I’m sure you’ve noticed the big change over the weekend. As of March 30, Facebook has ported all of it’s pages into the new Timeline design, including business pages. While there are plenty of people who aren’t happy about the change, those who are business minded know how to accept, and most importantly, adapt to change. Properly used, Timeline has been shown to increase engagement by 46% on average. What does it mean for your business?
Unlike the old Facebook pages which took up to 2 days to provide insights and analytics, Timeline’s tools provide information within 5-10 minutes. New or enhanced metrics include virality, people talking about engagement, friends of friends and reach. What this does is give businesses the ability to monitor the popularity of their posts, the influence of their page, how far their posts are travelling, and even allows for adjustments to be made immediately. Tracking virality (the percentage of people who saw the page and “talked about it”) is now easy to do, which can help sellers tap into what’s being discussed amongst their fanbase and post accordingly.
Content, content, content
What is the most effective way to drive traffic to a storefront? Fresh content. Sure, it takes more work than the old Facebook Fanpages since Timeline encourages sellers to post new content frequently, but creating a daily posting plan rich with opportunities for customers to interact, through polls or thoughtful updates which engage the customer to participate in a discussion, will help businesses increase exposure.
Commonly known advertising tenants tell us that one of the best way to reach customers is through visual imagery (pictures and videos). With fully customizable features, like the 850 x 315 pixel cover, and 111 x 74 pixel picture icon (located just below the cover), businesses can focus on expressing their core brand message. Profile information has been moved from the left of page to the front and center, and have gained 310 pixels, which businesses can use to display more products or larger images in the most visually optimal spots on the page.
The real message here is that, while changing over to something new might be a hassle at first, Facebook’s Timeline provides an excellent opportunity for businesses to integrate themselves into the Facebook experience in ways that not only promote their products and services, but also create a social space where consumers can return for thoughtful interactions. Your business actually has the chance to become a regular Facebook “friend” for the fans, which will increase customer retention, and perhaps even opportunities for conversion (linking someone from Facebook to your own site where they can choose to become a member).
While it seems as though converting your model might take a little getting used to, the numbers indicate that it is a worthwhile investment. Some of the businesses involved in the preliminary launch of Timeline reported an increase in engagement by as much as 161%. The real question is, can you afford not to use Timeline?