Understanding the new Facebook Timeline for Businesses

Part I

by Rich Nilsen

Well those us on Facebook know it all too well. Mark Zuckerberg and his crew have done it again. At least they warned us this time. The new Facebook Timeline debuted at the end of March, presenting regular Facebook users with some drastic changes. For those of us with business pages, the Facebook Timeline is critical to understand. On a positive note there are actually some nice benefits from the changes that help give our businesses added exposure.

As a businessman and marketing specialist, my first foray into social media marketing was many years ago with MySpace. I never got very far into MySpace because I found the overall concept and site design lacking. In a lot of ways, the new Facebook Timeline reminds me of MySpace. However, it is significantly better than MySpace and there is really no reason to go into the comparisons between Facebook and the once thriving social network. Instead, we will look at some of the changes presented to us by the Timeline and how we can best use them to our advantage.

DOCUMENT YOUR HISTORY

First, the new Facebook Timeline gives us the opportunity to tell the story about our business. When did it start? What were some of the important milestones? Anything important concerning the business history, such as an anniversary, can be documented on the Timeline. You can go back in time, before any of us were born, and that includes Mark Zuckerberg!

So, for example, you can go on your Timeline and enter the fact that your business started on May 1, 1978. This information will be archived and will also show up on your fans’ news feed. To do this, choose a year or date on the right-hand column of your business page, and this will jump you down to approximately that time frame. Click in the middle of the page, and a menu option (illustrated below) will pop up. From there, you can choose “milestone.” Facebook will then let you enter an event, the specific dates of the event, notes, and the option of adding pictures.

Adding a milestone for a business on the new Facebook Timeline

PHOTOGRAPHY

One of the biggest changes that I am sure most people have noticed is that the re-designed Facebook allows for significant more photo real estate. Needless to say, this is a big opportunity for many businesses. Anything you can do to put your business in visual terms should be done here. And done often.

On the same subject, the Timeline allows you to have a cover image. This is the 851 x 315 pixel-sized photo that appears at the top of the business page. It is important to note that this photo can not be used for advertising purposes. Business are not allowed to upload a picture that contains items such as contact information, website addresses, calls to action, etc. You can do that within the photos uploaded on the site, just not on the prominently-displayed cover image.

Get creative with your Facebook cover image. Place a photo in this spot that depicts your business and what it stands for. Keep in mind that every time you change this cover image, your fans will see this in their news feed. Talk about free advertising. Take advantage of the cover image by changing it frequently. If possible, I would do this bi-weekly.

Adding a cover image for a business on the new Facebook Timeline

MESSAGING

Your business fan page can now receive private messages. This is a one-way email. For obvious reasons the business page can not initiate a message. Facebook wants to protect its users from spamming, and at the same time, protect their advertising model.

Because your fan page can now receive messages, it is important that you or someone on your staff checks the inbox regularly. Doing so will alert you to any problems that customers might be experiencing, and it will help you stay on top of prospective clients. Most website visitors expect immediate responses, such as one hour or less. If they don’t get the response they are looking for, they often move on. The result is your competitor gets the business.

We’re just scratching the surface of the many enhancements from Facebook Timeline. Look for Part II to this piece within the next week at AllStarPress.com and feel free to follow us on a certain social network.  In the meantime, start enjoying the benefits of Zuckerberg’s latest change.

 

Advertise Free on Facebook according to P&G

 P & GFortune 500 company Proctor and Gamble has layed off over 1,600 employees because they realize how affordably they can reach consumers via the social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter, among others.

 CEO Robert McDonald told Wall Street analysts that he would have to “moderate” his ad budget because Facebook and Google can be “more efficient” than the traditional media that usually eats into P&G’s ad budget.

 Every aspiring author needs to have a presence via social networking. If you haven’t set up a profile yet on Facebook, get on it!

Learn more about Proctor and Gamble’s decision

WordPress Plugins and how they affect your Author Site

Dev4press.com published an excellent analysis last month, looking at how many different, popular WP Plugins affect the load time and speed of your Word Press site. This is a very important for any author who is maintaining their own site using the popular Word Press platform. You do have an author site, right?

“For this article I have tested 35 plugins. This includes both free and commercial plugins, big and small plugins and all of them are tested on the admin side and on the website frontend. All tests are done with a single installation, and WordPress 3.3 RC1 was used. Tests are done on the local server with PHP 5.3.8.”

 

Touching the Leper

Homeless man on the streetsThis Sunday I preached about Jesus’ encounter with the leper in Matthew 8. What an incredible story told in just a handful of verses.  It seems as Jesus was coming down the mountain from delivering the greatest sermon in the history of mankind (the Sermon on the Mount), a leper came and knelt before him.  The audacity of this leper!  Imagine the moment.  The crowd is pressing in behind Jesus and they’re taking up the whole road.  When out of nowhere a leper appears and throws himself at the feet of Jesus.  Now lepers were outcasts…the most unclean of the unclean.  It was illegal for them to even be on the road at the same time as a non-leprous person.  Imagine the gasp that went through the crowd as this unclean leper steps into the middle of the road and brings the whole entourage to a screeching halt.  All eyes are on Jesus and this leper.  In one collective intake of breath, all wait to see what would happen.

Almost every time I read the Bible, I am blown away by Jesus.  Jesus could heal people with a word.  He could heal them from far off.  He could heal them by telling them some outrageous thing to do and if they had enough faith to obey him, they would be healed.  In this instance, Jesus does the most shocking, unthinkable thing.  He touches the leper!  In my mind, it wasn’t a nice little “lay your hand on the cheek” sort of touch.  The leper would have been clothed in rags from head to toe.  He was on his knees.  In what must have sent shockwaves through the crowd, Jesus probably got down on his knees and reached up and removed the lepers coverings…his veil and his head covering.  He would have looked at this outcast of society directly in the eyes and reaching out and placed his undiseased hands upon the flesh of the diseased man.  Why would Jesus do this, when he could have healed him with a word?

