The Facebook Timeline Marketing Guide
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The Difference Between A Facebook Page And A Facebook Profile
Facebook has two key components, the page and the profile, both of which serve a very different purpose. It is important for a business to understand this difference.
Setting up your Facebook Business Page is fairly simple. Facebook gives you prompts and walks you right through it. There are some best practices, though, and this video will walk you through the basics of getting your page set up with a good foundation.
One of the most important Facebook rules is that individual users are allowed to have profiles, and businesses are to have pages. Pages are the best option for artists, companies of any size, and brands. However, in order to create a page, we have to have our own personal profile Facebook account. It might seem confusing, so let’s look at pages and profiles in regards to their strengths and weaknesses.
Profiles Are Personal
Profiles are about all things personal, and are used as such. They give us a place to connect with our friends and our family. People who want to connect with us on our profile ask to be our “friends”, and we only add the people we want to have access to our personal information. Profiles are best for:
• Re-connecting and keeping in touch with friends and family
• Planning personal social events
• Expressing personal opinions or interests
• Sharing personal photos and videos
Profiles might not be the place to:
• Friend a boss, a customer, a student, or anyone outside a comfortable personal sphere
• Heavily market products and other business opportunities
• Mix personal life with a business brand
While we need a profile in order to create a page, the page is distinct from the profile, and not as connected to it as we might think. Unless we specifically add ourselves as featured page owners, our page isn’t really connected to our personal profile as far as an outside viewer is concerned. When doing a Facebook search as a person, we can find people and brands. When doing a Facebook search as a brand, we can only find other brands. Facebook lets personal profiles connect to brands, but brands cannot friend or follow personal profiles.
Pages Are Professional
Pages are specifically intended for business use. They contain different features and privacy options that make them optimal for this purpose. Pages allow us to post images and video and connect with our customers in a more direct way than we’ve ever been able to do before. Pages are best for:
• Sharing news and information about our business
• Uploading photos, videos, and images that relate to our business
• Allow the public to “like” and become a fan of our business
• Showing support for other local businesses
• Listen to and have conversations with fans and customers
Unlike profiles, business pages do not allow us to invite “friends.” Anyone who likes a page is called a “fan”, not a “friend.” Pages might not be the place to:
• Post personal pictures, comments, or links
• Express negative or argumentative conversation
• Have a public disagreement
Pages are still social media, so they certainly have a more personal feel to them than traditional marketing of the past. However, we want to be sure that the image we present on our page is one that won’t turn people away. We want to be real, be honest, and keep our personal business for our personal profiles.
Groups Are Exclusive
Facebook Groups are a kind of subset, different from both Profiles and Pages. They are a kind of exclusive zone for those who want to utilize Facebook’s ease-of-use but not on the same scale as a page or as wide open as a profile. A Group is a collection of Facebook users who are united around a common interest. Groups can be:
• Secret: Only members can see the group and what members post.
• Closed: Anyone can see the group. Only members see posts.
• Open (Public): Anyone can see the group and what members posts.
Groups are not as commonly used as Profiles and Pages.
The Official Rules
Facebook is actually quite specific on how a page may be used, with the intention being to make certain that a business is accurately claimed and reflected in the official page. Using a personal profile to represent a business is actually against Facebook’s Terms of Service (TOS). According to Facebook:
It might seem a gray area for someone such as an artist or writer, this choice between personal profile or page, but a page is really where businesses and brands — and artists and writers — should be. There is no real reason to attempt to use a profile as a business presence, particularly with the changes and upgrades Facebook has implemented. The page is truly the best place for our business to exist.
Designing the Perfect Page
Setting up the best possible page for our business isn’t difficult, but there are a few key things to keep in mind to make our Facebook presence optimal. Once we have these basics in place, we can really get to know and use our page’s Timeline features.
1. Set The Name and URL
We can set our own name-branded URL. Instead of a rather long and ugly Facebook URL (www.facebook.com/pages/ourbusiness/012345678) we can have a shorter, custom URL (www.facebook.com/ourbusiness). We can do this by visiting https://www.facebook.com/username/ and following the steps. Remember:
• Before we can select a branded URL for our page, we have to choose a username for our personal profile.
• Our page must have at least 25 fans to establish a URL. This is to prevent name squatting.
• Usernames are not transferable, nor can they be edited or changed later. Choose a page name wisely.
• If our trademarked name has already been taken, we can notify Facebook. This is considered intellectual property infringement.
2. Set The Cover Photo
The Facebook Timeline offers businesses a large section of real estate at the top of the page devoted to imagery. The largest area is called the Cover Photo while the smaller inset photo is called the Profile Image. Both provide an excellent opportunity for any brand. Cover Photos must be 399 pixels wide. Different sizes can be moved and cropped to fit on Facebook, but by adhering to the proper size, you can avoid losing any part of the image.
• Cover photos are public, seen by everyone who visits the page
• Cover photos may not contain price or purchase information
• Cover photos may not contain any information found on the About page
• Cover photos may not direct users to the Like or Share button
• Cover photos may not contain any calls to action
3. Let Our Apps Work For Us
Facebook provides a few stock apps for our use, such as photos or likes. It also allows us to add others.
These apps are located directly below our Cover Photo, and so are quite visible to our fans. There are a few things we can do to make the best use of this.
• Arrange our apps in an order that we prefer. This is done by clicking on the far right app, which opens up edit options in the right corner of any app we hover the mouse over. We can swap locations of apps and make sure the ones that we make visible are important to our brand.
• We can use third party custom apps. Facebook provides us with a good selection of Timeline apps here, though some are available for Profiles only. We can find additional apps by going to the fan page for that app. If the App is available for your page, you’ll see an “Add To Page” link in the lower left-hand column.
• We can set custom icons for our custom apps. This allows us to give our brand page an overall cohesive apperance.
Setting Custom App Icons
Navigate to the the Admin section of the page. From the Manage dropdown, select Edit Page.
In the Edit Page area, select Apps in the left side of the page.
From there you can choose the app you’d like to change the icon for, and choose Edit Settings. You can change the icon image, as well as the name you want displayed for the App.
4. Highlight Our Own Content
Facebook provides businesses with options of featuring or promoting content from their own page. We can create a Milestone, we can Highlight a post, or we can Pin a post.
Highlighted posts stretch across the entire timeline, giving visitors to our page plenty to look at and a quick way to Highlight content that we don’t want to see lost easily in the timeline. Highlighted posts stay where they are in the timeline, shuffling down as new content is added. However, they retain the huge real estate on the page. You can Highlight a post at any time simply by hovering over the post you wish to Highlight, and clicking on the star in the upper right corner.
Pinning a post to our timeline means that we can feature it at the top of the timeline for seven days. At the end of that time period, it drops back to its original date on the timeline. A post can only be pinned by an administrator of the page. There can only be one post pinned at a time, and any post pinned while another is at the top will replace the previous post. You can Pin any post at any time by hovering over the post you wish to Pin, clicking on the pencil in the upper right corner, and selecting “Pin To Top.”
Milestones are different from a status or photo update. A post is designated as a Milestone and several new options, such as location and date, as well as photos, are available to us. Milestones are created in the same place a regular status or photo is added to the Timeline. Choose Milestone from the four choices (Status, Photo, Ask Question, Milestone), and follow Facebook’s prompt from there.
5. Use The Facebook Insights
Business can be thankful for the real-time insights Facebook provides us. These insights, all of which are available for export, include:
• Overview: A broad view of how our page is performing.
• Likes: Detailed information on posts that are getting liked.
• Reach: The number of people who have seen content associated with our page.
• Talking About This: The number of people who have interacted with our page in any way (like, comment, tag, share). This is vital, since it is an indicator on how well our content is connecting with our community.
These insights are a very good way to track our page’s success, and to see what kind of content resonates with our fans. Valuable information such as this was coveted by businesses in the past, and not available so quickly or easily.
Getting To Know The Facebook Timeline
The Facebook Timeline is not necessarily new, but it made headlines again when Facebook converted all pages to the Timeline view on March 30, 2012.
Over the years, there have been many changes made to Facebook. In fact, it sometimes feels like they never stop changing. This time around, however, the changes are very positive and offer some major benefits to brands. While change is often difficult, this new change was actually good for Facebook pages.
One of the most noticeable changes to our band’s page was the new cover photo at the top of the wall page. This image is the defining element of the page. This is a very exciting change for our brand, since it will add more actual brand to our page. It’s better visual real estate.
The Timeline portion of the page will completely change how visitors see posts. With the new look, all of our posts – past and present – will be visible in an ongoing timeline layout. This will give visitors a better overview of our brand each time they visit. This feature makes Facebook an even better tool for .
Location, Location, Location…
With the old Facebook, users had to click on the Info tab to get information about . While a small change, the new Timeline puts this information front and center. This is a great feature for the local business.
More Control, More Information
Facebook has always offered a great stats and analytics package called Insights, but with the new Admin Panel, those insights are right at our finger tips. The new Timeline features a handy admin panel that gives us all of the juicy details we want to see, such as new likes and notifications.
