By Ellison Bloomfield Facebook timeline is now mandatory for business pages and while many have fought to avoid the timeline this is no longer an option. Which means that businesses and page administrators now need to update their pages and ensure that they have an understanding of the new layout and the changes now in effect.
Firstly, you need a cover photo, this is an opportunity to clearly highlight to your fans and followers what your page is about and what you do.
The harry&henry shoes cover photo and profile picture clearly demonstrate what the brand is and is consistent with the look and feel of the label.
Tabs, milestones and landing pages
The timeline reduces the ability of brands to have specific tabs such as a welcome landing page and so it is important to use the new features to highlight important information for your fans. By using 'milestones' brands can ensure that achievements or important information is recorded. Milestones record the evolution of the brand over time, from launch to the current day.
Brands can 'pin' content or posts to the top of the timeline, although only one item can be pinned at a time so choose carefully. You can use this feature to make sure fans are aware of a sale or for relevant news. The pinned item will also be featured in your timeline in chronological order.
Brands and fans will now be able to post private messages allowing for greater interaction with fans. This ensures that if fans have a problem or a question it can be dealt with privately and doesn't have to be public on timelines. When it comes to customer service with social media though remember, if someone has a complaint or problem, take the conversation offline as soon as possible to get to a speedy resolution.
As always with Facebook it's important to understand the settings and what the defaults are. For example, the default setting for mentions or check ins by others is that they will show up on your page, which is great if the content is positive but not so great if it's negative.
If you want to remove a post simply go to the top right hand corner of the post and you will have options to edit or remove it.
On the flip side of this if there is a particular post you like by clicking on the 'star' image you can highlight it and it will stretch across the whole page.
Facebook now allows brands to see analytics around their page which can be useful for planning content and knowing what is popular with your followers. These analytics include a myriad of information including where your fans are, what they like and even down to their age and gender. This information can assist you with targeting your messaging.
It's not all bad
While there has been a lot of opposition to the timeline for brands there are many positives. For creative brands and those with products they want to promote the visual style of the timeline allows brands to highlight products. There is more opportunity to get creative with the images used and to engage with your fans on the site.
As with all social media the important thing is to do your research, see what others are doing and understand the settings and by doing these things you can use the timeline to your advantage.