Tuesday, March 20, 2012

TUESDAY TIP Facebook Timeline Ready? Set? Gotta Go "Like" it! #howto #pubtip

Starting in about 10 days, your Facebook Profile and/or Brand Page will be switched over to the Facebook Timeline format--whether you like (or "Like") Timeline or not! You're going to be given 7 days to modify it before the public sees it and there are a few steps you can take to get ready and make it less painful.

Timeline's a bit disorienting when you're used to the old newsfeed format so you may want to take this next week-long grace period to get used to it. Click through the jump-break to get started with a basic fly-through the new features.

Introducing Timeline
In case you deleted the email or it got filtered to your SPAM folder, here's the link to the Timeline tour that Facebook mailed out to all of its users. Click through to get an overview of the features (including a video tour) and to see how the new features will get laid out in a sample Timeline profile.

Timeline Cover App - If you don't have a photo of your own to use, you can install the Timeline Cover App and use one of the stock photos. You must have Timeline enabled first, though. To use one of your own, just resize it to a square shape, about 400px wide by 500px high. Facebook will stretch/resize the photo so if you make it a pano, it'll end up extra-stretched. Just use a square-ish photo and let FB do it's sizing thing.

Profile Avi - You still get a profile avatar just like you always used to but now that avatar pic is going to be placed overlapping your cover (in the little square at the bottom left). The Profile avi (not your cover photo) will be used around the site when you post, just like "normal."

Timeline for Brand Pages
You have a few options Personal Profiles don't. Yay!

Over on the right side of the top of your new Timeline'd Page is the "new and improved" Admin Panel which, actually, is pretty improved over the old Insights, to be honest. You can still get to the old-style text menu for editing options on your Page (including the old "Insights") by using the "Manage" pulldown menu (see (1) in photo below):

To make the Admin Panel go away, you can click the "Hide" button (see (2) in the above photo). Basically, this will collapse the Admin Panel and skip you down to the Cover Photo that your fans see.

Other helpful new buttons in the Admin Panel include the "Build Audience" pulldown menu to blast your friends and email contacts with an invite to "Like" your Page. Under "Help" you'll find some new help pages for learning how to really use a Page to build a brand (instead of using a Page like a Profile that cannot send messages or make friends--the old style of Page). But I've saved the best new feature for last: Messages!

Messages for Pages
Yes! Now your fans can Message you as your Page (not you, as your personal Profile). This is a big change and was a major issue for a lot of us Page owners who wanted to have a separation between our business presence on Facebook and our personal life there.

Now, fans of a Page see a button right below the Cover Photo (conveniently right next to the "Like" button). When clicked, this pops up a pre-addressed Facebook Message window. There is no way that I know of (or have found yet) to create a message for a Page other than by clicking the "Message" button on the Page, itself.

When the message is sent, the Page Admin will see it displayed in the Admin Panel (see (3) in the photo above), so you'll be sure to know when your fans are talking to you. It will not show up in your personal Profile's list of messages. If you have more than one Admin for your Page, all Admins will see the Message list (at (3) in the photo above) and all Admins will be able to respond to fan Messages.

This is great news for encouraging community-building through Facebook Pages. And it's about frakkin time! :-)

My new Page for the Banbha Series (my first Romantic Suspense series coming out later this year) could use some new fans. If you like clicking buttons, go ahead and "Like" the Page then click "Message" (see arrow in photo above) to send a message to the Banbha Series.

I haven't yet figured out how this works in reverse--how a Page can message its fans--other than hitting Reply through an existing thread, but when I get it figured out, you can bet I'll blog here on another Tuesday Tip!

Building Page History
The last thing you'll need to do before your Page goes public is set up its history. For instance, I created the stories in the Banbha Series a number of years ago, so I created what's called a "Milestone" dated 2003 for when I created the series, back when I lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (see photo below)

You can create "Milestones" dated at any time in history back to ...I think Facebook cuts you off in 2001, go figure. Your Milestones can be created all at once or on the fly when you think of them but it's probably best to populate your Timeline before your Page goes public. You can also change the visibility of "Milestones" to make them publicly viewable or hidden from the News Feed, but there's really no point to creating a "Milestone" unless you're making it public ((GGG))

To create a "Milestone" on the fly, enter it just like a status post. The status entry box for Pages also now has a way to post Polls on the fly (click "Ask a Question" to create one on the fly). All in all, your Page's Timeline can have a lot more content and most-importantly, the content can be informative and useful--at last!

Is there anything else you wanted to know about Facebook Pages that I haven't covered yet? Ask in the comments here on the blog or over on the Webbiegrrl Facebook Page and I'll try to answer, either right away or in another Tuesday Tip if the answer requires research and pictures to illustrate ^)^

What's Next....
Next week's Monday Marketing on Positioning will discuss the power of a product's name and how to reposition your competition through the selection of your product's name. For us, that translates to the selection of a book's title--and a more a propos discussion couldn't be had, eh? Hope to see you then!


zafar said...

Great Post, I love the way you have describes things. Waiting for new updates.I wana share that I run a site where you can get google +1 votes; do visit my site as i also write my blog.

Webbiegrrl Writer said...

Thanks zafar, I'm glad you enjoyed the article, though I suspect your comment was more of a way for you to post a spammy link to your site.

Which, btw, is a broken link. Please don't post links directing my readers off my site for no other reason than to drive traffic to your site. That's not very nice (or polite). But thank you for stopping by and I hope you actually DID read the article. I try to help.