Bigger Welcome Tabs
Facebook used to provide only 520 pixels for welcome tabs, those customized pages that welcomed first-time visitors. Now, users have access to almost twice as much space (810 pixels). There are plenty of creative things that can be done with this new real estate. It will be exciting to see what develops. However, it should be noted that administrators will no longer be able to set a default landing tab for page visitors. So, while we have larger visual area to work with, the ‘welcome tab’ technically no longer exists.
Improved Visibility for a few Facebook Tabs
With the new Timeline, the familiar left-hand menu is gone. Now, users will only see the first four links at first blush. The remaining tabs will still be available after a secondary click. We can choose which tabs we want highlighted. In the long run, this is a very positive move on Facebook’s part.
In addition to normal everyday status updates, we can now add special milestones to commemorate special events in our brand’s history. For example, the day we changed over to the the Timeline!
Many people don’t realize that the new Timeline page also comes with a new Messages features for all brands. Just like Facebook personal profiles, brand pages will now be able to send and receive private messages from fans or customers with questions.
With the new timeline view, some might worry that they won’t be able to hide old posts that are no longer relevant. Generally with Facebook, once it’s there, it’s there. No more. Brands can now hide or “bury” stories from their timeline with ease.
Fully Active Wall
If there is one thing that social media has taught us, it’s that busniesses are no longer in control of the message. With the old Facebook pages, only posts that we created would show up on our Wall. No more. Now, shares, comments, likes, and friend activity will all be incorporated into the picture of our brand. While we will still have full control (remember, we can hide stories), this can pose a potential risk for companies that aren’t paying attention to negative attacks.
Pinned Posts and Highlights
With Timeline, we can choose to ‘pin’ one of our bests to posts to the top of our page for up to seven days. This is a nice feature that allows us to keep the latest news front and center. In addition, we can ‘Highlight’ individual posts on our Timeline, causing them to appear in ‘full size’ across the timeline page. Creating a ‘Highlight’ is as easy as clicking the star on the post.
In the top right corner of your Timeline, users will now see other friends that also like our page. In addition, this section will show any conversation that these friends are having about our brand (i.e. specific posts mentioning our page). Some might call this social proof, but it increases our risk of negative press if we aren’t paying attention.
In the new activity log, we will be able to see every post that has ever been published on our page, as well as mentions by other Facebook users. Think of this as a summary of all the activity that has happened surrounding our Facebook page.
Change Is Good
Overall, the Timeline is a boon for our business. With more branding real estate, and the option for highlighted information on the Timeline, there are a lot of tools at our disposal. Aside from the specific features, some the primary benefits of Timeline are:
• Better visual exposure for design/branding elements.
• Improved emphasis on the ‘local’ aspects of business.
• Huge step forward in the storytelling aspect of online networking.
• Additional communication avenues show promise for community building.
The new Timeline gives us a great opportunity to highlight the big moments in our brand’s history.
Friends, Likes, Fans, And Beyond
Facebook has its own vocabulary, and it can be confusing. What we are able to do depends on who we are when we’re using Facebook, and what that usage allows us to accomplish.
Friends Will Friend, Fans Will Like
Friends are on Profiles. Fans are on Pages.
That’s the basic premise, and it makes sense. The word Friend connotes a personal connection, and so they are associated with our personal Profile presence on Facebook. Fans indicate a different kind of connection and interest, and are associated with Facebook Pages where businesses and brands set up shop.
When we’re on Facebook and using it as our personal Profile, we can Like pages, and we can request to be the Friend of another user’s personal Profile. Liking a Page will increase the fan count on that page. However, when we are on Facebook and operating as a Page administrator, we cannot Friend a personal Profile. We can still Like another Page, but we will not affect its fan count. Fans can only be individuals with a personal Profile, and only fans affect the total fan Page count.
Likes show up on both Profiles and Pages, but in a different way. On our personal Profile, we can determine who can see our likes. On our business Page, we can let our likes randomly display, or we can select featured likes that we would like to highlight for our Page’s fans. This is done through the Admin Panel. From the top menu, select Manage, and then Edit Page. Choose Featured from the list on the left, and follow the prompts from there.
Timelines and News Feeds
Friends and Fans interact with Timelines and News Feeds differently, having differing levels of control over either.
The Timeline is basically what used to be referred to as the Wall. It is the content that might be hidden behind privacy settings on a profile, but is available to the public on a Page. The Timeline contains only the content associated with the Page or Profile, the content that the user or brand has created or specifically shared. It shows the Conversations, Likes, and Shares of others, but it is all associated with the Page or Profile that has control over that specific Timeline.
The News Feed is what we see when we login to Facebook. It is a combination of the pages and profiles we’ve Liked, Friended, or Subscribed to. Depending upon how we manage our settings, the News Feed shows a continually updating mix of content as they are posted and shared by those profiles and pages. The News Feed is not controlled by those providing the content, but by the user. The News Feed can be thought of as a Facebook digest for everything that the user decided to allow into it. Instead of having to visit every profile or page to check out the Timelines, the user can see what’s new in one glance.
Subscribing, Hiding and Blocking
Facebook is continually adding features to help us control what information we see in our News Feed.
When using Facebook under our personal Profile, we are automatically Subscribed to anyone we have added as a Friend. Those settings can be adjusted later, allowing us to reduce the amount or kinds of content we see from Friends in our News Feed. We can also Unsubscribe from a Friend while still keeping them as a Friend. Perhaps we want to still have access, or allow them access, to our Profile, but we do not want to see their content in our News Feed. Our Friend will not know we have Unsubscribed from them.
Subscribing also allows us, when logged in as a Profile user, to get updates in our News Feed from a person we find interesting, whether we are friends or not. We can also decide if we want others to have that kind of access to the content and status updates that we designate as public by offering a . Subscriptions are often used by well-known personalities who can’t possibly Friend everyone but still want to allow people access to their public content on their Profile.
When logged in as a Page administrator, we don’t have quite the controls over what appears in our News Feed that we have as a personal Profile user. We can hide a specific story from our News Feed, or we can block all updates from a Page that we Liked without Unliking them. The Subscription concept works best for profiles and profile users.
Working with subscriptions can be easily done right in the News Feed.
Pulling It All Together
So, what does all of this mean to a brand with a Facebook Page?
It helps to clearly understand how a Profile can and cannot interact with our Page so that we can set up some best practices for our brand. Remember, our goal on Facebook is to build trust, get fans, and see our content shared across a wide audience.
Support Local Businesses. Liking the Page of a local or regional business is a good idea. Whether or not you want to feature that page is up to you, but liking another Page is an element of good-faith and buying local. Fans appreciate that you’re willing to share the spotlight and social real estate with another local brand. Fans of other local brands may find you in this way as well.
Support Good Causes. Liking the Page of a local, regional, or national organization that promotes a good cause gives you both valuable content for your Fans, and a way to help your Fans get involved with that good cause. Your Fans want to be part of something good, and by giving them a way to do that, you build trust for your brand.
Find Great Content. Liking the Page of a website that consistently provides great content that is related to your brand or area of expertise is all part of giving our Fans the best information possible. Mixing up that found content with our own content builds trust for our brand by helping our Fans avoid the information overload and learning that they can come to us for the best information out there. Facebook’s News Feed makes it very easy to share this content on our Timeline.
Be In Front Of Eyeballs. Staying in the News Feed on a regular basis is the best way to get our brand’s content shared, and to find new fans. You might not always have the content to keep up, but by sharing the content you find, this can be accomplished. By merely making it a regular habit to stop by Facebook and check your Page’s own News Feed (assuming you’ve liked a wide variety of Pages, as described above), you’ll be able to find plenty of content to share. And, your brand’s Page will be in your Fan’s News Feeds more often.
It’s Gotta Be Good. Poor content, or a flood of content all at once might make a Fan block or Unsubscribe, so be sure to share only the best, create only the best, and to space that content out in the day. Blasting all of your content out at once annoys Fans; they don’t want to see a block of their News Feed taken up by one brand, nor are they likely to differentiate between all of the content you sent out. Always respect the user’s News Feed. They have so many controls, and it is easy to be removed from it. Out of site, out of mind.
Being social means we’ll be active in using these different methods of working with pages and profiles while on Facebook.
The Facebook Photo Album And Something Called Tags
Each Facebook page comes with the opportunity to find and hook Fans through great photo albums. With careful planning and a basic understanding of what’s available, Facebook photo albums can be so much more than a catch-all for random images. They can tell the story of a brand.
The Internet is a place where images rule. We click on photos, we’re attracted to images — now more than ever, a picture is worth a thousand words. Using photos on Facebook in the right way can help build our brand and get our content shared. Learn the basics of working with photos on Facebook.
In our Facebook page, the link to the photo album section is found directly below our cover image with the rest of the Facebook apps. The location for the photos app cannot be moved. Facebook understands the importance of photos, and has locked the location of this app. This location is prime real estate on our Facebook page, and so our photo albums have the potential to be a strong brand-building tool. Remember, the Internet is increasingly visual; our images have power.
Telling Visual Stories
Few things are as valuable to teachers or communicators as a story. Complex and challenging ideas are made easier when expressed through a story. We are all naturally drawn to a story, and a good story hooks us and makes us want more. It attaches us to the characters in the story, and maybe even to the storyteller.
