(It’s a good idea to read the post thoroughly at least once)
Well, Facebook finally released the new Timeline as an option for Pages. Currently it is just a option, but according to Facebook, everyone’s business pages will convert to the Timeline format on March 30th.
I know when Facebook usually makes these types of changes everyone goes a little nuts, but I’m going to show you why Timeline is going to make Facebook an even greater promotional tool than ever before.
Now let’s take a look at the new fantastic features.
Branding Your Page
Brand has become a new favorite buzz word among advertisers and business owners. Just what is a brand? The American Marketing Association defines a brand as,
“Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.”
Branding your business is all about standing out from the crowd, but also to stand out in peoples thoughts — you want your brand to be memorable. When people in your area think flowers, they should instantly think of your flower shop!
Consistency is the key to branding your business. By using the same colors, logos, designs or other interesting feature on everything you can, you constantly remind your customers about your brand.
How To Use Facebook To Promote Your Brand
There are many new features of the Facebook Business Timeline that allows you to customize your page like never before.
The cover photo is the very large banner that now spans the entire top portion of your Page. This is a great new feature to visually engage your visitors right from the start! Do you update your store front monthly? Now you can show it off on your Facebook Page! There are a few rules, however, Facebook says:
- This space is not meant for promotions, coupons, or advertisements.
- Your cover photo should not be primarily text-based
- You cannot infringe on anyone else’s copyright.
- Cannot contain price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”
- You cannot add any sort of contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section.
- Do not use references to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features
- Cover photos cannot contain calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”
- Covers must not be false, deceptive or misleading.
- You may not encourage or incentivize people to upload your cover image to their personal timelines.
- Cover images must be at least 399 pixels wide. (Tip: the bigger the better though, for clarity.)
Now, that’s a whole lot of rules, but the gist of it is, they want you to use photos or artwork only. Be creative and experiment with images your audience responds well to, such as holiday products, store fronts, delivery van photos.
FSN Suggestion: By using your store front as your cover picture, you are (1) showing that you are really local (2) familiarizing your followers with your shop’s location, and (3) showing the love for your community.
(Great job Hart Floral for getting a jump on things!!)
Changing Your Cover Picture
You can change your picture at anytime by hovering your mouse over it until a small box pops up that says Change Cover. Here you have the option of using a photo you’ve already uploaded, or adding a new one.
2. Your Profile Picture
The way Facebook no does profile pictures has also changed. Facebook is forcing all profile pictures to be square. (Before, you could use a tall/thin profile photo, but not anymore!) This may not effect everyone, but if you were using the extra room for promotion, you may have to rethink your strategies.
Best Practices: It’s best to use your logo for a profile picture, or at least something very recognizable as your flower shop. If you just use a picture of flowers, or are constantly changing images, you’re missing out on an easy way to extend your brand. By being consistent and recognizable, followers will instantly notice your updates in their newsfeed as they scroll through.
Organizing & Navigating the Timeline
Facebook Timeline now gives you more ways than ever to highlight, organize and engage visitors. Let’s take a look what these new features are and how you can use them for your business.
At A Glance Information
Another new feature of the new Facebook Timeline is the section right under your cover picture (as seen above). Here you can find quick information about your Page as well as the features and apps your Page uses.
The area marked #1 in the image above is what used to be on the side bar below your profile picture. This included links to your wall, photos, notes, events and any custom apps or pages you may have added. Now these are more prominently displayed below your cover photo.
Photos are automatically featured in the first spot, but page admins can rearrange the rest to feature the most important ones first. You may have a total of 12 apps can be shown here, which can be viewed when page visitors click the dropdown arrow (Shown as #3).
As an admin, you are able to rearrange 3 of the 4 boxes in this area (you cannot move the photos) by using the ‘Manage’ >> ‘Edit Page’ dropdown via the ‘Admin Panel,’ which is accessible at the top right of their business page.
2. About Your Shop At A Glance
There is now small snippet of your about section located under your profile picture. Visitors can also click the link to the About section right below this box.
Timeline has really changed the idea behind what your Facebook Page is. It’s no longer just about updates and current events, with Timeline, your Facebook Business Page now chronicles the events of your business.
1. Top Menu Bar
As you scroll down on your timeline, you will notice a small menu bar appear at the top. This gives you quick access to many features of the timeline.
- Page Name – (It’s Flower Shop Network in the example) This is where your shop’s name will appear. You can click on it to go back to the top of your page.
- Timeline – Here you can quickly access your About section, Photos, Likes, Notes, and any other tabs or apps you may have added. It’s the same links that appear in the little boxes under your cover picture.
- Now – This lets you quickly go back in time and see what was happening in your shop on any given month or year.
- Highlights – This divides up the timeline to show certain things more prominently.
- - For instance, by default, it shows Highlights, which is highlights of your posts throughout the timeline.
- - By changing it to Friend Activity, you are able to see every post to your Page by friends. This also includes anywhere you’ve been tagged or mentioned.
- - Posts by Page shows every single update by you, not only the highlights.
- - Posts by Others shows every single post to your wall by others, (this does not include mentions.)
2. Posting Updates
This is just like before where you could post status updates, photos and share. Not much has changed on this end. Except one new feature, Milestones. Every post you make will be anchored to the timeline for the appropriate date.
This new feature lets you mark important Milestones for your business. When you first click the Milestone link, you will be asked to put in the date your business was founded. This will be the very last point on your Timeline.
