Facebook Timeline: The Easy Best Practices Guide for Businesses
For most businesses, Facebook’s new timeline layout is more of a hassle. It is more than just a new layout, but it meant that all the things that they have been working on with the old layout with its tabs and other features have now come to naught.
However, as dynamic businesses know, you cannot let that pull you down. Instead, see what the new timeline looks like and see what you can do about it.
You now have two identifying photos for your business profile: the smaller profile picture and the bigger cover photo.
Tabs, which was an ever useful feature of the old layout, is now called apps. Instead of being in the left navigational column, it now appears under your cover photo. There will only be four apps shown under the timeline, with the first one reserved for photos and the others free for the taking, so you could put your custom apps there.
Status updates or posts are now called stories.
So how can you maximize the new time line for your business? Read on:
Tell your story.
The best thing about the new timeline is that you can add a story even if it’s somewhere in the past. So you can tell your customers about your company’s milestones such as the opening of your first, your 100th, or you 1,000th store. Anything in your company’s history that would help you strengthen your brand and make your customers feel closer to you as a company would be good to share.
Get back your lost traffic.
One of the biggest complaints that business owners had about the new timeline was that it took away default landing tabs, which were used to drive more people to their website and convert Facebook visitors to sales.
The good news is that it would seem a bulk of your traffic do not come from these landing pages but from links and ads on your profile. TechCrunch reveals that 9 out of 10 of your app traffic comes from published links and ads.
You can use pinned posts to help highlight a story you have. With pinned posts, you can keep the story at the top left space of your timeline so it would be easier to direct your Facebook fans to the pages and the places where you want them to go.
Make the most out of your cover photo.
The cover photo is an image you can upload and it will show up at the top of your timeline. It is one of the first things that your visitors would see. This is a great way to strengthen your branding.
Your cover photo should be 851 pixels wide by 315 pixels high, and it would help to show a relevant and visually engaging cover photo.
Top tips for your cover photo:
- Do not promote anything on your cover photo such as discounts or directing people to your website. Not only does this turn your customers off, but Facebook expressly prohibits it.
- No contact information on your cover photo. Use the About section to post telephone numbers or website URLs.
- Avoid those arrows pointing to the like or share button. You should also not have a blatant call to action text such as “visit our website” or “tell your friends about us” on your cover photo.
- Use your own photos. Do not use images owned by others and infringe on their intellectual property. More importantly, do not mislead your customers by posting a deceptive cover photo or including deceptive text on your cover photo.
Profile pictures, on the other hand, are smaller, measuring 180 pixels all around. You could use your logo or a head shot for this one. Just bear in mind that a smaller version of your profile picture will be used as a thumbnail picture for all of your posts on other parts of Facebook.
Make the most out of your apps
Apps are no longer relegated to the left navigational column and appear as a list. Instead, you can have three featured apps under your cover photo and you can even attach a thumbnail to it. In short, apps are now more visual and easier to spot.
You can use a thumbnail image for each of your apps. Thumbnails should measure 111 x 74 pixels. More than the image, it is more important to include a call to action text such as Subscribe or Enter Contest or Donate along with your apps.
Interacting with your customers
Make your customers your brand ambassadors. Always encourage your Facebook fans to share your updates, stories and photos with their friends.
If you receive a negative feedback on your timeline, always acknowledge the receipt of the feedback and indicate in your timeline that you are sending the user a private message. This will show your customers that you are responding to a negative comment and are addressing the issue.
You can also send your fans a private message and find out what they need from you or discuss their concerns.
Other best practices include:
- The best time to post is generally any time from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. But things may be different with your company, so do some experiments and check your analytics to see which posts at what times are reaching more of your fans. If you could only post once a week, then do it on a Wednesday where there is higher engagement from fans.
- Never post more than twice a day. This is to avoid making your fans feel like they are being bombarded with too many messages, prompting them to hide you from their timelines.
- Be short and concise. Posts with 40 characters or less drive more engagement from your fans. Longer posts are also in danger of being truncated.
- If you like to increase engagement from your fans, ask questions or let them fill in the blanks.
- The new timeline is highly visual. This means that posts with images or videos are much more eye-catching than just posts with text.
- Read back on your previous posts to see if there are things that you should delete such as irrelevant, embarrassing or outdated stories.
- Highlight a story by starring it. This will make the story occupy the whole width of your timeline, making it more eye-catching.
- Use the Milestones feature to highlight your company’s big events and other notable points in your history. Suggestions include: opening date and number of fans reached at a certain time.
Chris Barnwell works for SEO Inc.; a Search Engine Optimization company that assists businesses with their Social Media Management. In addition to SEO services, they also help brands face the challenge of navigating ever-changing landscapes like the new Facebook Timeline.