A story is the shortest distance between people. – Pat Speight
Facebook is strongest not as a tool for push marketing and mere product updates, but to tell a story: the story of our brand. The Timeline is arranged with story in mind, and with Facebook photo albums, we are given the great opportunity to tell our story with images. Approaching our photo albums with that mindset, instead of as a collection of random images or mere documentation, will help us succeed in attracting and keeping fans. They want a story, so why shouldn’t we share ours and give them what they want?
It goes without saying that we need good photos on our Page, but how we create our photo albums, and how we arrange them, is just as important as filling them with excellent images.
How To Choose What Albums To Create
Fans and visitors to our Page don’t want to see an album based on a date, a year, or anything that seems arbitrary or without any particular meaning. A “miscellaneous” album says one thing: “Here’s some photos we don’t care enough about to categorize. Maybe you’ll care enough to look.”
There are a few things to keep in mind when creating albums for your Page:
Tell who you are. More important than what we do and where we do it is who we are. Our fans need to trust us, and they won’t trust a stranger. Perhaps this will look like photos of your staff. Maybe you’ll have an album called “Our Daily Story” and fill it with the fun and creative things that happen in the office. Help your fans understand who you are with your photos.
Tell what you do. We can tell what we do through words easily enough, but showing photos of what we do, what we create, and what it looks like when we work helps fans better understand us. Maybe you’ll have an album called “How We Created The Widget” and show a product from the ground up.
Tell where you are. Share images of your work and your office. These are things that have an effect on you; let your fans know about them, too. They’ll understand your brand better when they know where it comes from.
Tell what you did. If your brand is involved in a special event, set up an album for the event. Tag the people in the photos. Make it about community. Give fans an excuse to share your photos as they share their involvement in the event.
Hook through titles. We judge books by covers and blog posts by headlines. Give your album a title that makes readers want to look inside. Give photos captions that help the story along.
Make a well-rounded library. Have albums that are informative, that are inspiring, that are humorous, and that offer useful information. Create a well-rounded visual library through the albums that you create.
Avoid the huge tome. An album with several hundred photos won’t get the same use as an album with a more digestible number. Keeping albums small, and creating more albums, helps people quickly look through your library and consume a cohesive story one at a time.
Use word pictures. Consider creating images the feature quotes, ideas, and tips. Sure, you could put it in a status update, but images are more likely to be shared. Make a graphic version of the text instead.
How To Work With Individual Photos In An Album
We can arrange the order of our albums, as well as the individual photos in our albums. This is done through basic clicking and dragging. Or, within the album, we can let Facebook do the work by choosing to arrange them by date or by upload.
We can also designate which photo we want to be the album’s cover photo. Just like we want great album titles, we want great album covers. The arrangement of photos within an album is only a concern when we have an album in which there is a consecutive order where we are literally telling a story which has one photo leading onto the next. We might also want to consider how the album looks visually as it spreads out on a screen, and how we want our photos to work for us.
Unless we otherwise designate, photos uploaded to albums show up on our Timeline. Have captions and necessary tags and locations to make full use of this feature. If someone shares a photo from an album, the photo needs to be able to stand on its own, and the captions and tags help it do this. Also, remember that the Timeline will feature a photo from an album in the apps, below the Cover Photo, and that one photo will need to do the work to gather attention for all of our photo albums. Our photos have to be strong individually, and as an album.
See the photo album as not just a random collection of photos, but as groupings of images that tell stories. This will help choose what kind of albums (collections) to create, how to name them, what photos should go in them, and the order those photos should take.
The Photo Tab Will Change
Facebook does not allow us to permanently set the icon image of their own app, and so they will automatically change the icon in the photo tab to reflect the most recent photo added to our page. For those of us who want the image that links to our photo albums to remain the same and have a coherent look for our brand’s app icons, there is a rough work-around to make this happen.
How To Keep A Static Photo Tab Icon
1. Create a new album, and label it “Photo Icon.”
2. Since the appearance of our photo album collection does matter, drag the “Photo Icon” album to the end. Make it less important than the rest so that it doesn’t show up in the “summary” view of albums that Facebook offers on an initial visit to our photo album area.
3. Upload the icon graphic you want, but to prevent it from appearing on the Timeline, be sure to use the “basic uploader” instead. This will give you the option to specify that you want to skip adding it to the Timeline.
4. At the end of ever photo upload session, re-upload that same icon so that it is the last one added.
The icon size for apps is 111 x 74 pixels. Any image that we don’t want cropped should fit that size exactly. Our work-around involves ending any photo-uploading session with a re-upload of the same image. While not ideal, it will allow us to control the image connected in what is fairly prime real estate below our cover image.
Tags Make Sure You’re It
Facebook now allows users to tag photos with brands. In the past, tagging photos was reserved for people, tagging friends and the like. Now, Facebook allows everyone in on the game, even pages, giving our brand a great opportunity.
Think of the movies that have prominent product placement. Everyone in the theater, whether they realize it or not, are being suggested to think the following: “People use that product. Maybe I should.”
Maybe a photo with a can of Coca Cola doesn’t need a tag, since most of us recognize it. However, a tag links back to the brand’s Page, so it helps the brand let others know that their product is in use. Plus, not all of us have as easily recognized products as Coca Cola. Think of the benefit of having users tag photos of them using or wearing or displaying our product or service. It’s a referral on our page, it’s a message to others that their friends use our products, and it’s a recommendation.
Imagine our Timeline and photo albums having a collection of photos supplied by fans showing themselves using our product. Recommendations carry a lot of weight, particularly from “real” people. Add the visual nature of a photo, and it’s a strong recommendation indeed.
Currently, only pages who have categorized themselves as “Brands & Products” or “People” can utilize this feature, though Facebook has promised to roll this out more extensively over time.
How To Tag a Facebook Page to a Photo:
1. Click the photo you wish to tag, and select “Tag This Photo.”
2. Type the name of the Person or Page you wish to tag.
3. Click “Done Tagging” in the lower left corner.
How To Disable Photo Tagging for a Page:
1. Click on “Manage Page” in the admin section of your page.
2. Click the “Manage Permissions” tab, and make sure “Everyone can add photos and videos to [Your Page’s name]’s Wall (timeline)” is not checked.
Just remember — images on Facebook get shared more than anything, so giving your fans great images is exactly what they want.
Dissecting The Facebook News Feed
The news feed is a powerful tool for brands. It can be used for content discovery, and, if understood and used properly, it can maximize a brand’s exposure on Facebook. Without a clear understanding of its potential, it can overwhelm or be wasted.
The Facebook News Feed is a library, a resource, a promotional tool, and a place for community. It is our homepage, giving page and profile users different options to interact with the stories they see. When properly understood, the News Feed offers brands a great opportunity to connect with their fans. Learn abou the News Feed and features, such as the Interest List.
Our Home Page And Our Timeline
It’s easy to confuse the issue, and think that the Timeline is the homepage.
What’s the first page we see when you hop on Facebook? That page is our homepage. The news feed is found on our home page.
Each Facebook user profile has their own unique homepage, as does each brand. Our news feed is customized and private, and for our use and benefit only. The home page for brands contains admin quick-links on the left-hand side, which allow us to select “News Feed”, “Insights” or “Events”. The News Feed for personal Profiles shows content based upon what Pages and Profiles the individual has liked or friended. The News Feed for brands, however, only contains content from the other Pages that have been liked, but not from individual fans.
The News Feed
Our News Feed is a fluid and updating list of content. It changes constantly as posts and status updates are changed.
The News Feed for a personal Profile contains everything from photo tags, friend requests, status updates, group memberships and more. The News Feed for a brand’s Page is a bit different. It shows the new content from the pages we’ve liked, but not the content of individual people or fans. Brand Pages can only connect to other brand Pages by liking, and so therefore, that is the only content we will see in our brand’s News Feed.
The News Feed might sound secondary to our brand’s page, since we’ve put a lot of effort into making our Timeline represent our brand, but the truth is that the News Feed is probably more important. The News Feed is the presence our fans will see and share more than the Timeline. Most people don’t go directly to a brand’s page, but are clicking through or sharing based on what they see in their News Feed. Just as we have limited time in the day, so do our fans. The News Feed is the easiest way for them to keep up with their favorite brands and friends, and not have to take the time to go directly to many different Pages and Profiles. Most Facebook users spend the largest amount of time on their News Feed.
What does this mean for us, as a brand?
It means that we are competing for attention with all the other content that is in any given News Feed, including other brands as well as personal friends. It means a fan might miss our update if he isn’t online when we post it since it will quickly slide lower as other items are added to his News Feed. It means we need to post content to our Timeline regularly, and at intervals, throughout the day, to keep our brand present in our fan’s News Feeds. It means we need to see the News Feed as the gateway to our brand.
The News Feed is where everything happens on Facebook. The News Feed is the ultimate prime real estate on Facebook. It’s where we want our message to always be present.
Using The News Feed To Reach Fans
We can reach our fans very easily through their news feed if we use best practices. Whenever we add new content to our Timeline, it will appear in their news feed. A few simple considerations of how we handle content on our Timeline will increase our chances of success on the News Feed.
Be Consistent. Add content to your Timeline regularly. Remember, your content isn’t going to stay at the top of a fan’s news feed for long, and you might miss them if you only add content once. However, don’t flood the News Feed with your content. If a user sees massive amounts of just your content every time they login, they may block your page to get more control over their News Feed. Think of a steady drip instead of a flood.
