Facebook timeline for businesses – i’m a big fan

It has now been a week since Facebook launched timeline for business pages.  Many of us have played around with timeline for our personal profiles for a few months now and have been anxiously awaiting the business version.  Or at least I was anxiously awaiting timeline for businesses.

The former news feed wall style was starting to look and feel like sooo 2010.  I have been reading about what might be available for pages for a while now, but some of what was out there has proven to just be guessing.  Whereas some folks thought the cover image could basically be used as a massive, beautiful display ad for your company…it couldn’t actually be further from the truth.

Facebook has put their fist down regarding what can and cannot be done to your cover image, which is the 851 x 315 pixel image that lives at the top of any page (that has converted to timeline).  They came out with their set of guidelines and ruined some of the creative fun.  I definitely cannot blame them, though.  If companies could use the cover image as a huge banner ad, for free no less, it would kill Facebook’s lifeblood – paid advertising.  So basically you cannot sell or advertise anything on your business’s cover image with a call to action, a price, or a promotion.  And, the image you choose to put up there definitely cannot be someone else’s image.  Use good judgement.

In other words, the rules and regulations will force companies to get even more creative to make good use of the awesome space up top.  I am really looking forward to seeing what companies do with this over the next couple of months.  A shameless little plug of my own, I’ve done a few different things thus far with Keystone’s cover image.  I’ve used it to broadcast the snow totals for the day and I’ve also played around with collage-style art showcasing the resort as a whole.  I have many other ideas but I will be keeping those to myself for now 😉 …the fun has really just begun.

A huge goal for companies will be to get fans to actually go spend more time on their page.  Pre-timeline, the way the vast majority of fans got their company fix was just in their own news feed, but they didn’t go back to the business page since that initial “like.”  Now, with all of the new beautification, layouts and possibilities for creativity, companies will be looking to engage in different ways.  One great way to do this is to add cool events from the past to the timeline with images and stories.  Check out what the US Army did – it’s amazing.  Keep it interesting. “Highlight” the best photo or video of the week and “pin” the most important or interesting message to the top of the wall for up to seven days.  Use the new tools and advance the way you use Facebook as a business!

The platform is changing and businesses will have to adapt.  The companies that grow with Facebook and look to take advantage of timeline will be the winners in the social marketing stratosphere.  And by winning I am talking about engagement, interactions and connections with the community.  Anyone can spend a ton of money and buy new fans (which also inflates the “people talking about” stats) with acquisition campaigns, but not anyone can actually do a superior job connecting with fans once you have them, and continuously giving them awesome content.  There is nothing wrong with running ads to acquire fans – that’s the game and that’s just how it works now, but you have to be able to engage with those humans.  If you acquire them and post just to post, or don’t respond and interact, you will just as easily lose those fans.  (And I am fully aware there are ads and campaigns that are solely for the purpose of engagement and not fan acquisition, which is awesome).

Timeline comes with some sweet new functionality for business pages and I’m personally stoked about it.  I’m in head first and can’t wait to see what they come up with next.  Change is good.  And with social media, change is one of the only things that’s consistent.

I’m a Facebook timeline fan.

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