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10 Timeline Tips for Fan Pages on the New Facebook
Facebook recently made a number of major changes by introducing the new
timeline feature to personal Profiles and business Pages.
The changes are radical for a number of reasons but the most important of which is
that every time Facebook makes a change they take away more key free marketing
features. It’s all part of their grand plan to get you to start buying paid ads to
promote your business.
Don’t listen to the spin that the new timeline provides a better user experience blah,
blah, blah. It’s just one more step designed to get you to buy more ads.
Now that I’ve got that gorilla off my chest let’s take advantage of the free marketing
tools that are still available. Here are my ten top tastiest timeline tips
1 – Jump Ahead of the Curve
I’m going to start with a tip about something that isn’t available on the new timeline.
The major thing that Facebook removed with the new timeline is the default landing
In the past you could divide visitors to your site into two groups -‐ people who had
already “liked” your Page and people who had not “liked” your Page. Then you could
set up you Page so that people who had not yet liked your Page were sent to a
default landing tab. The importance of this is that you could custom a welcome
message for new visitors that encouraged them to like your Page or add their email
address to get a free report etc.
You can’t do that anymore (unless you buy an ad).
So tip number one is to learn how to use Facebook Ads.
You might as well start right now and jump ahead of your competitors because
Facebook is slowly but surely going to close the “free marketing” window.
I know that this is a strange first tip that has more to do with what isn’t on Timeline
than what is on Timeline but it’s my best Facebook advice.
2 – The Indirect Landing Tab
Facebook didn’t remove tabs from Pages, just the ability to direct traffic to a default
landing tab. You can still use custom tabs as a powerful marketing tool. The key is to
get people to see and open your tabs.
Here are two ways to drive traffic to your custom tabs.
The new timeline allows you to prominently display 4 tabs just under your timeline
banner. This is a prime piece of real estate that is visible “above the fold” as you
don’t need to scroll down the page to see the tabs. You can have more than four tabs
but only four are visible and one of the four is a pre-‐set photos tab.
Take a look at SMMCamp’s Page to see where the four tabs are displayed on the
The first way to drive traffic is to include an explicit instruction in the tab image. The
image gives an instruction or call to action that asks visitors to click on the image.
When they click on the image this will take them to the custom tab. It’s a two-‐step
process but it is an effective way to get traffic to your custom tabs.
Another way to get traffic to your custom tab is to include a link to the tab. Each tab
has a unique URL. So when you send people to your Facebook Page send them to the
unique URL for your custom tab. This is a messy way to drive traffic but it works and
it better than nothing.
This would also be a good time to remind you why you should send visitors to your
The reason you want to use a custom tab is so that you can get your visitor to like
your page (become a fan) and enter their contact details into an email capture form
embedded in the tab. That’s my primary goal with all visitors to my Pages … get an
3 – Share Your Custom Tab on Your Wall
Another way to create an indirect link to your tab is to post a link to your tab on
your Page. The link will automatically pull your thumbnail image through to the post
and you can post a comment that encourages people to click on the clink,
You can also pin or highlight the post to feature it prominently as the top content on
4 – Use an Awesome Timeline Cover
This should probably have been tip number one as it is the most obvious tip.
The new timeline allows you to upload a custom cover or banner that visually
dominates your Page. This is the ultimate branding opportunity although
Facebook’s terms of service specifically limit what you can do with your cover
Cover images must be at least 399 pixels wide and may not contain:
▪ Price or purchase information, such as "40% off" or "Download it at our
▪ Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other
information intended for your Page's About section.
▪ References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other
Facebook site features
▪ Calls to action, such as "Get it now" or "Tell your friends"
Guess why they do that? That’s right, so you buy their ads. But before I get back on
my soapbox let’s take a look at a number of cool timeline banners.
Here are the covers from a few large real estate companies. They have a nice warm
and fuzzy feel to them:
You can use a location-‐based image that represents your town, like Lisa Heindel has
down with her photo of the Crescent City.
Raj Qsar has included a cover of something iconic to the town of Yorba Linda.
You can also use a life style type photo like Donnie Keller of has done to highlight
his love for horses and the country.
