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.”

 

What is holding you back?

by Rich Nilsen,

what's holding you back?Aspiring writers, what is holding you back from meeting your goals as an author? That is not only the question of the day, it is the critical question for all writers who are simply not getting the job done. Why isn’t that manuscript you always wanted to write finished by now? Why haven’t you started on that great idea for a book?

Possible obstacles may include:

  • Lack of confidence
  • Failure to get started
  • Wasting time on social networks
  • Watching television
  • [Insert your own obstacle here]

Before you do anything else today, stop and think. Just what is it that is weighing you down as an author? You know what it is, so address the issue. In an overwhelming majority of cases, the solution is going to be fairly simple: do the opposite, gain valuable time as a result…and then get started writing.

Publishing Push coming from Apple

Apple

Apple could be hosting a special media event in New York City this month. The event won’t be about Apple’s next iPad if reports are believed to be correct. Instead, Apple will be talking directly to the publishing industry.

The theme of the event will be publishing and e-books. Considering reports indicate Eddy Cue will be prominently involved, it’s a focus area that makes a lot of sense.

Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services, Mr. Cue is in charge of the iBookstore, as well as the iTunes and App Stores, iAd and iCloud. Cue is the one who took the stage the last time the company had a publishing event, when it unveiled News Corp.’s publication The Daily.

READ THE FULL STORY



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

Micro Publisher analyzes growth of e-book sales

Author Walter Shiel has written several books on aviation and history. Shiel, who is also a regular blogger, takes a close look at his book sales over the last couple of years with a breakdown of each electronic book type, along with a comparision of book sales versus print sales. Interesting stuff for any aspiring author.  Take a gander.

More Authors Opting to Self Publish

Ipad as a reading device

The New Way

This spring, best-selling thriller writer and former CIA agent Barry Eisler wrote a piece in the New York Times about why he turned down a half-million dollar advance from St. Martin’s Press to self-publish instead: He believes he can market his books better on his own.

Neal Pollack, author of several books, including “Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude,” wrote in another New York Times piece called “The Case for Self-Publishing” that “self-publication crackles with possibility as never before” and vowed to bring out his next book himself, as an experiment. He writes… READ 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.

Changing Landscape of Book Publishing [Economist]

 In some ways the transition from paper to digital distribution for book publishers and independent authors is a boon. It’s true that most e-books currently have high profit margins, and are free from many of the drawbacks of print. Peter Osnos, who is the founder of PublicAffairs Books, states that the biggest challenge small publishers face is managing their inventories. Print too many books, and lots of them will be returned by stores. Print too few and publishers will forgo sales while they order reprints (at higher prices). None of these problems exists when distributing books digitally.

READ MORE