By Priya Ramesh (@newpr)
Most of you are aware of the new Timeline for brand pages that Facebook unveiled at their Marketing Conference (fMC) on Feb 29 and must be busy getting ready to launch your new brand Page. I want to highlight some other key changes that you should be aware of as you get ready to spruce up your brand’s timeline. I have tried to summarize some of the key upgrades that Facebook has made especially on its advertising platform and Facebook Insights that might help you plan accordingly. Please note that you have about two weeks to get ready for your new timeline feature. Page admins can opt in to the new timeline as of today to start testing the new look. Facebook will be pushing the new Timeline live to everyone on March 30.
Here are the new changes to keep in mind as you plan for your Facebook marketing this year:
Bold look and feel for your brand with cover photo: With the new timeline feature brands now have the opportunity to convey a stronger visual message. Think of creative ways to show-off your brand through the timeline cover photo which serves as the welcome tab to your page. The cover photo acts as a social media billboard for your brand so get creative with it. Mashable provides a list of 20 brands that are early adopters of the timeline, take a look at their cover photos http://mashable.com/2012/02/29/facebook-timeline-pages-cover-photos/
Showcase company history through timeline: Tell your brand’s story and its evolution through key milestones for a deeper engagement with your fans. You can date your brand’s timeline back to 1800 showing the transformation it has been through by highlighting important milestones. Milestones are key moments you’ve decided to highlight on your Page. Milestones are automatically expanded to wide-screen and are visible to everyone visiting your Page.
To add a milestone:
- Click Milestone in the sharing tool at the top of your Page’s timeline
- Add a headline, location, date and details for your milestone
- Choose to add a photo
- Click Save
From anywhere on your Page’s timeline, scroll to a spot and click to post a milestone or other type of story to a particular date.
Verizon uses the timeline feature effectively showing the advances the smartphone industry has made since its inception in 2000. Take a look at http://www.facebook.com/verizon
No more Landing Tabs: I was REALLY bummed to see this because we have used the landing tab for contests and special promotions for our clients. We used the landing tab recently for BISSELL (CRT/tanaka client) for their “Dirty Little Secret” Facebook contest. http://www.dogtipper.com/blog/2011/11/bissell-launches-dirty-little-secret-contest.html. The removal of the landing tab is probably the biggest concern for Page owners at the moment. The possibility to setting up a default landing destination for non-fans is gone with the new Timeline upgrade. From now on, all visitors will land on the Timeline by default. Brand marketers will have to think of new ways to welcome new visitors. A welcome video pinned to the top of the timeline or the cover photo can be used to engage new fans.
Turn your posts to PREMIUM ADS: The “premium ad” model is Facebook’s attempt to reward good content with expanded reach, very similar to the sponsored tweets concept. Say you posted something on your brand page that got a lot of traction (likes/comments/shares). You now have the opportunity to turn that post into a “premium ad” to reach non-fans. Mike Hoefflinger, Facebook’s director of global business marketing, explained that with Premium Offers, a brand can start with a post to their page, and if it’s successful, choose to increase that post’s distribution through Premium Offers. “Over the last few years while testing the efficacy of Premium,” he shares, “it can hit 3X the ROI for brands.” Premium ads will not replace Marketplace ads but provide a bigger opportunity for marketers to reach a larger audience through sponsored stories versus the standard marketplace banner ad. Todd Wasserman, Mashable explains Premium Ads in detail in his post http://mashable.com/2012/02/29/facebook-ads-explainer/. The Facebook ads will now appear in five key locations within the network:
- Ads that appear in News Feeds
- Ads that run on the right-hand side of your homepage
- Ads within the News Feed on your mobile device
- Ads that appear when you log out
Guaranteed News Feed distribution with Reach Generator: Unlike marketplace ads where there is no guaranteed impressions or reach, premium ad buyers can now pay Facebook for guaranteed news feed distribution to up to 75 percent of its fans. Facebook tested the “Reach Generator” with Ben & Jerry’s and was able to reach 98 percent of its Page’s fans using the new feature. Prior to this, brand Pages where reaching only about 16% of their fans without ads or Sponsored Stories paying on a PPC or Pay-per thousand impressions basis. “Reach Generator” allows brands to pay Facebook for guaranteed news feed distribution to up to 75% of all their fans. Facebook ads have been a hit or a miss for a majority of brands who don’t understand ad targeting. Reach Generator could help alleviate that stress for marketers and also prevent advertisers from showing the same ad multiple times to a single fan.
Pinned Posts for campaigns and special offers: Pinned posts are Page posts that admins can choose to display prominently at the top of their Page. A pinned post always appears in the top left of a Page’s timeline and has a flag in its top-right corner. Pinned posts remain on top of the Page for seven days. If you are running a special promotion or contest and need to run a post for seven consecutive days, you can now “Pin” that post. After the campaign is over, the post will default to its original date, the date it was first posted. Page admins can only pin posts created by the Page.
New Admin Panel makes it easier to manage and monitor brand engagement: Facebook has made the admins’ lives easier by consolidating all Page management functions under one area. The five key sections of the Page Admin panel are
i) Notifications (news feed on most recent activity on your Page)
ii) Messages: Page Admins can now send and receive messages to fans just like personal pages. Depending on your company’s social media policy you may choose not to receive messages from fans on Facebook ‘cos this could turn into a customer service channel but if you are open to that, well and good.
iii) New Likes: This is an easier way to monitor number of new likes on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. This is a huge benefit ‘cos you can now closely monitor who has “liked” you and target your special offers and promotions to the new visitors.
iv) Insights: This is quick snapshot of the Facebook analytics report but if you “Click All” it will take you the detailed Facebook Insights section.
v) Page Tips: Facebook offers useful tips to manage your Page better under this section. This can help you tweak your content and maximize reach.
Get Real-time Insights: The older version of Facebook Insights was not real time and the analytics on a post would publish two whole days later. With the new Insights, we can now track how a post is doing within 5-10 minutes into publishing. This gives the Page admins an opportunity to tweak their posts depending on how they are performing. Marketers can quickly find out what content is resonating well with their audience and immediately amplify the reach by turning the post into a Premium ad or a Sponsored Story ad. Facebook Insights has replaced “Post Views” and “Post Feedback” with “People Reached” and “People Talking About This” respectively. The four key metrics introduced with the new Facebook Insights are:
- People Talking About This – This is the number of people that engage with your Page and includes users liking your Page, liked, commenting on or sharing a post from your Page, answered a Question you’ve asked on your Page, or tagged your Page in an update or in a photo. This also includes Facebook users who’ve responded to an event on your Page.
- Friends of Fans – This is the total number of friends all your fans have.
- Reach – The number of people who have seen content associated with your Page (everything mentioned)
- Virality – The percent of people who saw a story from your Page and “talked about it.
The new Insights are geared more towards “engagement” than “impressions” which is at the heart of all social media efforts anyways so now you can track individual posts to see what drove engagement on that particular post (paid, organic, viral) and try to repeat the same strategy for your future posts.
I know I have probably overloaded you with too much information on this post but I do hope this serves as a good starting point for your new brand Page. Below are examples of some nicely done brand Pages with the new Timeline. Enjoy and make your Facebook marketing count this year. If you have any questions with the new Timeline, don’t hesitate to drop me a note email@example.com.
Take a look at the Facebook Ads guide at: http://ads.ak.facebook.com/ads/FacebookAds/Pages_Overview.pdf