When asking my friends their thoughts on the new Facebook Timeline, I have been hearing mixed feelings
However, as a professional visual artist, I can recognize the benefits of using Facebook Timeline, so I want to share with you why, and how to use Timeline to your advantage!
To get started, you should know that Facebook has created a set of guidelines to be followed while using Timeline, in order to prevent the network from turning into a bunch of SPAM! This is a courtesy to the user (you and me!) These two guidelines are especially great for controlling overly-advertisement-type content: 1) You may not include your business URL in your Timeline main graphic, and 2) You may not include dates promoting upcoming events in your main graphic. It will be difficult for the Facebook team to police these rules because this is image space…so cannot be recognised by a search engine. What does that mean? It means Facebook has to physically look at Timelines to be sure the guidelines are being met.
Many of my friends are creative, professionals who either
1) Have a Facebook Profile and a Page showcasing their service, band, brand, etc, or
2) Have a Facebook Profile and are an Admin on a Page that belongs to someone else
Either way, it’s important to know how Facebook Timeline can totally KICK ASS for Marketing your creative, or business endeavours. So, I am here to help!
If you want to make the switch over to Timeline, go for it! I switched the Blush Photo Page over to Timeline over a month ago and quickly discovered it’s benefits. Plus, the people of Facebook are kind enough to give you up to 7-days to Pimp-Out your timeline before it goes live for the world to enjoy. Awesome!
Wrap your mind around this
If Facebook were a country, it’d be LARGER than the United States of America! That’s right, more people worldwide are using Facebook than there are people in the U.S. So, Facebook presents a phenomenal opportunity to get traffic to your websites.
I will proceed with examples of ways to use Timeline to PROMOTE, SHARE, FLEX YOUR CREATIVE GENIUS and MARKET your amazing pages
My sister, Shannon has a Facebook Timeline for her blog Adventures of Lucky Duck. Lucky Duck travels around with her and gives suggestions to her readers along the way.
Here is a screen shot of her Lucky Duck Blog:
And here is a screen shot of her Lucky Duck Timeline:
If you see above, Shannon does not include the URL to her blog in the main photo (GOOD!) but by simply repeating her logo over and over again, it lacks that initial WOW value that her blog has. Because I follow her blog, I know she has hundreds of awesome photos she could be utilizing!
Getting started with PIMPING-OUT your Facebook Timeline
I used Photoshop to measure the pixel dimensions of the main Photo space, which is 850 pixels wide x 315 pixels tall. So, if you are creating a custom image for this space, start with those dimensions. And this is where you get to be creative! Use this space to really intrigue users to spend time on your timeline. And if your content rocks as much as your main photo…people will begin to share your stories!
Many people use Facebook to market their brand
For Shannon, and Lucky Duck, there is a marketing plan to be made. Considering the nature of her blog- Lucky Duck travels around, he does things, sees stuff, and promotes products- wouldn’t it be cool for Shannon to include various images from his travels in her main photo!? Or, what if she featured one new image every week, or twice a month (whatever she wants) that goes with a recent blog post? Like, if she posts that Lucky Duck is getting ready for Spring, what if her Facebook page played on that? Here is a sample of the rotating image idea, rather than simply repeating a logo:
One thing to keep in mind, is that your Page Icon will overlap the main image. (I don’t recommend you change your icon often…it’s good to keep it consistent so people can recognize it!)
Also, it’s ok if you are not super Photoshop Savvy to create the graphic you would ideally want to use. Facebook does allow you to upload any image and move it up and down within the given photo space. But, maybe you know someone who would like to help you make a graphic? I bet you do!
I am super excited about the possibilities that Facebook Timeline has presented
As a small business owner, I cannot afford to pay out the wazoo for marketing and advertising…but I can be smart about how I use the FREE space I have available in the third largest country in the world, Facebook!
Here are some Timelines I have come across, including my own, that look FABULOUS
Blush Photo‘s strategy is to cycle through my favorite portfolio photographs once a week. This week is the Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s!
Here is a sample of what NOT to do
MTV is using it’s main photo space to promote an upcoming show. SHAME ON YOU MTV! I would bet money that the Facebook Police will nix this quickly, in order to maintain a positive aesthetic. Not the SPAMMY aesthetic that I understand they are going to great lengths to avoid.
Also, you may choose a URL for your new Timeline
While Neumos has a great Timeline graphic, they also have clean, shareable URL, www.facebook.com/neumos:
I chose a URL for my page: www.facebook.com/Blushphot.net, but once you chose a URL, IT CANNOT BE CHANGED! So choose wisely. Visit Facebook Help to prompt setting up this URL, if you don’t already have one.
OK, now you know the Facebook guidelines for promoting your brand on the new Timeline, the pixel dimensions for creating your custom main image, the importance of making a marketing strategy for your Timeline, and how to chose a custom URL for your page!
Stay tuned for Part 2!! I will talk about the importance (or unimportance) of getting “LIKES”, building content that your fans will want to share, and will explain how to go back in time in order to beef-up your Facebook web-presence!