Be Relevant. Content shouldn’t be published for publishing’s sake. Share content that has value, whether it’s promoting your brand or sharing outside links and images. Your Facebook page should follow the same rules as other social media platforms, and contain a good mix for your fans.
Be Succinct. Brief updates fare better than long, wordy updates. Simple status or photos posts actually do very well in Facebook user engagement.
Develop Dialogue. Ask questions, or encourage fan response. Or, use “fill in the blank” techniques (e.g. “I like ____”). Get your fans involved with your brand.
Call To Action. Don’t shy away from updates that encourage your fans to do something. Coupons and other offers (e.g. “Get 50% off”) fare well with Facebook fans.
Stay Up On Trends. Consider trending topics and how to use that to keep an update on the news feed longer. You can read more here.
Be Timely. Use your own Facebook insights to learn the best time to post Facebook updates. Plan a week where you update at the same interval every day with the same content (e.g. post a photo at the same time every day), and use that information to determine the best time to update. While not a foolproof method, it helps in giving you an idea of when your fans are active.
Customizing The News Feed
Customizing our news feed, for both our Profile and our Page, saves us time. There is simply too much information and activity on Facebook for the news feed to be a useful tool without wrestling it into control. Facebook provides many tools to do just that.
Profiles and Pages Have Different Control
Individual Profile users have a few more options than brand’s do when it comes to their News Feed. They can hide a specific story, report the story as spam, subscribe to a user (all updates, most updates, or only important updates), unsubscribe from a user, unsubscribe from a user’s status updates only, and so on. And, of course, the can remove a user from their Friends list entirely. An individual Profile user has a great deal of control over their News Feed.
When using Facebook as the admin of a Page, however, we have fewer options. A Page can hide a specific story from their News Feed, or they can report the story as spam. A Page can also block another Page from showing up on their News Feed without having to Unlike them.
Creating And Using Interest Lists
Facebook created Interest Lists to help Profile users refine their news feeds by subscribing to topical-based feeds. It functions much like Twitter lists, Google+ saved searches, or Google Reader, allowing us to collect public feeds and content on a related subject.
Creating Interest Lists is done easily through Facebook’s Add List interface, which is also accessed in the bottom left our our Profile News Feed. We can choose from lists created by other Facebook users, or make our own lists and add the public content or Pages that we want associated with that list. Our lists will appear on the left-hand side of our newsfeed, with a few of the top-stories from these lists appearing in our News Feed, similar to Google+ Hot Topics.
While Pages can’t have an Interest List yet, we can, through our Profile, create an Interest List and include our page in the mix. Creating relevant Interest Lists that are available for other users to subscribe to are a good way to show expertise by being an aggregator of useful information. We can publicize our Interest List and encourage people to subscribe to them. Each Interest List has its own URL, easily found in the browser when the list is opened. We can post this in a status update and people can subscribe right from the post.
Until Facebook allows Interest Lists for pages, there’s nothing stopping us from using our Profile’s Interest List to find content that we can share through our brand’s Page.
The Order Of News, And The Ticker
Facebook allows us to sort our News Feed by Top Stories, or by Most Recent. Most Recent is a pure chronological sort, while Top Stories are sorted by how relevant they are, which, according to Facebook:
Relevance is based on many factors, including how long it’s been since you’ve visited Facebook, your relationship to the person who posted the story, how many likes and comments it got, etc.
The Ticker is shown on the right sidebar of the News Feed for personal Profiles if the person uses Facebook a lot. It is not seen on a Page’s News Feed. The Ticker is an actual real-time update of everything that is happening as it happens. The Ticker can be customized or even turned off. While the Ticker and the order of the News Feed are outside of our control as a brand, it’s a reminder that great content with a regular publishing schedule gives us the best opportunity in being seen in a News Feed.
Facebook knows the value of the News Feed.
With the recent changes to Facebook, we have also seen the introduction of Sponsored Stories in News Feeds for individual users. Previously, ads appeared along the side of the News Feed. Profile users will now see a periodic Sponsored Story in a news feed and likely not realize it is happening. According to Facebook:
Sponsored Stories promote the organic interactions between people and a business.
Sponsored Stories are posts from your friends or Pages on Facebook that a business, organization or individual has paid to highlight so there’s a better chance you’ll see them. They are regular stories that a friend or Page you’re connected to has shared with you.
Sponsored Stories will only appear in a user’s News Feed organically. Perhaps a user liked the page of the brand sponsoring the ad. Or, someone who is on their friend list interacts with a brand’s page. That friend’s activity will naturally show up in a user’s News Feed, anyway, and the brand can choose to sponsor that particular story. Facebook will make the story appear more prominently in a user’s News Feed, but still make it appear to be very much a typical item.
Advertisers cannot add any additional content to the original story posted by the friend. The only indication that the story is sponsored is a small gray link in the lower right corner indicating as much. Users do not have the option to block the Sponsored Stories from appearing in their news feed, nor can they request that their Facebook activity not be used for such ads. However, users are able to block individual ads one at a time, or limit a friend’s post to “Only Important Posts.” Most users won’t realize they are looking at something that is being promoted by an outside brand.
Sponsored stories are about as close as a brand can get to controlling how their content is shown in a Profile’s News Feed. Facebook has given much control to a Profile user as to how they interact with their News Feed.
Understanding how the News Feed works, and what we can and cannot control, serves as useful reminder that our content, even on Facebook, matters very much. Make use of the tools that Facebook has provided us to find relevant content to share, and then work within that structure to optimize our exposure in the News Feeds of our fans and potential fans.
Grow Your Fanbase
The Ultimate Tool For Building Community
Using Facebook in a way that would keep community from forming around your brand is foolish. Facebook is community, and community is conversation.
The Point Of Our Content
We need great content on Facebook, because it builds conversation.
Just like last night’s TV show sparks conversation around the water cooler in the break room, what we make available on our Facebook page sparks conversation in our fans gathered around our page. But does every TV show get talked about?
Just the good ones, because we only talk about things that are fresh, hot, inspiring, educational, encouraging, life-changing, entertaining — we talk about the things that interest us, things that make our life better in some way. And that’s exactly what our content should be. Our content should meet the needs of our fans, and should be of the best quality. We should find the best outside content and help our fans by sifting through all of what’s out there and saving them the time by narrowing it down to the best. We should create our own content and connect our fans to our website and our expertise. Great content, and we have conversation started.
Finding The Content
At first, our new Facebook page might seem like an echo chamber without much conversation and few fans. If the point of our content is to start conversation around our brand, how can we get those conversations started? We find our content where other conversations are happening.
Facebook, Twitter, & Other Social Networks: Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and — of course — Facebook, are bursting with conversation. In their own unique way, each network is all about conversation. Users are easily able to comment, like, and share posts – and are very likely to do so. Social networks quickly show you what content is drawing conversation.
LinkedIn Groups: While generally geared toward professionals, LinkedIn Groups offer an excellent opportunity for discussion and discovery. You can join an industry group or start a group of our own. Members of the group are allowed to share and comment on industry-related links, ask questions, and share concerns. LinkedIn uses internal notification and email to keep group members informed of what’s going on inside the group. It’s a great way to find industry-specific content to bring back to your Facebook page.
Blogs & Podcasts: Not only can we participate with an already existing community, but we can help bring like-minded individuals to our own content or social media pages as well as find content to share to our users. We can find content to share or build upon and create our own content.
User Forums: User forums are part of the old guard online, but still have their place in the social media ranks. As part of the original community that developed online, they are still a place to find and foster group conversation, and another way to generate ideas for content.
Remember, audiences want to participate when we give them something to participate in. Be consistent, and find the content, create the content, and share the content so the Facebook “water cooler” talk includes our brand.
The Point Of Conversation
We need great conversation on Facebook, because it builds community.
Conversation and engagement are two of those tricky social media buzzwords that we all hear, but rarely experience. We know that our Facebook page is suppose to be a bubbling pool of consumer conversation and engagement, but what if that doesn’t materialize right away? Creating engaged fans is the ideal result of consistent social media marketing, but it takes a lot more than simply showing up to the party.
Part of the problem is that we marketers have gotten into the habit of waiting for the customer to come to us. We buy the ad, push it in front of our customers, and wait for them to come. Social media turns this all around, and so we need to learn how to reach out to our customers in a new way that allows them to connect directly to us. One-sided conversation, after all, doesn’t build community.
Encouraging The Conversation
Conversation on the web is found everywhere, but there are a few places we can find a lot of it. We can incorporate conversations found on other social networks or sources, and incorporate them into our Facebook presence.
Get More Involved: One of the biggest reasons that brands struggle with online conversation is simply that they aren’t there enough. Social media rewards regular and consistent content. If you aren’t consistent, you aren’t providing anything for people to talk about.
Insert Yourself: Social media isn’t only about watching the conversation happening around you. You need to become a part of it. There are great conversations happening on Facebook that you can become a part of. You should be regularly adding your own thoughts and comments to these conversations. Get involved, and jump in. The more you do, the more the conversation will be reciprocated.
Ask Them To: Start your own conversations by asking questions and sharing topics that encourage discussion. Once you have a small group of followers, you should definitely be able to get some responses if the question is positioned properly. Sometimes, no one is talking simply because they have nothing to talk about. Try some conversation starters to get things rolling.
