March 30 is, of course, the day that Facebook will roll out the Timeline layout for all business and nonprofit pages, whether they are ready or not.
When I first heard about this mandate, I immediately got defensive.
“What about all the time-stretched and overwhelmed small businesses and nonprofits, the ones who don’t have marketing departments, the ones who have no time or tech savvy, the ones that finally figured out how to use and update the old Facebook page layout? What about them?”
Then I read more about the new Timeline features for pages, and I began to get excited at all the possibilities.
I thought of spring cleaning – while daunting at first, there is a great sense of cleansing and detoxifying that comes with the end of winter and onset of spring.
Cleaning out closets, offices, cars, basements – whatever you’re cleaning out for spring, I see it as a chance for renewal and for improvement. That’s the spirit I’m bringing to the new Facebook layouts.
Is your page ready?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is your Facebook page in need of a facelift?
- Does it have enough engagement?
- Are the pictures old and stale?
- When was your last update that got liked or shared?
These are all questions to ask as you evaluate your Facebook marketing strategy going forward.
Do more of what’s working, and less of what isn’t. (Seems pretty simple, right?)
How you can use the new Timeline layout as an excuse to spring clean your page
1) Reevaluate your strategy. The new Timeline layout will force you to reexamine your strategies to get more likes. Gone are the days of “custom landing tabs” that force you to like a page before seeing its content. That’s called fan-gating, and it won’t be as easy to do as before. (However, The Nonprofit Facebook Guy wrote a great post on why fan-gating still works and how to continue to use it.)
2) Get visual. It’s all about the Cover image. A large, in focus, non-pixilated, compelling Cover image is vital to the success of your page. You really need to get creative here, while making sure to follow Facebook’s guidelines for Cover images.
3) Explore and try the new features – you will love them! Now you can post Milestones with an accompanying picture about events and important things that happened before you even got on Facebook. Heather Mansfield wrote a great “How To” post regarding Milestones that you need to read.
4) Put your best posts forward. You are now able to “pin to the top” one post – which means this post will be what people see first when they hit your page, after the Cover image. Choose wisely here, and change it up often. You can also Highlight a post, which stretches it across the entire page. This requires a great image, so use sparingly!
5) Clean up your tabs. Previously listed on the left hand side of your old Facebook page layout, your custom tabs are now more prominently featured under the Cover image. This is valuable real estate – that’s why many people have chosen their tabs carefully. You can use your own images for these tabs, and you can put them in any order that you want (except Photos, which remains anchored as the first tab). A good instructional video for how to do this is up at The Nonprofit Facebook Guy’s website.
6) Promote your page. Send out a special email blast and use your other social media communities (Twitter, Google+) to promote your newly designed page. This will hopefully get you more likes as it reminds people that you are on there and updating it regularly. I suggest sending out this update on March 29th, because I’m willing to bet that everyone else will be sending it right on March 30th or after.
Earlier in February I wrote about Facebook Fatigue – how pages and marketers have to be more compelling and unique than ever to get noticed. With the rollout of Timeline for pages, this is even more vital than ever before – it’s a way for your business or nonprofit to stand out from the crowd, or to get lost within it. Which will you choose?
Have you converted your page to Timeline? Please post the link in the Comments section, as well as any thoughts you would like to share. Thanks for reading!