Earlier this year, Facebook rolled out Timeline for brand pages. Looking back, our product manager was spot on. She predicted two days after the launch that Timeline would allow businesses to "share their stories better
That's exactly what businesses have done over the past six months, and images have been the vehicle for doing so. Brands large and small, from Coca-Cola to HK Anderson Pretzels, use creative photos and graphics every day to engage fans and share their stories with the world.
Your business can do it, too. All you need is a story to share and some image inspiration from these 10 brands.
1. Coca-Cola checks in
Coca-Cola parked itself on the first base line at a baseball game, and then took a picture to check in. A quick word to the wise: If the brand that just eclipsed 50 million fans thinks this is a good strategy, take its word for it.
2. HK Anderson Pretzels asks a question
You can spark loads of conversation on Facebook simply by asking a question. That's precisely what HK Anderson Pretzels did. It provided a picture of two of its flavors and asked fans which one they liked most.
When you ask questions, always keep your fans in mind. "Ask questions in a way that makes it easy for them to answer," says Andrea Bolden of Facebook Leads Factory. "Remember that nobody wants to write a novel just to answer a question."
3. Sanuk runs a sweepstakes
Sanuk's Mystery Box Summer Sweepstakes (powered by Vocus' Facebook apps) combines an eye-catching design with curiosity, as fans who enter don't know what they'll receive should they win.
A sweepstakes like this is always a good idea for your business, according to Startup Nation's Tom Shapiro: "Giving your audience something of value in exchange for a registration or sign-up can be valuable to your business, as it enables you to have an ongoing conversation with those who have expressed interest."
4. Pringles plays a game
"The world wants entertainment and a good laugh at the end of the day," says guest blogger Tina at We Blog Better. Her advice: "Make your page really fun to read and to look at."
That's exactly what Pringles did with the "Find the Pringles" game, which earned the company more than 3,000 likes.
5. Monopoly shares a fan's photo
"A great tactic is to get your fans and customers to post photos of them using your products," says Edmond Hong of the Facebook Marketing Blog.
A prime example comes from Monopoly, who posted a picture of a German couple playing the board game. The couple took the photo themselves.
6. Tic Tac says thank you
A simple thank you can go a long way for your business. Just ask Tic Tac. "This small gesture can be huge in spreading goodwill about your page and brand," says TopRank Online Marketing. "It might even give users more incentive to share your contests and resources on your fan page."
7. Auntie Anne's supports a cause
According to a 2010 Cone Cause Evolution study, 85 percent of American consumers possess a more positive impression of a product or brand when it supports a cause they care about. Therefore, a simple image promoting a cause you support, like this one from Auntie Anne's, can help you earn major goodwill among potential customers.
8. Umbro takes a journey back in time
"Brands that have a rich history have a perfect opportunity to display it through Timeline in an engaging way," says Jack Morton Worldwide. Umbro falls under that category, and posted an old image of Rod Stewart juggling a soccer ball in Umbro gear.
9. Virgin America showcases a customer
Virgin America posted a picture of a customer using one of the airline's products. A tactic like this not only shows what your product does and how simple it is to use, but instantly creates an advocate for your brand, as the customer depicted is likely to share this image with her network.
10. Callaway Golf gives fans a look behind the curtain
"You can show the human side of your business by posting candid photos of your staff, your offices, events you attend, and similar images," says Vangie Beal of Ecommerce-Guide. That's precisely what Callaway did. It posted a photo of one of its technicians preparing a club for a PGA Tour player.
Frank Salatto is a writer at Vocus, where a version of this article originally appeared.