Create Content To Share: Create some helpful and useful content that your audience would like to share. If they are your customers, you should have a pretty good idea of what they like and are interested in. Create a free download or ebook and ask them to share it with people that might find it helpful. Great, free, content is one of the driving forces online.
Make a List, And Check It Twice: Develop a list or a group of influential and interesting people and make a point to have regular conversations with them. This is called “targeted mingling.” Use Facebook Interest Lists through your profile, or a customer monitoring tool like TodayLaunch. Make a point to build relationships with key influencers online.
Reward Your Biggest Fans: No matter who you are, there is someone that is willing to talk to you and about you online. When they do, reward them. A simple thank you or a direct callout on you Facebook page can go a long way. People appreciate the recognition and will be more likely to do it again if you shower them with some praise.
Where do we find conversation? We find it around anything that people find interesting and that gives them a way to speak up or share it. If those two qualities are in play, there’s conversation. And, because there’s conversation…there’s community.
The Power Of Appreciation
We need a great community on Facebook, because it builds our brand.
A community will fade away when it isn’t acknowledged or appreciated. No one wants to be ignored, and our fans and followers won’t waste time participating if we don’t let them know we’re glad to have them involved in the conversation.
Get in the habit of saying “thanks” to our fans and followers. Help them help us by letting them know we need and appreciate them. Let our community know we’re glad they’re here:
Say Thank You. Saying thank you when a customer posts on your Facebook wall, or retweets your blog post can go a long way in the social economy. Being appreciative lets your fans know that they matter to you, and that you don’t take what they do for granted.
Shower Praise. You community will never know what you think about them unless you tell them. Showering praise on other people doesn’t always come naturally for everyone, but it is a very important part of building community. Always be willing to give someone praise for their successes. Sincere praise makes them feel valuable.
Stay Positive. Keep a smile on your face as you type. A positive tone in your Facebook posts will help set the tone for the fan interactions that take place each and every day. When you are positive, the members of your community are far more likely to be positive as well. They follow as they are led.
Give Selflessly. Social media is a share-driven economy. Great brands and community curators have learned that if they give away a little bit of what they do best, their community will reward them with their business. So, do more than give lip service, and say thank you to your community by giving them something to take, give, and share.
Be Authentic. One of the biggest reasons consumers follow brands and companies in social media is because of the authenticity that these accounts usually provide. In today’s age of the customer, corporate transparency and honesty go a long way. As brand evangelists, your community deserves true honesty and authentic information. Give them the real you each day.
Follow Back. If someone has taken an interest in your brand, consider following them back. Unfortunately, most brands don’t care who their followers are as long as they have some. Be different than most brands. Pay attention to what your followers say. When they celebrate, come along with them. When they ask a question, chime in. Be an honest member of your own community.
The road to building our brand starts with content, leads through genuine conversation, and ultimately to our goal: a brand with a strong and genuinely loyal fan base. Facebook gives us all the tools to do this with.
How To Use Facebook Insights To Track Your Fan Page And Website
Facebook Insights are the basic stats that Facebook automatically uses to track our page’s activity. These are important numbers to be familiar with and can provide us with good information on our brand and its presence on Facebook.
Facebook features two kinds of insights, Page Insights and Domain Insights.
Facebook Page Insights
Page Insights monitor activity on our Facebook Page. They tell us what our fans are doing on our Timeline or with our messages in their News Feed. We can see their online activity, such as page views, likes, comments, and wall posts, along with some basic demographic information.
Interactions are the direct interactions that people have with our page. We will be able to see the number of impressions that have been made for each message and the amount of feedback that each one received.
Most of the information on this page is relatively self-explanatory if we have used Facebook for any period of time. The trick to Facebook Insights isn’t in the numbers, but what we do with them.
We can view basic demographic data about our audience in the Users Insights for our page. This will tell us the aggregate age and sex of our readership. We should definitely be aware of this data, but we need to tread carefully. It would be unwise to use this information to make major marketing decisions. One area where this data can come in really handy is in choosing demographics for our Facebook Ad campaigns.
External references are also found under the User Insights of our page. This data will tells us the websites that people are using to get to our page. Ideally, the top result should be our own company website. More times than not, Google will also be on the list, making a strong case for using Facebook for SEO data. Pay attention to the sites that our fans are using to find us, and see if we can improve how people get to our page.
Again, under the User Insights area we can see what tabs our viewers are visiting. There are definitely some good details that we can glean from here. The main question that we want to answer with this data is what are people doing on our Facebook page, and subsequently, are they getting to the information that we need them to? Make note of what fans are spending the most time on, and adjust the app icons on our Timeline to accommodate their preferences.
User Insights can also tell us what type of media our viewers are consuming. Media will cover Video, Audio and Photos. With this data, we will be able to see how effective different types media have been on our page. This will help us refine our content for our audience.
On the Interactions tab, we are able to view stats for each of the individual messages that we post to Facebook. This is one of the most powerful areas of Insights, because we are able to specifically and clearly see the success and failure of different kinds of content. We should also be able to see is how many more impressions our messages get when they are shared. Often, each reader interaction will add a 50 percent or so increase to overall impressions. Pay attention to the types of messages that performed the best. What can we learn from them and what can we use from them to better serve our audience?
Activity from a campaign
Insights data is invaluable if we are running a marketing campaign where Facebook is involved. For example, if we are running a contest where one of the requirements is to ‘like’ our Facebook page, then we should be seeing a direct correlation in the number of likes that our page is getting. Insights are probably the most powerful way to see if our Facebook page is serving its purpose and being a workhorse for our brand.
While it is disheartening to have people unlike or unsubscribe from our page, it is worth paying attention to, to some extent. If people are leaving, why, and what can we do differently to alleviate the problem? Is there a correlation between a post we created and several unsubscribe events?
Domain Insights are connected to our actual website. These have the ability to track statistics about our actual domain name. This is a very powerful feature, particularly, if we are blogging or have a lot of content on our website for users to share.
What does Domain Insights track?
Domain Insights will track any content from our website URL that has been shared on Facebook. If our website doesn’t make it easy to share our stories or pages on Facebook, then there may be little data to see. Understanding how it works is still important. We will be talking a little later about how we should be integrating Facebook with our website.
How to setup Domain Insights tracking?
Most Facebook users are unaware the Domain Insights option exists, but it is not difficult to set up.
2. Click the green ‘Insights for your Domain’ in the top right corner.
3. You will be asked to provide the domain name of your website and the Facebook user account that you want to own the Domain Insights. It doesn’t really matter which user you select. This option only controls the permissions of who can actually see the statistics.
4. Once you have added this information, Facebook will provide you with a small snippet of meta code. You will need to put this in the portion of all the pages on your website. You may need your web developer to do this for you.
What you can learn from Domain Insights tracking?
Domain Insights give us a picture of how people are sharing our website on Facebook. With the private nature of Facebook, this is information that we wouldn’t think we’d get to see. While we still won’t be able to see individual sharing and comments, we can at least see what type of posts people are choosing to share with their friends.
There are several good uses of this data. We can get a better idea of what type of content people want, and we can directly track sharing activity once we have made changes to our website or started a new promotion.
One of the best features in Domain Insights is its ability to display feedback per share. This essentially tracks the amount of feedback that shares from our website received. In the image above we can see that 95 percent of the shares directly from a website generated user feedback. This means that the share was not only shared by one person but then carried over to their friend’s news feed. This is pretty powerful stuff.
Domain Insights will also provide us with some demographic information, but this information is specifically related to the person that shared our content in the first place. This is very important data because it not only tells us who is paying attention to our content, but who is sharing it. These are the types of people that we want to be targeting because they are not just reading, they are also engaged with our content.
The Value Of Insights
Overall, Insights can be very valuable once we start getting some good traffic to and from our Facebook page, but we should be careful to not become to fixated on them. They are not something that we want to be looking at each and every day. Statistics aren’t worth obsessing over, and are best used for tracking specific goals and seeing what we can keep doing, stop doing or just do better.
10 Ways To Get More Fans To Your Facebook Page
A Facebook page without fans is a pretty lonely affair, and isn’t going to do much for our brand-building efforts. If there’s anything a Facebook page needs, it’s fans. That’s easy enough to understand. The question is, how do we go about getting them? If we build it, will they come?
10 Ways To Fandom
There are 10 great ways to get more fans to our Facebook page, ranging from the small and simple to the big but practical. Using these techniques can help turn that lonely page into an active social spot.
1. Invite Your Friends
Once our page is up and running we will want to suggest that all of our personal Facebook friends become fans of our page. This seems obvious, but many page owners don’t want to do it. While most of our Facebook friends are happy to like our page, we sometimes don’t want to abuse our friend list and think that this simple request falls into that category.
All we’re doing is asking, not forcing. We can even ask employees and coworkers to do the same thing. Collectively we should be able to get a few hundred fans without too much effort. Our own fans can also easily share our page by simply clicking on the settings tool beneath our Cover Photo, selecting ‘Share’, and sharing our page to their own Timeline.
2. Import Your Email Contacts
Facebook will automatically send an invitation email to everyone on in our contacts or our email lists, but in order to do this, we’ll need to go to our Admin Panel, select Build Audience, and choose “Invite Email Contacts.” If we don’t see the contact list option that we want, we can also upload a file of our contacts. Facebook provides us with instructions on how to prepare this file in the “Invite Email Contacts” window.
