Last week, Facebook rolled out Timeline to brand pages. This excited businesses, but also made them nervous.
What do we need to prepare? What will happen to the content on our pages? What are the new best practices?
Never fear: Here's what you need to know to succeed.
In another post I looked at how to highlight your business' history and choose which apps to use. This article discusses how to draw people to your apps, control your content, and build your audience.
Tip 1: Use the "Link to this app" feature.
Since Timeline doesn't have customizable, designated landing pages, it is imperative to route people directly to the app with which you want them to engage. This means that whenever you talk about an app—whether on Twitter, your blog, in an email, or in a press release—you need to provide links that go directly to that app.
Luckily, Facebook makes it easy to get this link. Just click on "Edit" for the app and select "Link to this app."
Tip 2: Don't give up on fan-gating.
The removal of a default landing page means you can no longer force likes on prospective fans. But, if you want an ongoing relationship with your page's visitors, it is critical to convince them to become fans.
Make whatever you hide behind the gate worth clicking. Remember, without a like, your posted content won't end up in anyone's news feed.
Tip 3: Use the "Pin post" feature.
This clever little feature allows you to pin a single status update to remain at the top of your Timeline for up to a week. A great way to draw extended attention to your apps is promote one of your custom apps through a pinned post. Make sure to include a link to the app as I previously mentioned.
Tip 4: Know your administrative rights.
The new admin panel will soon be a favorite for page administrators everywhere. It gives you access to important information without going through a separate interface. The panel highlights key information such as new likes, notifications, and snapshots of critical Insights data, like total reach and the number of "people talking about this."
In addition, Timeline allows you to message through pages. The admin panel now allows you to see your most recent page message conversations.
These tips will help you make the most of the new administrative features:
Tip 5: Know your permissions.
Under Manage > Edit Page > Manage Permissions, administrators can set up all the permissions required for their page, including those for post visibility and messaging. Think of the type of Facebook experience you want to cultivate and set your permissions accordingly.
Tip 6: Be familiar with the Activity Log.
This log allows you to see every post you've ever published on your page—as well as any posts from users that mention your posts—and take action on them. Administrators can filter through posts by date, as well as star, hide, and even delete posts. You can delete posts as long as they are written directly on your page. This gives you full control over the contents of your Timeline.
I recommend you get to know the features this log offers so you can easily manage your Timeline's activity.
Tip 7: Explore the "Build audience" feature.
This feature could be a whole blog post on its own, but for now I recommend you check it out. It's a great way to invite Facebook friends and email contacts to share on your personal Timeline or a friend's Timeline. There are a lot of opportunities to create buzz with this feature.
Tip 8: Don't throw out your existing Facebook strategy.
The majority of the changes associated with Timeline are to enhance a user's visual experience. While this is great news for the creative side of your business, it does not change the basic rules of a solid Facebook strategy.
It is still important to:
- Post quality content on a regular basis
- Be current and creative
- Strategically use apps
- Proactively respond to fans
You still need to have a well-defined, thoughtful strategy if you want a strong Facebook presence. The majority of the successful things you did before you switched to Timeline will remain important. Have fun with your new creative opportunities but if something isn't broken, don't fix it.
Abby Hammer is a product manager at Vocus. A version of this article originally appeared on the Vocus blog.