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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.
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.
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.
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#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.
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