In my opinion, Jesus was into shocking those around him.  He had just got done preaching to the crowds.  He had told them “Do to others what you would have them do to you.”  Instead of being like so many who say the grandiose mottos and catchphrases of christianity, Jesus knew that the best way to drive his point home was to do.  One of the many things that I admire about Jesus, and why I want to be so much like him, is that he was not just a talker…he was a doer.  If he told people to “love others,” he went out and did it.  If he told people to “do to others what you would have them do to you,” he went out and did it.  He was so unlike the many church goers that fill up our churches on Sundays but live without love and compassion and faith the rest of the week.  This must stop if we are going to change the world!

This week we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr Day in the United States.  Why do so many admire this man?  Afterall, he was a living, breathing man not unlike us.  The thing that I think made MLK Jr a hero is that he didn’t just talk his faith, he walked it.  He had the courage to do what he knew needed to be done.  There were many who spoke out against segregation and inequality, but few that would put themselves out there to be stoned, spat upon, hit, jailed, mocked, ridiculed, and killed.  The people that we look to as hero’s, were hero’s because they “did” what they knew needed to be done.

What about you and I?  Jesus touched the leper in one of the most touching and loving stories in the whole Bible.  Do we touch the lepers in our society?  Do we practice what we preach?  If we truly did, this would would be a much different place.  If we followers of Jesus really imitated Jesus, there would be a lot more people attracted to him and to his church.  When we leave our church buildings after our weekly “sermon on the mount,” we have to “do” it!  We have to go against our societal and religious norms and reach out to “touch the leper.”

My friends, this week I challenge you to “touch a leper” in your life.  Some outcast, some down on their luck person, some abused child, someone whom society and the church typically turns their back on and looks down upon will come into your path.  “Touch the Leper!”  I dare you…and watch what God does in your life and in the life of that leper!

– James Smith serves as the senior teacher/preacher at Mt Carmel Christian Church in Cynthiana, Ky.  He is an author of The House that Richard Built (ebook coming in 2012 from All Star Press) as well as numerous magazine/study guide publications.  He is also a regular presenter at training seminars and conferences on a number of issues.

Authors, are you using Social Networking?

Are you on Facebook?It is important in this day and age to be participating in the social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. It is a necessary evil for all aspiring authors who want their name and their books known. The reach is simply too great to ignore.

#1: There are now more than 800 million active Facebook users, with over 200 million added in 2011.

#3: Americans spend more time on Facebook than any other U.S.website.

#8: More than half of Facebook users log in every day – that’s more than 400 million people.

#15: And get this: 98% of 18- to 24-year-olds access social accounts monthly.

Learn more

Authors: Tips for taking better Headshots

Can Authors survive?Some excellent advice here from Thomas Nelson publisher and star blogger Michael Hyatt. For example, tip #3 is…

Don’t shoot in a studio. I know some will disagree with this, but few things look more sterile than a studio. Instead, shoot the photos on your turf, in familiar surroundings. This is so much more interesting and adds more of your personality to the final result.

Learn the 9 tips he suggests for taking a better headshot.

Richard Branson gives Time Management Advice. Authors Listen Up!

Entrepreneur Richard Branson says that his best advice for managing your time effectively is to stay focused. Distraction is time lost. Manage your mobile device, Branson says. Don’t let it manage you. Check email in bursts and then put it away to concentrate on the task at hand. When it comes to managing others’ time, it’s better to give your employees space than micro managing. As long as you’ve hired people you trust, you will feel comfortable giving them the reins and letting them take responsibility for their actions. 

“Many executives check their smartphones throughout meetings and during off-hours. This is not good for concentration, and has a negative impact on decision making. Use it only in bursts: check emails for an hour or so and then put it away…”

READ THE FULL PIECE

Can Authors Survive in the New Publishing World?

“With the era of digital publishing and digital distribution, the age of author advances is coming to an end,” explained Ewan Morrison at the Edinburgh international book festival.  “Without advances from publishers, authors depend upon future sales; they sink themselves into debt on the chance of a future hit. But as mainstream publishers struggle to compete with digital competitors, they are moving increasingly towards maximising short-term profits, betting on the already-established, and away from nurturing talent.”

The Bookseller claimed in 2009 that “Publishers are cutting author advances by as much as 80% in the UK”. A popular catchphrase among agents, when discussing advances, meanwhile, is “10K is the new 50K”. And as one literary editor recently put it: “The days of publishing an author, as opposed to publishing a book, seem to be over.”

 “Publishers are focusing on… READ THE FULL SPEECH

Building an Author Platform When You Hate Selling Yourself

author platform

Do you have a platform?

It’s no longer a question of if an author needs a program, it’s now part of the writing business and can mean the difference between success and failure.

I’m going to let you in on the most important, and most often overlooked aspect of social networking: It’s not about selling. It’s about participation. It’s about being a member of a community. It’s about connecting with people who share your interests.

Those that use social networking[LEARN THE 5 STEPS]

Discoverability – A Major Key for Authors

Books Are Dead?

Perhaps the more than 200 authors gathered last month at the Hyatt Regency for the Writers’ League of Texas Agents Conference should have prepared themselves upon seeing the title of blogger and publishing strategist Jane Friedman’s keynote lunch speech, “Is the Book Dead? Who Cares!”

As Friedman got under way, she talked about “the state of the book” and then clicked to an image of a mushroom cloud. The room full of would-be authors sat aghast…

From creating a great blog to finding a following on Twitter, Friedman’s point was clear — authors need to create a direct line to their audience, a platform that they control. [READ THE FULL STORY]