Another idea is to create a real estate themed collage of homes you have sold or
have listed. Take a look at Charles Cherney’s cover for Cambridge Real Estate.
I love how Ken Brand of Prudential has used humor to “brand” his Page.
As soon as I thought of humor I went to take a look at Jim Carrey’s Page. It’s a nice
quirky picture of Jim with a wistful smile.
But to be honest I was a little disappointed as it wasn’t nearly as quirky as his blog
(which you absolutely need to go and see right now at JimCarey.com).
You can also play around with your cover and change it regularly to reflect local
events or special occasions. Take a look at how Mari Smith changed her profile to
wish everyone a Happy Easter.
It’s not difficult to make a cool timeline cover.
Here are a few basics
• The cover can be 851 high by 315 pixels wide with a minimum width of 399
• High quality resolution photos work best as they can easily be stretched to
• Many constructed images don’t work well as they appeared blurred and
There are a number of tools out there that you can use to create a very professional
looking cover. One tool I recommend is Lujure.
5 – The About Section is Gold
The About section is located just below your profile photo. You need to use the
About section to describe your business and let people know exactly what you do
and how to find your main website.
The first 140 characters of your company description is visible on your Page
I like to add a website address with a hyper link to my website at the beginning of
the company description.
6 – Profile Your Profile Picture
Your profile picture now appears as an inset picture within the timeline Cover. It’s
another highly visible piece of prime real estate on your Page.
You can see on my SMMCamp Page that I’ve also included my web address in my
profile picture. It’s not in the timeline cover so I’m not in breach of the Facebook’s
terms of service.
You profile picture needs to be 180 x 180 pixels although it will be displayed at a
slightly smaller size.
7 – Incorporate Your Profile Picture into Your Timeline Banner
If you want to up the creative ante you can incorporate your profile picture into
your timeline banner. It makes your cover stand out and hopefully people will love it
and share it with their friends (like I’m doing now).
Here are a number of examples that visually demonstrate what I mean:
8 – Pin or Highlight Your Top Post
It’s all about location, location and location.
The new timeline is organized chronologically but it looks like a dog’s breakfast. One
of the few things that you can control is a feature called pinning. This allows you to
pin a post to the top left space on your Page for up to 7 days.
This space is the first piece of content that your visitors will read, so make sure it
contains your most important information.
You may also want to rotate the posts you pin to keep content fresh for return
Your Page contains a number of other content boxes but the space on the top left of
your Page is the most visible piece of real estate in the content section.
Another cool thing you can do is high light a post as this will extend the width of the
post to the full width of your Page. It makes the content stand out but the content is
still below the fold and not immediately visible to a visitor.
A few other things you can control are you can add milestones, hide posts and
prevent others from posting on your Page wall.
9 – Suck Up to Your Partners (and People Who can Help You)
This is a kiss behind tactic that I use to reach out to my business partners.
One of the prominent content boxes is the Featured Likes box that usually appears
on the lower right hand side of your Page. You can add some of your partners to this
box by adding them as a featured like in your admin panel. This will add a thumbnail
of their profile picture to your Page and the thumbnail will hyper link to their Page.
The point of doing this is so you can support your partners or to do a cross
promotion with other Pages. If you show my Page I’ll show yours kid of deal!
Basically it’s just a cool way to schmooze up to your partners.
As an example I have a number of sponsors and speakers at each SMMCamp. I
usually like their Page and then add them as a featured like. This gives them added
visibility at the event.
If you don’t want to use the space on your partners then use it to promote your own
10 – It’s All Visual Baby!
I want to end our top ten tips by sticking with the visual element.
If you surf around on Facebook you’ll see that images are the one type of content
that really stands out in the timeline. Not only do images really capture your
visitor’s attention but they’re also the content that is most shared and liked by
visitors. You can confirm this yourself by using your Page Insights to track traffic
views and how often people “talk about a post”.
We’ve become a visual society.
I hope you incorporate all ten tips into your Facebook marketing.
About Ross Hair
Ross Hair is the Bald, a huge fan of social media and the founder of Social Media
Marketing Camp.. You can also find Ross at his website at www.RossHair.com.