Last week, Facebook announced that it will be outfitting all business, brand and organization pages with the new Timeline layout by the end of March.
The update includes:
- Cover Photo
- Brand specific features such a the ability to pin posts to the top left spot of the Timeline feed for a week. An example may be directing people to a promotion, a special photo, or a time specific message.
- Admin Panel which boasts page stats, notifications, messages and management control of posts and displays
- Stories about users’ friend’s interaction with the brand page will be displayed through a widget in the top right hand side of the feed
- Pages no longer have a default landing page tab. Users will always see the main Timeline view
- Apps are now located to the right side of the “About” section. The negative is that any custom applications built for shopping, contests, promotions, coupons, etc., may not get as much activity due to the reduction in the apps’ prominence.
How are all these changes helpful to you? I like the added element of control. The layout is lending more of itself to personalization and participation encouragement since friend activity is much more prominent. It’s a great way to get more exposure to your loyalist’s friends. Graphical space is larger and allows for better merchandising. Businesses small and large now have the ability to showcase a more visual story of their brand history.
I found that there are two important rules to be aware of currently:
The cover photo can’t contain any promotional language. According to Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=276329115767498) the photo can not contain:
- Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”
- Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section
- References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features
- Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”
I’m sure there are many companies that are in violation of Facebook’s promotions guidelines, and because I’ve seen it happen, it’s important to understand what the rules are when it comes to contests (http://www.allfacebook.com/facebook-ads-page-timeline-2012-03). Here are a few highlighted promotional rules:
- Promotions on Facebook must be administered within apps on Facebook.com (https://developers.facebook.com/docs/guides/canvas/), either on a canvas page or a page app.
- You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion
- You must not notify winners through Facebook, such as through Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profiles (timelines) or pages.
Full list can be found here: http://www.allfacebook.com/facebook-ads-page-timeline-2012-03
My Top 5
- Post Regularly – It’s recommended to post at least five times a week to stay top of mind for fans. Consistency is also key. For example, post new product announcements on the same day every week so fans know what to expect and can look forward to hearing from you.
- Post Photos and Videos – Posts including a photo album, a picture or a video generate about 180%, 120%, and 100% more engagement than the average post, respectively. Grab your audience’s attention by using simple images with a clear focal point. Images with highly saturated colors also help the creative stand out against the site’s white background. An internal study showed that top performing ads (those with >.3% engagement in the form of likes, comments and shares) feature close-up images and a single color that stands out.
- Give fans exclusive access to content, products, events, and offers – Take fans behind the scenes of events and product launches to make them feel special. Announce new products to fans on Facebook before anywhere else, give fans early access to sales, or post exclusive photos from events.
- Encourage Interaction – Get input and feedback from fans about products. Create a question post or write a text post with a “fill-in-the-blank”. Fill-in-the-blank posts generate about 90% more engagement than the average text post. And an internal Facebook study showed that top performing question ads (those with >.3% engagement in the form of likes, comments and shares) are less than eight words and offer three concise answer choices.
- Collaborate with Manufacturers or Endorsers – Facebook Pages provide the ability for one Page to tag another Page in a post, as well as boost another Page’s post as an ad. Take advantage of this by cross-promoting these relationships to respective fan bases.