Facebook is the #1 social marketing tool for small business owners to create a broad reach but stay really up close and personal with readers. It’s important that if you are a small business owner, service professional, etc. that you have a presence on Facebook with a Facebook Fan Page.
But guess what? Facebook is ALWAYS making changes to create a better user experience, and the downside to this is that they are frustrating a lot of folks along the way. The latest change to Facebook’s Fan Pages (business pages) Timeline format is no exception.
You may be grumbling, if you spent major time or money customizing a fantastic landing page for your Facebook Fan Page — but hey, times are a-changin’ and I want you to embrace the possibilities of what’s ahead on Facebook, that’s why I will walk you through the only essential changes you need to pay attention to when creating and/or updating your Facebook Fan Page. Lickity Split!
This tutorial begins with assuming that you already have a Fan Page for your business, but if you do not have one it’s pretty simple. Login to your Facebook account and click on the “create a page” link usually found in the general settings section of your account, then move forward with this tutorial…
Facebook Fan Page Timeline Essential #1 – Cover Image
So the most important part of your new and improved Facebook Fan Page is the cover image. This image is the first thing that people will see when they visit your fan page. This means that you can NO LONGER create a default landing page that people see first. Typically this page would create an incentive for folks to “Like” your page or opt-in to your list, etc. This was a major blow to the business owner, but I get it, Facebook is trying to maintain a certain standard. So we simply have to play by their rules.
This image is “public” which means that anyone who clicks on your page will see it, so it’s important that you do not use any images, etc. that will violate copyright laws etc. On another note it’s important that this image capture you and what you represent. What you love. What you do. People need to connect with you and your message. So for me, I chose pictures of me so people know who I am, pictures of my family, my dogs, and then a blurb about what it is I do.
Other things that you CANNOT include in your cover art are:
Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”
Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section
References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features
Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”
To show you what NOT to do, here is cover art that I used on my main Facebook account while I was playing around with the Timeline feature which currently DOES NOT adhere to the new rules, because I have two website addresses listed as well as a call to action on getting free content. I will have to take this picture down asap so that Facebook will not ban my account:
When creating this image, it must be at least 399 pixels wide, but optimally should be a JPG file that’s 851 pixels wide, 315 pixels tall and less than 100 kilobytes (although I used a PNG file). You can create this image in Adobe Photoshop if you own it, GIMP which is a really robust freeware, or use a shortcut like I did and create your image in a word processing document then take a screenshot of it with something like Jing.
If you notice, on both of my timeline cover art photos I have left a little space in the bottom, left-hand corner. That is because that is where Facebook will show your profile picture. This is the picture that will represent your page around Facebook and it’s a good idea to add a logo here or a picture of you if you brand yourself. I’m always playing around with my profile pic, and that’s the great thing about this process, nothing is written in stone. Create images for both your cover art and profile pic and play around them. See what best fits your business and your brand.
Facebook Timeline Fan Page Essential #2 – About Page
The next most important part of your fan page is the About Page for obvious reasons. First people are going to look at your cover art and then scan down and they will see your About section. This is a section I really didn’t pay that much attention to with my old fan page because I let the old default landing page do all the heavy lifting, but now it’s important to get this right. Your #1 objective is to get a link in there to your website since you were not able to put it in your cover art.
To make this happen, all you have to do is write all your information in the small ABOUT section of the about page. You don’t have a lot of room, so make every word count.
Here’s how my old about page intro showed up in Facebook’s new timeline format. Notice the address and phone number info was prominent:
Here’s how my new about page intro shows up in Facebook. Notice that I have included what I do and a link to my website:
Facebook Timeline Fan Page Essential #3 – Highlight With Apps
Next to the about section you will see four apps showing, typically they will be photos, likes, and then two others. The photo app shows in the first spot and you cannot change that, but the others can be moved around. Typically I wouldn’t move the second section which is “likes” because first you want to remind people to like your page and secondly, you want to show your likes as social proof that folks are stopping by your page and liking your content.
You can show a maximum of 12 apps but obviously you want to put your most important ones first because the first four are the most visible. I’ve seen different companies do different things such as app links to Twitter, YouTube, their newsletter, a custom welcome page, a freebie, etc. In the future, I’ll probably add a button for a free chapter to the book I’m working on, but for now I’ve linked to my Twitter and YouTube accounts.
Do you like this FB tutorial so far? Let me know by sharing it on Twitter Tweet
Facebook Timeline Fan Page Essential #4 – Highlight Your Content
So here’s something cool that you can do now on your fan page which will help you highlight your content. Hover over an important post and then click on the PENCIL to pin it to the top of your page. This makes it a “sticky” post that stays on top under your app section.
You can also click on the STAR to make your post wider (double width). I think that these particular posts look best when you have a photo to highlight, here’s an example from The Gap:
Facebook Timeline Fan Page Essential #5 – Use Private Messaging
Now you can receive private messages via your Facebook Fan Page and notification for those messages will conveniently show up in your new admin area. Honestly, if you are on Facebook at least an hour a day it’s probably a quicker way of communicating with your community especially around support issues.
I have a support site, my main site, and various niche sites and it would be interesting to funnel all of my “support” emails via Facebook. Of course the person would have to have a Facebook account, so I am not sure about this one, but it’s something to think about in the future.
*Sidenote – Your New Admin Area
With the update to Facebook’s fan page interface, there is a new admin area complete with a list of the latest notifications on your page such as who has just posted on your timeline, a section for your messages, a section for who has recently liked the page, a section titled “insights” which shows you with a simple graph how far your reach is on Facebook vs. how many people are talking about your page on Facebook, and lastly there is a section with tips on improving your page.
As we build our Facebook Fan Pages together, I will be writing more articles on topics that I am interested in such as sharing content effectively using Facebook’s new timeline format and getting more Facebook fans using this new format. If you liked this article and want to stay connected with me, please LIKE my page and if you’d like me to visit and like your page, please leave a link to it in the comment section below. Also, If you have any article ideas that you’d like me to cover in the future, please let me know by contacting me directly on Facebook.