Again, we aren’t forcing anyone to like our page. We’re merely letting our friends and contacts know that we have a page and that it is something they might be interested in.
3. Use Outlying Promotional Avenues
Many of us have a business that already sends out promotional materials. Adding our Facebook content to those materials makes sense. Links to our Facebook page should also be on all of our email newsletters, our website, and possibly even in our email signature. It’s surprising how many people will follow through and like our page if the links to doing so are made easily available.
Anytime we make things easier for people, they are more likely to click and follow through. Providing our customers with every easy opportunity to find and like us on Facebook is good practice.
4. Ask People To Tag Themselves In Photos
If we have photos that showcase an event or group activity, we can ask attendees to tag themselves in the photos. Every time they tag themselves, our photo ends up in their news feed and in their photo gallery. Since browsing photos is one of the top activities for Facebook users, this is a great way for our brand to be featured.
5. Get Involved In The Conversation
As our brand, we can get involved and leave comments on other pages. Making as many written connections and participating in as many conversations as possible (logged in as our brand) is vital to establishing a presence on Facebook. Pay attention to the things business or groups in our geographic location are talking about, as well as those in our industry, and participate in that conversation. We will automatically create links to our page this way, and we’ll build more traffic as well as show our expertise in the industry.
6. Post Regularly
Posting regular new content is extremely important. Just like on our blog, we need regular content, and a good mix of it. We need to be visible at least several times per week, if not every day. The more we have an update present in a fan’s news feed, the more likely it is our page will be shared and discovered by others.
Most people start enthusiastically, but lose interest in their page after a few months. Don’t let this happen! A page that seldom has new content is forgotten quickly on Facebook. Remember how important it is to be in our fan’s news feed, and how often content cycles through — we must post often.
7. Post Content That People Will Share
One of the beautiful things about Facebook marketing is the ability it gives our fans to easily share our messages with their friends. Just by commenting on or liking one of our status updates, they are automatically sharing our post with all of their Facebook friends. This creates great link traffic.
We will need to have an engaged audience to do this, and things like fun questions and tongue-in-cheek updates can go a long way in promoting content that our fans want to interact with. Making our content valuable (see number 9) or fun is exactly what keeps our fans coming back.
8. Give People An Incentive
Giving our fans an incentive for staying active with our page is how loyal and engaged fans are made. Exclusive Facebook content or special deals can be a catalyst in creating new fans. We need to ask ourselves how our fans benefit, and determine how they would benefit. What’s in it for them? By answering this question, we’ll come up with some great ideas and build Facebook traffic.
To create an offer, navigate to where we’d create a status update. Click on “Offer, Event+”, and then select “Offer.” Here, we can add the details, terms, and date we would like the offer to last until. Offers are free to create, and as an admin, we have complete control over how long they run. Facebook provides Page admins some best practices when using this Offer feature, so be sure to check out what they have to say about this relatively new feature, which started rolling out to Pages at the end of May 2012.
9. Provide Valuable Content
Speaking of what’s in it for them, how valuable is our Facebook content? Is our page filled with the same ads and promo-speak that plagues traditional marketing?
If we use Facebook not as a way to connect, but to force our brand’s message on people, it won’t work. Fans won’t become fans of glorified advertising. Facebook users want to connect, they want to learn, they want to laugh, and they want to be able to share something unique or interesting with their own Facebook friends. If we are able to create exactly that kind of content, our fans will help spread our message.
To do this, we need to think of new way to talk about — and as — our brand. We need to let our fans know we are trying to help them, and not trying to sell to them.
10. Use Facebook Content Types
Facebook has provided a number of features that can help us highlight and funnel fan attention to specific content on our page. When we share content on our page, we can select from four types: Status, Photo, Ask Question, Milestone. We also have the option of pinning a post to the top, or highlighting a post. All of these show our content in the best light in different ways
Pinning a post to the top keeps a post on the top of our page for a week. Highlighting a post gives it more real estate across the entire timeline. A milestone allows us to let our fans know the specifics of an important event for our brand.
The opportunity to ask a question, however, is a bit different. When we select “Ask Question”, we create a very simple and direct form of content that asks our fans to participate. It’s a great way to get fans involved and get the activity to show up on their pages and news feeds. People like polls. Everyone wants to give their opinion, and a brand that actually asks them to do just that is one they will probably find themselves liking.
In Order To Share, It Must Be Shareable
The best rule of thumb to consider, in the moments where we don’t remember all ten of these tips, is to ask ourselves this question: Is this something I would share on my own profile?
Think of the things we share on our own, and create that kind of content for our brand. We are fans of other brand’s pages, after all, and so we know exactly what it’s like to be a fan and on the receiving end of content. Consider what works and what doesn’t, and build content around what works.
Using Exclusivity To Improve Your Facebook Following
Exclusivity and scarcity are not new tactics in marketing. Infomercials have had this figured out for ages.
“Call now, to take advantage of this limited time offer.” Or, “Call in the next five minutes to take advantage of this exclusive offer. Quantities are limited.” It seems ridiculous as we watch these infomercials — how could anyone buy this product?
Let’s think about that infomercial.
The brand has no idea that their commercial just ran, and so it is very unlikely that they are timing our response. It is also highly unlikely that only a handful of items were manufactured and then all that money was spent on an infomercial to sell just a handful. Think of that auction — people competing with each other over questionably valuable items inflates the price.
Like an auction, pressuring people to make a decision on a sale where competition with other customers is involved often forces their hand. We don’t want to miss out on being included, we don’t want to miss out on the deal. So, despite the value of the product, the competitive method of selling it works. If it didn’t work, marketers wouldn’t continue to use it. Infomercials are all about driving sales above all else. It is worth our time to understand what makes them work so well.
Somehow those infomercial ads always make us feel like we are going to become a part of an exclusive club when we make a purchase. We could be lucky enough to get in on the deal, and get one of the few products that are left!
Exclusivity works because at its root, it is emotional. We are emotionally tied to our own worries. We worry about missing out on something great, or we worry about being stupid for not taking action. We worry about hearing others tell us how they got a great deal and feeling stupid that we didn’t make use of the opportunity when we could. We all suffer from some sort of confidence issue kind of selling speaks directly to that soft spot.
When we feel as if we are going to be a part of something great, or limited, we are, emotionally, far more likely to take action.
Brian Clark of Copyblogger says that “opportunities of all kinds seem more valuable to us when they are less available.” Scarcity drives value. Basically, the fewer we have, the more they want it. This is one that definitely doesn’t come naturally.
Scarcity is not something that we normally aim for when selling products. If someone wants to buy it, then we want to sell it. We would be crazy to limit sales, right? Well, no actually. By setting limits, we add urgency and urgency drives sales. Again, this is going to the emotional essence of our purchasing decisions. This time we are worried about never having the same opportunity again.
58% of US Facebook users expect to gain access to exclusive content, events, or sales, and expect to receive discounts or promotions. -- HubSpot Blog
Examples of Exclusivity and Scarcity
Here, are a few places, aside from infomercials where we see these elements at play.
• Magazine Subscriptions: Exclusive content that you only get if you subscribe.
• Numbered Art Prints: Both exclusivity and scarcity are at play here.
• Sales Flyers: Sales end eventuality. Scarcity makes this work.
• Email Marketing: Exclusive offers or information to subscribers only.
• Pre-Orders: The promise of being one of the first to receive something is actually selling exclusivity.
Using Competitive Selling With Facebook
Selling our brand and getting more fans to our Facebook page involves giving them this sense of scarcity and exclusivity. It provides value, and provides an emotional answer to the question of “what’s in it for them?” Creating exclusivity on Facebook isn’t impossible.
Facebook As A Membership
Subscriptions and memberships are excellent examples of exclusivity. They work because they provide something that we won’t get anywhere else. Our Facebook page can seem like a membership if we treat our Facebook fans as special, privileged, customers.
For a great example of a Facebook ‘membership,’ we can look to a local restaurant in my town. Every week there is one night dedicated to Facebook fans. If you are a member of the Facebook page, you are invited to come in for a drink special. In the restaurant, only Facebook fans are entitled to the offer. Not only did this provide a great reason to like the page, but it created an engaged community that took its discussion to the restaurant and to the Facebook page. Here, we see Facebook fans turn into dollars every single week.
Treating our Facebook fans as special, whether through deals or by paying particular attention to them through conversation and interaction, will help them feel like they are a member of an exclusive community. This exclusivity can also become a catalyst for them sharing the “membership” with their friends.
Limited Time Offers
The concept of scarcity will work on Facebook, too.
For example, what if we developed an exclusive sales package and only sold three of them through Facebook? This could be cleverly disguised as a ‘thank-you’ gift to trustworthy Facebook fans. Providing a significant discount probably wouldn’t even be necessary. The scarcity and exclusivity of the package alone would be enough to convert. In the end, we probably could have sold four, but choose not to. The intentional limits will pay off more than the extra sale.
Announce Things Early
Have a big announcement?