Milestones allows page admins to highlight some of your shop’s biggest accomplishments, such as fan growth, award wins, flower show features, big events, etc. These milestones will appear much bigger than regular updates and will always show when scrolling through the timeline.
Milestones don’t have to be current. You are able to set the date on them and they will pop into the Timeline where they need to be. So for instance, if you were in the paper for a big event during Christmas, create a milestone for that and when you scroll to December of 2011, it will be there big as ever! You can go back as far as you’d like, (but not past your founding date). These milestones are great for your visitors, but it’s also a fantastic, visual record of the history of your store.
4. Dots on the Line
If you haven’t noticed, there really is a line running through your Page. This is the timeline. Each post, photo or share is placed on this line and are indicated by these little dots. If you place your mouse over the line, it will turn into a + and let you place milestone on it.
(Yes I forgot number 5) This is another way to segregate the posts and updates on your timeline. It works just exactly like the Highlights feature in number 1 Top Menu Bar.
7. The Mini Timeline
This is a very condensed version of your timeline. You can click on any date and go back in time to see what was happening at that time. When you click on a past year, it will pop out all the months for that year to let you narrow down your search.
Friend Activity At A Glance
Mutual Friends of The Page
Your Timeline will also show your visitors how THEIR friends interact with your page at a glance. At the top of the picture above, you can see it says 30 Friends. This is how many of my personal friends like this Page. (The number will be different for every visitor.)
Mutual Friend Mentions
If a visitor to your Page has a friend who has mentioned that page, it will also show up. (This will depend on the visitor as well.)
Recent Posts By Others
Here you will find ALL recent posts by others, meaning NOT posted the Page. So anytime a visitor posts something to your timeline, it will collect them in one location. (For a better look at what others are posting on your page, change the Highlights at the top of the timeline to show Posts By Others)
We’ve already mentioned how you can use milestones to feature important events happening at your shop. However, there are even more features to explore.
Star, Hide or Pin
As you hover over each post on your timeline, you will notice the little box above appear in the corner.
- The little star icon is for Highlighting. If you click the star it will expand this post all the way across your page, giving it much more visibility. This is great for highlighting big events that aren’t quite Milestones.
- The pencil icon is for editing the post you are on.
- - Pin To The Top – This is a very cool feature for highlighting specific posts. Say you are having an open house and you want everyone to come. By pinning the post about the open house to the top, no matter how many other posts you add, it will always be first. These pins will last 7 days. Or you can click the pencil again and choose Unpin From Top to remove it.
- - Change Date – this lets you change the post’s date. (This will move it to the appropriate spot on your timeline.)
- - Add Location – this lets you add a location for your update. Say you are at a flower show, you can change your update to be from that flower show.
- - Hide from Page – Use this to hide the post from your page. If the post contained any media content, such as a photo, it will remain in your photo galleries.
- - Delete Post... – This lets you completely delete this post.
- - Report/Mark As Spam – Use this if someone has posted bad or spammy comments.
You can access the Admin Panel by clicking the button above your Mini Timeline. Notifications will also appear here as red numbers.
The new Admin Panel gives you everything at a glance.
Here you can see all of the notifications for your page. This is just like the past notifications section, only condensed into a small block. You can click See All in the top right corner of this block to see all recent notifications.
2. New Likes
Here you can see all of your pages new subscribers, aka Likes. Click See All in the top right corner of this section to see more recent likes.
This is a small graph that shows you an overview of visitor activity analytics. You can click See All in the top right corner of this box to see a much more detailed analytics area.
4. Page Tips
Here Facebook displays tips to help you manage your page. (They may be saving this area for something else in the future, though) Click Next in the top right corner to see another tip.
5. The Admin Tool Bar
Here you can navigate to many useful areas of your page, lets take a look:
- Manage – everything you need to manage your page effectively.
- - Edit Page – Go here to change your pages settings, permissions, information and more.
- - Use Activity Log – This gives you a detailed look at everything that has happened on your page, starting with most recent events.
- - See Banned Users – View any users you have banned in the past. You can also Unban them from this menu.
- - Use Facebook As [Page Name] – This lets you switch to using Facebook as your Page. While in this mode, you can comment, like, share and more all from your Page’s account, not your personal Facebook.
- Build Audience – here you will find tools to increase your Page’s followers.
- - Invite Email Contacts – You can invite your email contacts to become fans of your Page.
- - Invite Friends – Invite your personal Facebook friends to become fans of your Page.
- - Share Page… – Lets you share your Page on your wall, other Page’s walls, or in a message.
- - Create An Ad – This gets you started creating a Facebook ad for your Page. (but not for free)
- Help – Here you will find various links to help sections on Facebook.
- Hide – Hides the Admin Panel. To show it again, just click the Admin Panel button.
This is a completely NEW feature and one of my favorites. Facebook now lets Pages receive private messages. This is a great feature for Pages. Now customers can message you questions on a more personal level.
However, if you do not want to use the private message feature, admins can choose to turn off messaging by choosing Manage in the Admin Panel >> Edit Page >> Manage Permissions, and unchecking the Messages box.
Facebook’s new Timeline is a big difference from their old Wall layout. There are a lot of great new features, and a few that we will have to get used to. Let us know what features you like or don’t like in the comments below!
I know there is a LOT to take in with this latest update. I have worked hard to explain all the latest features, but I’m sure there will still be questions. Feel free to ask them in the comments below and I will gladly answer them ASAP! I might also add them to the post if it’s something I forgot. By working together we can make this guide even better!