Tuesday, July 17, 2012

As of March 31st 2012 the old Facebook Fan Pages format was phased out and with the introduction of the new Facebook Fan Page Timeline there has been some new features released.  As a savvy business owner it’s imperative that you embrace these new features and start using them to further promote your business, brand and community.

Now while there have been numerous changes, here are the 3 key features that I believe businesses and brands should be embracing with the new Timeline Features.

Key Feature #1: Cover Photo

The new cover photo has been used on personal timeline pages for some time and this has now been rolled out to Facebook Fan Pages as well.  This 815 * 315 pixel area allows you to showcase your business, brand and products as the centre stage focus.  It’s important to note though, Facebook has placed some restrictions on your Cover Photo, which you must follow.  As well as being 815 * 315 pixels the image cannot include:

A)   Price or purchase information such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”

B)   Contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s About section

C)   References to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features

D)   Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”

Now these restrictions are designed to keep Facebook the “social friendly” environment it currently is.  But this doesn’t need to limit your creativity, some of the Cover Photos brought out by businesses and brands have been breathtaking.

Here’s a few samples of Cover Photos that stick to Facebook’s guidelines but effectively portray brand image:
  
Key Feature #2: Profile Image

The profile image is probably the most important image on Facebook as your profile picture follows your business across Facebook.  The thumbnail of your profile image is used in new feed stories, ads and featured stories.  It’s imperative that you choose a profile image, which is representative of your business and the brand message you are trying to convey.

When selecting an image ensure it is a high quality image that can scale from 180 x 180 pixels to 32 x 32 pixels.  The larger image will be used on your Timeline as your profile image, and the smaller image used as your thumbnail across Facebook.


Now if you have a twitter profile, linked in profile or any other social profile it’s important to make sure you use the same image across all profiles.  This helps to build a brand following across all networks and places the same brand message in front of your clients.

Any decent brand consultant is going to tell you that consistency of message and consistency of design is important to build a strong brand.

Key Feature #3: Pinned Posts

Pinned posts allow you to select one of your Facebook posts and “pin” it to the top of your Facebook Fan Page for up to 7 days.  This increases the amount of views this particular post has and also gives you the ability to highlight important messages to your clients.

Facebook itself, in it’s Pages Product Guide, recommends that page owners pin one new post a week to help show to your fans what is the most important message for the week on your page.  As a quick side note, in my experience the best kind of post to pin is an image post as it will result in higher engagement.