Custom landing pages or tabs are gone. Every visitor will land on the page’s wall (now called the Timeline), and this, along with other elements, creates an even greater need for businesses to be engaging on their page. Your customer needs a reason to visit the page and DO something. Every action that your page receives, gets air time on the News Feed or Ticker so it’s very important that more of those stories are about your business.
This is an example of our page, with a lot of tabs. Ours include the blog, catalogs from MarketPlace, email sign-up, Twitter, our Top Fans, Videos, Events, etc. Your business should also have tabs or apps that add something extra to the page. You can only display four applications/tabs on your Timeline. Fans can see more (up to 12) by selecting the down arrow just to the right of your tabs. Facebook automatically made Photos the first tab and you cannot delete this tab, but you can choose the other three. Get creative and take a look at some of these apps to get you started. WildFire and North Social are great tools to help you create custom tabs or apps to make your page more engaging.
So how do those tabs/apps matter without a customer being able to land there first? Well, Facebook created a “pin” for your business (I think it looks like a bookmark, but they’re calling it a pin). It’s a tool to use so that the tab or app gets attention right away, at the top of the page.
Change before you have to. - Jack Welch
Timeline comes March 30, 2012!
Get ahead of the game! You have 11 days to get your page ready to publish! You can work your way through it and get ahead of the curve before all changes take place for businesses on March 30!
If you have questions, let us know! Leave some comments and we’ll help you out as best we can