24 – Facebook New Timeline & Branding

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The Rundown:

This week at the ArtVersion offices we’ve had our hands full redesigning and creating fan pages for our clients. Some of our clients where starting from scratch and some we were redesigning.

Yes, we understand that facebook redesigned its profile and functionality and you want to rip the hair out of your head.  We get it. As marketing and branding agency it becomes tiresome to have to back and redesign our past and current client’s facebook fan pages to be current with the rules. As of June 1, 2012 all landing pages created with static fmbl and html. It’s a bit tiresome but never the less we have to make the changes because facebook is still a valuable place for our business, brands and our clients to be in order to generate consistent business.

Let’s break down the major changes and functionality and give you some profile design advice.

The first major change is the large photo at the top of your page called the cover photo. Facebook makes it very easy to add a photo here using your existing photos or upload one from your desktop.

Besides the cover photo, Timeline helps you arrange the events of your life online and offline which helps you to create a sort of curated Web scrapbook. You can highlight your high school graduation, a big concert, new baby or marriage, and you can also hide the photos of that keg party that you’d rather your co workers not see. You can even add photos and events from before Facebook existed which as Mark Zuckerburg put it allows you to share your entire life online. It’s an interesting idea and has some nostalgic value. For a company it could be an interesting way to tell your story especially if it has been well documented over the years. Coca Cola has done a good job of this adding info all the way back to the 1800’s https://www.facebook.com/cocacola. Personally I’ve spent a lot of time reading into these brands it’s like their own brand museum.

With your profile picture and your cover picture, you’ll now have two decisions about the best way you present yourself to the online world. Here are some tips for compiling your Timeline.

1. Pick a photo that represents your personality or brand. Your cover is the first impression a consumer will get when he or she goes to your fan page. As you sort through your company photos, think about which snapshots best represent your brand voice and you can even design a well thought out collage. Facebook doesn’t want you to use your banner as a coupon but you can use it to make an ad for your most relevant products.

2. Your profile photo should be of you or your logo; your cover photo can be anything. Too often, brands change their Facebook photo to a photo of someone or something other than themselves whether it’s a new product, flyer etc. Those photos should now go in the cover.  Instread use your main photo as the most well known aspect of your brand such as your logo. If you’re a musician or a famous author you may just want to use a photo if people know your brand as you or maybe one of your best know works. This photo shows up in peoples news feeds so it’s important to give them something they are familiar with.

3. Edit your photos. The cover is a huge space, so a high-res photo will look best. Be prepared to crop and manipulate your image to make it look great. You can drag your image around the viewer space, but you can’t crop or resize from within Facebook.

4. Some Web sites will help you design your own cover and share it. Sites such as MyFBCovers and SiteCanvas will give you the tools to design a creative cover with your own images. For those who can’t choose just one image, SiteCanvas will help you make a collage. Or you can just take some time and use photoshop or some photo editing software you are familiar with.

5. Make sure you are creative. Don’t be generic. Use your imagination. Make sure you aren’t turning your profile into a cheesy myspace spam wall.

The unfortunate aspect of facebook timeline is that they got rid of an important marketing feature that allowed you to select a default landing page where you could create great marketing opportunities for brands with signup, widgets and contests. This will result in less in less engagement with these pages and thus devaluing some of facebook’s strength. Marketers will have to find out other creative ways to use facebook to market to their current and future consumers.

With the addition of the ticker and the new facebook algorithms for the newsfeed gaining traction on your wall posts is harder than ever. Fans that aren’t engaged in your post will most likely miss out on much of your content.   On facebook it’s okay to post every 3 to 6 hours for smaller brands trying to get their message out there. Larger brands that get thousands of likes and comments on their post aren’t fighting the same battles. So make sure each post counts and that you add value to each post by using pictures, videos and links.

Another valuable addition to the fan pages is that you can message them as fans. This gives many business another avenue for potential new business or as some will see it a headache.

That’s it for episode number 24

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