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5 Ways Businesses Use Facebook Timelines - 6/26/2012 -

Here are several good ideas on how to get Facebook’s Timeline working for your association.

By Andrea Vahl

Are you wondering how businesses are creatively using Facebook’s Timeline features? Business timelines are blooming all over Facebook. Take a look at these examples:

1. Adding Interesting Milestones

Interesting Milestones may work better if your association has some history. For example, Coca-Cola, founded in 1886, has the benefit of a long and interesting history, so it can show its products from 1916 and how they have since evolved. Another example: The New York Times, founded in 1851, gives a walkthrough history of its Milestone posts, using interesting older articles to give a real sense of history. Get creative with news releases and things that your association has accomplished, or show Milestones of the evolution of your publication(s). Be sure to spread out the posting of your Milestones as those posts will go out to all of your fans. Don’t post 10 in a row, or you may irritate your community with "over-posting.”

2. Incorporating the Profile Picture Into Your Cover Photo

The profile picture is a good place for your association’s logo, but since the profile picture overlaps the cover photo, you will need to leave some blank space in the lower-left corner of your cover photo. So why not blend the two pictures? Social Media Examiner’s Tim Ware posted about creative profile cover photos, including a Photoshop template to incorporate the profile picture into the cover photo. See some other creative Timeline cover photos from Ching Ya

3. Telling a Story With Photos

Photos have gotten larger in Timelines and you can use the Highlight feature to show even more of the album. The Kia Soul page highlighted its concept car album to display more pictures. Another example: The Aquascape Foundation got good mileage out of photos on a recent trip to Uganda by having them post in different ways to its Timeline. Remember, when you add photos to an album, you will have a post on your Timeline. Then you can share the album to again showcase the story in a different way. People love seeing photos, and using them extensively on your Timeline can be a good way to tell your association’s story.

4. Branding With Apps

Apps are much more visible on Timeline. The Facebook Photos app will always be in the first row, in the first position, and will always display the most recent photo. The next three apps in the row will be most visible, so put your best apps in the first row. If your apps are interesting, you may have people click the down arrow on the right side to see what else you have available. Use the page to really brand your app and add a call-to-action within both the app’s name and custom graphic. (See example of good app branding by the SoLatina Group.

As a reminder, the app custom graphics are 111 pixels by 74 pixels and can be changed by clicking the down arrow on the right side to show all apps, then mousing over the app and clicking the pencil icon to activate the dropdown menu. Click Edit Settings to change the title of the custom tab or add custom graphics.

Here’s some good information if you’re wondering where to get apps to add to your page. Adding apps to your Timeline works just the same as adding apps to the older-style Facebook pages.

5. Using the About Section to Give a Call to Action

While you can’t have a call to action (such as "Click Like” or "Buy Now”) or your website address in the cover photo of your Timeline, you can have that information in your About section. The About section is hot property, so use it well.

There are many pages that don’t have anything in their About section at all, which could be due to confusion about where to edit this information. To edit your About section, click the About link, then mouse over the upper-right corner near your About section until you see the Edit button with the pencil. Click the Edit button and you see the older-style dashboard page.

Fill in your About section because this is the most visible part of your Info tab on your Timeline. You can have your website address and a call to action in your About section, but you only have approximately 160 characters to work with before it is cut off, depending on how the words flow. In fact, your association’s previous About section may have been longer but is now cut off mid-sentence. Make sure you correct that in the new Timeline view.

Don’t just focus on your About section that appears on your main Timeline page—make sure you are looking at what your About section looks like when you click the About link. Use that space creatively to link to special places on your website and tell people more about what your association does and whom you serve.

Now it's time to get started incorporating these five tips to use your Timeline more creatively.

Andrea Vahl is the community manager for Social Media Examiner and co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies. She is also a social media coach, speaker, and strategist.


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