Let our Facebook fans in on it a few days early, and tell them that we are doing so. This is an excellent way to create a little buzz, get some shares, and create engaged readers. Maybe just dropping a few clever hints in the days leading up to an announcement, or posting pictures of some new, unreleased, merchandise will whet appetites.
By letting our fans in on our little secrets, we create engaged — and curious! — readers, and those are the types of readers that tell their friends.
Think Of Fans As Close Friends
In marketing we are used to talking to the generic masses, so when we write we tend to use a professional, yet distant, voice.
Don’t do this on Facebook.
Be personal and imagine we are talking to a group of close friends. Some brands even use a special name for their audience. This works wonderfully, because it allows us to refer to them directly. Saying”Hey sisters!” is a whole lot better than “Hey everybody” if we’ve established that name for our fans and they know we’re talking to just them when we use it. We will need to be creative, but if it catches on, it will work well.
Make The Page Inviting
Invitation-only parties are exciting, partly because we know we got in and others didn’t.
We can’t make our Facebook page exclusive (nor do we really want to), but what if we asked our fans to invite their friends and give them a compelling reason to do so? Asking them to invite friends rather than share with friends is a simple way to create an atmosphere of exclusivity. Of course, we will need to pad this invitation with some real value — perhaps a free download, or something else that is tangible — but it will pay off in the end.
Your Business, Your Method
Every business is different, so obviously we will need to spend some time figuring out which methods work best for our brand. Do make this a priority, however. While this kind of marketing may seem tacky at first, possibly veering towards an obnoxious infomercial, it truly is marketing that works. It is time-tested, and salesman-approved.
“Trust me, this opportunity won’t last forever. You need to do this now, or you will lose your chance at this exclusive marketing opportunity. Potential Facebook fans are standing by.”
Marketing Like A Pro
How To Put Your Business On The Map With Facebook Places
Facebook announced Facebook Places in mid-2010, but some businesses haven’t taken notice. Even though this feature has been around for awhile, too many businesses who could benefit from it are still dragging their feet and don’t realize the importance of claiming their place on Facebook.
No more dragging. Facebook users want to check in and so businesses shouldn’t check out.
Facebook Places, Explained
Facebook places does a few things that should matter to businesses, particularly those with a “brick-and-mortar” location.
• Map. Facebook places allows us to ‘claim our place’ of business and attach a map of our location to our fan page.
• Demographic Information. Every time a customer checks into our business, their interaction is documented on our Facebook page.
• Promotions. Check-in options allow us to give our customers a special coupon once they have checked into our location.
• Free Publicity. When our customers check in, our business becomes featured on their personal profile page and shared with all of their friends.
It’s a combination of Google Maps, Facebook, a coupon book, and PR. That’s a great combination.
Staking Our Claim
This is surely the most important portion of this lesson, and for most businesses, is something to be done immediately. This is especially true if we are a business with a lot of foot traffic, such as a retail store or a restaurant. The only hold-up is that use of a mobile device (smartphone or iPod) may be required.
1. Check to see if your place has been created
Facebook only adds a new place to the system when a user checks into it using their mobile device. So, the first thing we will want to do is see if anyone has created our place. To do this, search for our business name on Facebook. If your place has already been created, it should show up.
2. Create your place
If our place isn’t already in the system, we will need to check into our own place using the mobile Facebook app. This will require a visit to the physical location of the businesses to check-in with our smartphone. Read below for instructions on how to do this. Once our place is created, do a search for our business as described in step 1. We should now see our location in the system.
3. Claim your place
To claim our place, we will need to complete a verification process through Facebook. The first step is to click the ‘Is this your business?’ link on the places page. Facebook will ask you to verify that you are the owner of that place and then use a phone verification process to confirm.
3. Merge your place and your fan page
The final step will be to merge our Facebook brand page with our place listing. Once we have claimed our place, we will want to click the link in the left navigation menu marked “Merge with existing Page.” Now our places information will be added to our current fan page.
Checking into places
What happens when a Facebook user checks into our place, and what does it look like on their profile? Let’s use a restaurant that is a local favorite as our example.
1. Finding places
Using an iPod Touch, we click the ‘check in’ button on the Facebook mobile app. The Facebook app will then automatically find all of the possible check ins that we am currently near.
2. Choose a place.
Once we choose a place to check into, we will be allowed to add a comment or status update.
3. And there you have it
The check-in will appear on our customer’s page as a story, and the most recent check-in can also can be seen in the maps icon right below their cover photo. This is prime real estate on their profile, and we didn’t have to do a thing to get that spot. Their check in is also included in the news feed of their friends.
Why should you care?
Places create just one more way for our fans and customers to like and share our page with their friends. It is also a great way to offer them incentives. Once our place and our page are connected, we can set up promotions easily. In the Admin panel, click on Manage and then Edit Page from the drop-down menu. The Deals tab will be available on the left.
When used in combination, Places and Deals offer an extremely powerful marketing tool. Once a customer checks in they can immediately be presented with a coupon.
As business owners, we are able to set special deals for individuals and groups, and even control how often they can be redeemed. What a great way to say thank you to the customers that promote us across Facebook, and a great way to provide incentives to our customers to check in often.
Consider allowing customers to redeem the coupon as often as they would like. The little bit of expense is probably worth the extra attention we will be drawing on Facebook. Remember, each status update counts for something!
Important Tips For Using Paid Facebook Adverting
Facebook has an excellent paid advertising platform that we can leverage to get more traffic and more fans to our Facebook page and, most importantly, our website. Facebook’s platform is relatively inexpensive and also comes with the advantage of being highly targeted. We have a lot of control over the age, demographic and even interests of the people that will see our ad.
In this lesson, we will be pulling apart the ad creation process and outlining some valuable tips and strategies to maximize our success. For a more step-by-step guide see.
Identify a clear goal
The first thing we need to determine when advertising on Facebook is what our goal will be. This goal determines each decision we make when setting up our ad. Our goal might resemble the following:
• Get more fans to our Facebook page.
• Send users to our companies website or an other outside landing page.
• Promote a Facebook event.
• Promote fan activity on our wall.
These goals are fairly general. Ideally, a goal would be more specific. For example, here at Todaymade we might use the following:
We would like to get more people registered for our Mastering Facebook Marketing for Business email course. To do this, we will send users to a custom landing page on our company website.
Choose your destination wisely
Once we know our goal, we will be able to determine where we will be sending people who interact with our ad. Our options include our Facebook page, place, or event, or an external link such as our company’s website. As often as we can, send ad viewers to a specific landing page where there is a strong call to action. Give them every easy opportunity to do what we want them to do.
Facebook Ads vs. Sponsored Stories
Facebook has two different types of ads: a more traditional ad, and something called Sponsored Stories. We want to make sure we choose the right one for our goal.
Facebook Ads are the most basic Facebook ads that show up in the right-hand column of a user’s page. This type of ad is probably what most businesses will want to use, and the easiest to envision.
Sponsored Stories are relatively new to Facebook and provide something very different but also very powerful. We discussed these in our lesson on the News Feed. The major goal on Facebook is getting our wall messages liked or commented on by our audience. Sponsored story ads take advantage of this sharing by giving us additional exposure when this happens. It can be easy for people to ignore these interactions in their news feed, but Sponsored Stories provides a more natural and “organic” way of gently keeping our content in play on a News Feed. Overall, this type of Facebook advertising is fairly advanced, but potentially very powerful if we already have good conversation happening.
Be specific with your targeting
This is one of the most important aspects of advertising on Facebook and probably where we will need to get the most creative.
We want to be as focused as possible on a key demographic that we think will be likely to take action on our ad. Often times we waste considerable time and money trying to reach a demographic that is too broad. It is important to remember that this step is really what separates traditional advertising from online advertising. With online advertising, we have the ability to target very specific groups of people and track our results.
Choose strategic likes and interests
In addition to geographic and age demographics, we can also target users by specific things that they are interested in. This can be an excellent way to limit the viewing of your ads to a key audience. The best way to approach this is by asking ourselves what interests and skills our customers have in common.
For example, if we run a gardening shop we definitely want to target people that like gardening. Some additional terms that we might want to consider would be trees, planting, vegetables, growing and then something a bit more broad, like ‘outdoors.’
Facebook makes it easy to add and remove likes and interests and will give us a good approximation of our potential reach. We will want to make sure that this number is worth advertising to, neither too small nor too large. The proper number will be different for each location and business type.
Know your goal, and don’t get greedy
There are plenty of additional options for narrowing down our audience, such as marital status and college level. These can all be useful for the right industry. Use them wisely, and don’t be afraid to limit your reach. Our goal isn’t to reach the most amount of people, but rather, reach the people that are most likely to buy our product. If we allow ourselves to be greedy and attempt to reach too many people we decrease the effectiveness of our ad, and ultimately, or results. It’s hard to break the mindset of traditional advertising, where the bigger the audience the better, but on Facebook, we must.
Facebook, again, gives us a multitude of options for pricing and running our Facebook ad. For example, we can limit the amount of advertising we do based on a daily budget, which is a great feature. The thing that we need to remember here is that we want to start slowly. If we jump in too quickly, we could potentially waste a lot of time and money.
When starting, keeping our demographic focused and our budget low is the best practice, gradually expanding our reach and our budget. This way we will be more likely to understand what works, stay within budget, and maximize results.
