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Facebook: business Timeline part one

Tami Jo Russell

Your Facebook business page is about to get an overhaul. It’s a good thing, if you’re ready for it. If you take the time to think of this changeover as an opportunity, much like a good spring cleaning is a fresh start in your home, Facebook’s Timeline can be the fresh social media start your business needs.

 Why Would Facebook Change Business Page Layouts?

Facebook started as a community driven idea. “Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life,” was the original idea. Then they decided to let businesses have some of the action. Unfortunately, businesses wanted the quick sale with postings such as, “Click Like and Save!!!” or “Act now and get a discount.” Unfortunately, these do nothing for relationship building or customer retention.

            Doesn’t your business cherish relationships over discounts? Facebook is driving towards this concept and Timeline is their answer. Most of the expressions I get after mentioning Timeline to business owners are negative. As with any change, there tend to be pessimistic people who don’t have time or don’t want to learn something new. Let’s take a quick glance at why Timeline is Facebook’s best idea yet. And why, as business owners, we should embrace the change and act.

            When I view a friend or family member’s timeline and they have a cover photo that is well thought out and intriguing, I can’t help but acknowledge that this person takes pride in how they portray themselves to others. The same can hold true for a business. If a business has not created a logo or image that represents what they offer or service they provide, it’s difficult to garner interest. The cover photo, or an image with snappy copy combined with the profile photo, can represent your business in the marketplace and help fans and friends distinguish you from the competition.

 Your Apps are Limited, So Choose Wisely

If you’ve visited business pages you have most likely have seen the long list of apps and tabs on the left-hand column. Did you click on all of them? Most likely you did not. Facebook now gives business owners the opportunity to choose the top 4 apps and make them stand out. Better yet, your business can get creative and develop imagery that will engage fans to click on your top apps. When your business develops compelling icons, people will want to see what you have to offer, encouraging them to visit your other apps or custom pages.

 Timeline Tells a Story and Stories Engage People

I remember as a kid, birthdays were a huge thing.. Everyday I woke up, the one thing at the top of my mind was, “My birthday is coming soon.” The anticipation for that event gained momentum with each passing day. Timeline gives businesses that kind of control to drive anticipation. If you are introducing a new product, additional services, an event announcement or simple alert, you can display your news and keep it top-of-mind to your fans and customers. It’s called pinned posts. They can stay at the top of your timeline for up to seven days.

            Stories can also be “pinned” and showcased along with pictures. Pinned stories keep relevant content at the top of your page. Do you want a picture of your team or staff showing involvement in a community project? Highlight the story and showcase it with full-width

picture. Take that extra wide-angle shot you’ve always dreamed of and post it!

            Timeline helps keep your story easily accessible for those that want to find it fast or for fans to share it. No more scrolling through pages of recent posts to find the one that was the most intriguing, it’s right at the top!

 Your Business and Facebook

Facebook was initially designed for personal friend and family interaction. The only connection businesses had with their personal Facebook friends was the ability to post on their wall. Facebook developers have bridged the gap between business and personal pages. You now have the option to interact personally with business communities.

            When fans or friends visit your business page, they can immediately be greeted by other friends who have already hit the “like” button on your page. We all appreciate seeing familiar faces and this is exactly what Facebook developers intended; connecting people and building relationships. Your friend activity is important and relevant to you and your business page. 

            Businesses would be smart to embrace Facebook’s Timeline and develop well thought imagery and posts. The deadline to convert to Timeline is March 31, 2012. Much like a good spring cleaning, it does your business no good to wait until later. Now is the time.

Tami Jo Russell is creative director and owner of Blue Finn Creative Group in Grand Junction. Russell is a multi-channel digital marketing specialist and designer with extensive experience in multimedia, marketing, e-commerce, and Web/print design. Reach her at tami@bluefinn.net or 712-2423.
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