Since its launch in February 2004, Facebook has fundamentally changed the way we network socially and market to our target audience. Facebook Timeline has turned into an outlet for storytelling for marketers. As of February 2012, Facebook has more than 845 million active users. However, Facebook is going through a new change that will affect the way your company uses the application to brand itself to valued and potential customers. Since December 15, 2011, Timeline has replaced the traditional Facebook profile as the new way profiles are organized.
In Timeline, the photos, videos, events and posts in a profile are categorized according to the period of time in which they were uploaded or created. In addition to a profile picture, a cover photo is a large picture along the top of your profile. The About section is where you describe your company: its mission, overview, description as well as when it was founded and contact info. In addition to a section for photos, you can also add other applications such as Notes, how many people have liked your page (including which of the visitor's friends like your page), your Likes, Events, Videos and Maps. The main part of your profile is your Stories, where you share and highlight your most memorable posts, photos and life events on your timeline. You are able to 'pin posts' or anchor the most important story to the top of your page for up to seven days. Larger stories (bigger in size than rest of posts) such as photos, video and link stories drive engagement to those topics. You can also highlight important stories with the star icon or hide/delete stories that aren't as engaging or relevant with the pencil icon. Milestones photos allow you to define your key moments over time, such as reaching a certain number of fans, opening a new location, winning an award etc.
Cover Photo vs. Profile Picture
The cover photo is the large picture at the top of your company profile page. Some examples include a popular product or menu item, creative artwork relative to your company/industry or a picture of people using your products or services. With these endless possibilities, you can change the picture as often as you like. Your profile picture is the thumbnail icon used throughout Facebook whenever you post a comment or update. This should be a picture that represents your business, such as your logo. Make sure you use appropriate picture sizes for your cover photo (851x315 pixels) and profile picture (180x180 pixels to 32x32 pixels) to prevent it from being blurry and unprofessional.
Photos and Apps
Your photos and customized apps appear at the top of your company's profile page. Photos that you can share can be pictures of your products, people using your services, your attendance at events etc. There are many apps on Facebook that could help your company interact and engage your followers. Here are some FREE top applications used by businesses to enhance their Facebook fan pages.
- RSS Graffiti periodically checks the RSS/Atom feeds of relevant blogs or news sites that you specify and posts new entries or articles on your wall.
- Pagemodo Pagebuilder helps you to design your page without any design or graphic art skills. It has many templates to choose from that allow you to add photos, embed videos, change fonts and text as well as showcase your products.
- Social RSS allows you to add your blog and RSS feeds to your page and play flash, MP3 and Silverlight files directly from the tab.
- Wildfire Interactive's Promotion app makes it easy to add giveaways, sweepstakes, coupon giveaways, special deals and contests to your company's fan page.
- Marketplace is a virtual classified ad for Facebook where you can post free ads that appear both online and via social media sites, and are seen by about 8 million active monthly users.
- Kremsa developed a poll app, used by about 1.8 million people monthly, that allows companies to place daily or weekly polls on serious or silly subjects as another reason for a fan to visit your page.
- Networked Blogs syndicates fresh posts automatically from your company's blog onto your wall.
- Survey Monkey or Poll are interactive tools that allow you to generate public opinion of your products or services or develop new business ideas.