What has changed with Facebook’s new timeline layout for business pages?
Think newspapers and magazines, stories and pictures. Fancy graphic designs aren’t really necessary anymore because “welcome pages” are no longer allowed, the largest piece of real estate “the cover photo” cannot showcase any calls to action, promotions, or contact information.
Now, it’s all about showcasing the timeline of you and your business through pictures and stories!
Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have many fans for your page. You can still get visibility and build influence with a small community. Remember you don’t need the masses to grow your business, you need a few high quality key clients each year. With 850 Million people using Facebook (over 50% login everyday), we believe you must have a presence here. Your Facebook Business Page will become more and more relevant for business over time. Focus on building a trusted network of clients, prospects, referral partners, business advocates, community friends and leaders.
Keep in mind that your page is a canvas; a work of art where you can tell your story.
7 Tips for Powering Your Facebook Business Page
#1 Cover Photo
The appropriate size for the new cover photo which takes up the majority of the real estate on the page is 851 x 315 pixels. This means that using a professional headshot won’t work in the space. What you need here is an image with a human element; something that either shows you and your team, or you in action working with a client, delivering a presentation, etc. In this case you could use a logo as the square image on the bottom lefthand side of the cover photo. (see image of our cover photo below)
You could also consider an image of your office space with signage as the cover photo and use a professional headshot as the smaller, square image. The important thing is to use an image that shows the human side of your business!
# 2 Applications and Icons
The only place where you can incorporate Facebook applications is underneath the cover photo area. With Facebook applications, you do have the ability to create calls to action such as encouraging visitors to sign-up for your email newsletter, subscribe to your blog, download a free ebook, watch your videos, etc.
You can also showcase your page “Likes” here, which is important for social proof (it generates more likes). In order to incorporate customized applications for your page, you need to utilize a software service that creates these apps, and potentially a graphic designer to make them look pretty.
At Wired Advisor we work with Shortstack to develop specialized applications for our financial advisor clients and do customized installations to pages. Additionally, with the “photos” view remaining static in this section, and if you leave the “Likes” view up there, you will only have two remaining slots for showcasing any applications. Any other applications you have can be accessed through the drop down arrow on the right.
# 3 Pins and Highlights
With the new Facebook Pages, the focus really needs to be on the content that you share in terms of making it relevant, interesting, and engaging for your fans and potential fans. The only way you can grow your visibility and expand your reach on Facebook outside of ads and apps is to post great content to the page and get your fans to engage with it (comment, like, share). The more visual the content, the better! This means take advantage of images and videos.
For example, if you post from your blog, lead with an image and put a link back to the blog post within the text area of the update! A big image will be much more eye-catching than a thumbnail.
Facebook will allow you to “pin” a post to the top of your page for 7 days. Pick something that is timely and visual for this post as it will show up better.
You can also highlight posts that you want to stand out. Again if you use an image or video here, it will take up much more real estate and really stand out on your page.
# 4 Keep your page active
There is no doubt that your Facebook Business Page will be a ghost town if you’re not updating it frequently. What can you post?
Content such as your blog posts (can be automatically posted to your page), compelling images (including charts or graphs), videos (and screencasts), presentations, and any link that leads to content from across the web can be posted to your Facebook page. In addition, you can ask a question using the “Ask Question” tool for your page!
Most importantly, keep the content relevant and interesting for your trusted network of fans and followers. Don’t be afraid to be human. Use humor, or inspire with stories that evoke emotion! Post news and stories from around the web that are timely and relevant! Post pictures from family trips. Post pictures or videos from community events that you are involved with! Absolutely stay away from politics and religion if possible.
Some of our best engagement levels on Facebook have come from posts that are completely unrelated to digital marketing and social media.
Keep in mind that Facebook is most heavily trafficked on evenings and weekends, so you may want to post accordingly.
INSIDE TIP: Make sure that you use Facebook as your page when you post to your page, and not as yourself. (Check the upper right hand corner to make sure of this) When you post to your page as yourself, you have no ability to pin or highlight posts!
# 5 Build your fan base
As mentioned earlier in this post, it really doesn’t matter the quantity of “Likes” that you have on your Facebook Business Page, it’s quality that counts. Seed your page with your existing “trusted network”. Send out an email campaign to tell them about your presence on Facebook (always check with compliance of course prior to doing so), and provide 3 bullet points that highlight the benefits of connecting with you there!
I see so many brands asking consumers to like their pages yet no benefits are attached to that call to action. You need to give people a reason to connect with you. What’s in it for them?
Also share your Facebook page with your personal connections on the network (you never know) and in other social networks such as LinkedIn and Twitter.
Place a Facebook “Fan Box” social plugin on your blog or website to help get the word out and grow your community! (see example below)
HINT: If you use the Facebook blast email messaging system to announce your page, realize that the message will look like a blast and will not be customizable. It’s fine to use this as a one-shot tool but most likely you won’t gain a lot of traction here.
# 6 Monitor your page carefully
Your Facebook Page can be set-up to prevent anyone from posting to your page. Many firm compliance departments will require this. However, if you can allow it, it can be extremely effective for getting your community of fans engaged. Imagine the possibilities of asking your fans to post an image that showcases what they are doing for summer vacation! There are all kinds of creative ways to get your community engaged beyond the everyday likes, comments, and shares.
If you do allow posts by others to your page, you will need to monitor closely. In addition, there is a “Recommendations” box that sits on Facebook pages now. You must monitor this box closely and remove any recommendations from your page if they pop up!
Check your page daily for engagement and also in order to respond to comments in a timely fashion. Keep an eye on posts that get more traction than others and utilize that information in your planning and strategy.
# 7 Consider social ads
Social engagement ads can be quite effective for building and growing your Facebook community. In fact, outside of the suggestions in #5 for building your fan base, social ads are one of the only ways to expand your reach. Social media is not free. You have to pay to play if you really want to grow.
What is powerful about these ads is the ability to precisely target who sees them. Social ads aren’t actually ads in the traditional sense, they are simply calls to action to join your community. Many firms do allow social ads as long as they are pre-approved.
With a social engagement ad on Facebook, if someone clicks “Like” within the ad, they automatically become a fan of your page without even visiting your page!
Don’t use social ads to drive people out of Facebook to an external website or landing page. This is not an effective strategy.
Below is an example of a targeted ad we are running at Wired Advisor. I recommend using a human picture in ads, and showcasing a message that will potentially encourage your targeted audience to click “Like” right then and there. Notice the budget for our social ad. It can be quite expensive and on average we have paid $2 per click. However, if one of those $2 clicks turns into a client, the ad more than pays for itself!
Also notice how we narrowed down our target audience in the ad.
What will you do to improve and grow your Facebook Business Page? We hope the above tips are helpful to you! Join the Wired Advisor Facebook Page to get more insights about growing your business in the age of social media!