Consider A/B testing
At Todaymade we rarely run a single ad at a time. We find that it works much better to create several ads and then monitor them closely to see which ones performe best. This method is great at testing different headlines, images, or even demographics. The key to successful A/B testing is to make sure we have a measurable difference. If one ad is performing better than another, we need to be able to identify why. A good method is to create identical ads excluding one small difference. Once we know the better of the two, eliminate the lower performing option and begin testing another comparison.
Watch your results closely
Daily monitoring is required when advertising on Facebook. If we are planning to set-it and forget-it, then we shouldn’t expect great results. Online advertising allows us to make subtle and quick adjustments that can dramatically change our ad’s performance. The closer we watch, the less likely we are to waste money and the more likely we are to accomplish our goals.
How To Make Your Website And Facebook Work Together For Marketing Brilliance
Our Facebook page needs to fit into the overall strategy of our online marketing. It is likely that such a strategy includes a website for our company, organization, or product. A website is a fairly obvious and necessary part of an online plan. However, have we stopped to ask ourselves how that website reflect our social media marketing?
Incorporating Facebook into our website and our website into Facebook isn’t difficult, but it is necessary. There are certain things that our website does better than Facebook, just like there are certain things that Facebook does better than our website. The best way to make the two work together is to leverage both of their strengths.
Each Has Strengths
Facebook is great at collecting and displaying comments and conversation, so we should try to mention our Facebook page frequently on our website. An even better idea is to find creative ways to send traffic and discussion back to our Facebook page. For example, we could send people to our Facebook page to submit feedback, leave a personal comment, or answer a question about themselves.
Sharing recent blog (or other) content on our Facebook page by posting a story on the Timeline is the most obvious way to connect our website to our Facebook page. Remember, not everyone is using our RSS feed or visiting our site each day, but they do hop on Facebook regularly. For many, their Facebook news feed is their RSS reader. We definitely want to use it to let everyone know when we have new content on our website. Plus, we want to make it easy for our fans to share our website’s content.
Bring Facebook To Your Website
Facebook can be effectively integrated into a website in several different ways. We can do more than just provide a link to our Facebook page by using a few simple tools.
Facebook that link from our website back to Facebook. For a Facebook page, we can choose a like badge, or a page badge. We can customize the look of our page badge to some degree, since Facebook offers us a few different options depending on how we want to use the badge and what we want included in it. The badge offers a visual link to our Facebook page, and with the added information, provides incentive for website visitors to click through to our page.
Tip: Use an icon search engine like iconfinder.net to find a more unique Facebook icon like we did. Hooray!
Facebook Like Box
A Facebook Like Box is a very powerful way to incorporate our Facebook page into our website. We often see these like boxes in the sidebars of other websites. Like boxes can be included through the use of a small snippet of code generated by Facebook; this code can be found here.
The data in Like boxes is collected direclty from our Facebook page, and can include a ‘like’ button and a listing of our latest posts and fans. An additional, simpler, example of this feature is on our Todaymade blog. Here, every post has a Like button in the footer. This is a simple tool that we have used to drive more likes to our Facebook page.
Any page on our website can have a button that will allow our readers to like that page.
When our readers choose to click ‘like’, their comments, and a link to our page, is automatically posted on their Facebook wall. This means all of their friends will be exposed to our link. To generate these buttons, Facebook provides us with a . This is an especially important step if we have a blog. Each and every post on our blog should allow users quick access to sharing. Making it easy to share, in one click, makes it more likely that our content will get shared.
We are aware that Facebook posts on our Facebook page have comments. Facebook also allows us to add comments to any page on our website. We will want to choose where we use this feature wisely, but the possibilities from its use are obvious: every comment will have the option of being included in our reader’s personal Facebook news feed. This makes Facebook comments very powerful, and also allows us to add a unique social element to our website with little development time.
Bring Your Website To Facebook
Making our website and Facebook page work together takes more than just a few Facebook buttons on our website. Facebook provides us with a few options for bringing our website content into our Facebook page. With the change to Timeline for pages, Facebook has limited the ease and options available for bringing our website into our page.
Post A Story
We can post individual links from our website on Facebook, providing some introductory copy with the link.
Optimizing our website so that a link is shared properly on Facebook is crucial. We want to make sure that Facebook shares the right image with our post. We want the description to make sense. Facebook provides us with a tool that tells us about the link in question, including which image will be shared. By inputting the URL on this page, we can learn how Facebook sees our page and determine what changes we need to make on our website, if any, so that the content we share on Facebook is something our fans will want to share with their friends.
Import A Feed
Facebook used to allow users to import an RSS feed into their Facebook Notes. However, this service was discontinued. In the new Timeline, Facebook provides a location for apps, located beneath the cover photo. There are to choose from for profiles, but for pages, importing an RSS feed requires finding an outside provider such as . Right now, Facebook isn’t making it easy for pages to bring their website RSS feed into Facebook, though they do offer a Wordpress plugin to help in publishing blog content to pages.
While Facebook currently seems to natively limit things like RSS feeds, using outside apps allows us to include our website content in Facebook. We can find apps that will bring in our YouTube content, Flickr, Picasa, and many of the other other social media networks we use. To find these apps, use the search bar at the top of the Facebook screen.
Making sure our website is linked from our Facebook page is the most basic thing we can do. Be sure that we are linking to our website from our About page. The About page is easy to find with Timeline, a link to it showing up right beneath our Profile Image. It’s important that we include all the necessary information for our brand so that fans can easily contact or find us.
Why Your Facebook Page Isn't Your Social Media Strategy
Up to now, this course has focused on what Facebook is — an important part of our social media strategy — and how to use it. We have covered topics that address using Facebook to help maximize our brand’s presence.
Now it’s time to talk about what Facebook isn’t.
Facebook isn’t our entire social media strategy. It isn’t the solution or the final say in a complete package.Facebook is a great platform for reaching our marketing audience, but it is just one part of what should be a carefully considered social media plan.
Define Your Strategy
Facebook is a social network. This means that it is very good at connecting people to people, an online version of friendship. What we’re talking about in this lesson is social media, the larger animal that is made up of the different kinds of social networks. Social media is the entire conversation that is taking place online.
We talked about how we can incorporate our Facebook presence into our website, but we might want to consider additional elements to our larger social media plan. We want our online strategy to be solid.
If we’re already publishing to Facebook, we should also open a Twitter account and publish the same thing there. Twitter has its pros and cons as a marketing channel, but should still be kept in the running for our social media plan.
Another channel: Everyone has their preference for reading and receiving information online. Some prefer Facebook and others prefer Twitter. For this reason, it is worth serving both audiences.
Great SEO Potential: Facebook can help you with SEO, and in some ways, Twitter is even better. Twitter is very well-indexed by Google and can help your ranking if you consistently connect it back to your website.
Low Pressure: Facebook and Twitter are both passive reading platforms. This means that users read some of the messages, but not all. Basically, there is almost nothing negative that can come from sending out a few tweets. If you are using a social media inbox like , doing this is even easier.
Email marketing is still a very powerful force and should be a part of a well-rounded strategy. There are advantages to this type of marketing, and it is far from dead.
In many ways, we have used our own Todaymade Facebook presence to simply drive traffic to our website and our email list. Overall, it has been an effective tool for these goals. We like this method because email is far more likely to turn into an actual sale.
The Internet is filled with blog posts about why blogging is dead, which is a bit ironic. Blogging is not dead. Blogging is still a very important part of online marketing and one with the most long-term impact. We regularly talk about blogging on the Todaymade blog for good reason: it creates the content and the trust and expertise that we base our social media efforts on.
When executed properly, a good blog is the cornerstone of a social media strategy. There are nearly an unlimited number of SEO advantages to blogging.
It’s always a mistake if we think of social media as a way to publish our marketing message. In some cases it is just that, but what we need to realize is that it works even better as a platform for engaging with others. There are so many blogs (and readers) that are filled to the brim with discussions about our industry. Why wouldn’t we engage them?
Participating in user forums and on other blogs is a huge part of social media success. It isn’t enough to just publish; true conversation and engagement isn’t one-sided. Social management tools like TodayLaunch, our own software, is meant to address this need for two-sided conversation.
The Big Picture
The most important thing to realize about social media is that it is changing very quickly, always. The Internet is littered with ‘how-to’ posts and instructive guides that are outdated almost as fast as they can be published.
Even worse, only a fraction of businesses have even started developing a social media marketing plan. The sooner we start, the better off of we are. Social media takes time and patience; that conversation and engagement don’t happen overnight. If we can get our business ahead of the curve, we are significantly improving our chance for success.
We don’t really know what the next big things is, and we probably don’t always want to be chasing it. Being everywhere is really the only safe strategy.
A Case For Websites
There is a growing voice out there around the idea of abandoning websites in favor of a Facebook presence. This is a terrible idea. As we have discussed in this course, Facebook has a lot to offer a brand, but it certainly isn’t everything. While our Facebook audience can be tremendously beneficial, we will always be at the mercy of Facebook. The change and dictate what we can and cannot do so rapidly that there is no guarantee that what looks like it will work today will still be available tomorrow.
With a website, we maintain control over our data and our community. The best policy is to find a way to make it all work together. Leverage each marketing avenue for it strengths, but ultimately plan on bringing the attention and audience to our own front door, our website.