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Facebook Brings Timeline to Pages: What You Should Know

Facebook has recently launched Timeline for Pages.  It is a similar layout to the Timeline we now see on all our personal profiles, but the functionality is just perfect for businesses.  You can either choose to embrace the changes now, or wait until March 30, 2012 when Facebook will automatically switch every Page to the new Timeline. Change can be scary sometimes, so here is a brief overview of the changes to hopefully get you excited about Timeline for Pages.  I’ll go over what is new, why is it good, and the one thing you may miss. New Design and Layout The most obvious of these changes is the new cover image.  This is your first impression and a way to grab some attention and showcase your brand when people arrive at your page.  The Cover image spans the entire width of the top of the page (dimensions are 850 pixels by 315 pixels). In the lower left-hand corner of your cover image resides your profile image.  This is a great place for your logo or another image that you want to use to represent your business.  This will show up next to your posts as your ‘thumbnail’ used to. The navigation that was once at the top of your page in ‘tabs’ then over on the left side in a list, now returns to the top of the page in cute little boxes.  Photos will remain in the first box, but you can change the order of everything else however you desire. Below the cover image, posts are lined up along a timeline. Functionality – This is the really exciting piece. You now have the ability to showcase posts that you deem worthy by either pinning them or highlighting them. You know when you have a really great post and you hate to see it move down your wall?  Now you can pin it to the top so it is the first post people see when they visit your page. The post you pin to the top of your page will remain at the top for up to 7 days or until you pin another one. (Do this by hovering over a story and clicking the pencil icon) Highlighting a post will leave it in its position on your timeline but will make it span the entire width of the page kind of like giving it center stage for its moment in time.  (Do this by hovering over a story and clicking the star icon) Messages!  I am and super excited about this one.  Now individuals can privately message the admin of a page.  This comes in super handy when someone wants to ask a question but doesn’t necessarily feel the need for it to be public.  If you don’t want someone to privately message you, you have the ability to turn this functionality off. Admin Panel – your “Mission Control” as it is being called This is the place where you can view and manage all your activity including: Notifications, New Likes, Insights, and Messages.  It is also the place you go to edit your page as well as view your activity log (less fancy version of your timeline).   The main thing you may miss……. or maybe not. With Timeline for Pages, you can no longer choose which tab new visitors land on when they come to your page for the first time.  If you had a custom designed landing or ‘welcome’ tab, this will be a sad day for you as it will no longer be the place new fans land.  You can still keep...

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Facebook Contests: What You Can and Cannot Do

Everyone wants to be the Big Winner! Hosting a contest on your Facebook page is a great way to: Drive people to your page Get them engaged and Let’s be honest: Make them ‘like’ you more. There is just one little thing that most businesses don’t know about (or choose to ignore) in the world of Facebook. That is the ‘Facebook Promotions Guidelines’. Essentially, the way that the majority of people run a contest on Facebook (i.e. post a photo on their wall and get their friends to like it, etc.) is against the rules of Facebook. Facebook does not want to be connected to your contest or be liable in any way. So what are the ‘CANS’ and ‘CANNOTS’? I’ll try to keep this as succinct as possible. If you want more details you can check out the full version here. Promotions on Facebook must be administered through a third party application. Facebook features and functionality cannot be used in any part of your contest/promotion to automatically register people (i.e. “Like our page and you are entered to win…”). You can require them to like your page, check into your place, or connect to your app but you cannot require them to do anything else such as like a wall post, comment, or upload a photo to your wall. You cannot use Facebook features/functionality as a voting mechanism (i.e. “The photo with the most number of likes wins”).  You cannot notify winners through Facebook. That means no Facebook messages, chat, or posts on profile/ pages to notify your winner(s). You cannot say or imply in any way that Facebook has endorsed or has a partnership with you and/or your contest. There also needs to be a statement about this in your contest rules. You must also include a release of Facebook in your contest rules and tell contest participants that they are submitting info to you and not Facebook. Wow. That is 5 ‘cannots’ and only 1 ‘can’… You may say, “But everyone else is doing it ‘wrong.’ Why do I have to follow the rules?” Well, when it comes down to it, if you break the rules you run the risk of getting your page shut down without warning. (And that just makes you sound like you are in grade school again) Ok, let’s focus on the ‘right’ way. You CAN require people to like your page but you CANNOT automatically enter them into your contest. So how do you know who is ‘in’ or not since you cannot have them post on your wall or like your post, etc.? Enter the third party application. A third party application will completely separate your contest from Facebook’s functionality and features and we can all get a good night’s sleep knowing we don’t have to worry about breaking any rules. Phew. Here is a list of a few of those apps that will run a contest for you on Facebook. Take a peek through some of them and maybe even watch the video tour. The functionality is pretty great and they are already built for you. Wildfire is definitely one of the most popular Pricing Starting at $5 per campaign + $.99/day  North Social Pricing Starting at $19.99/Month Easypromos First promo is free, then starting at $15/promo. Contest Tab $29.99/month Sweptin Starting at $225+ $5/day WizeHive $295 +$3/day Strutta $299 + $99/month Lots of options here. After you have spent some time looking though them, pick the one that is the best for what you want and that fits your budget. If you have any other suggestions, please share...

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Facebook Profiles vs. Pages: What’s The Difference and Why Does It Matter?

In terms of Facebook, there are “Profiles” and there are “Pages.” What is the difference between the two and why does it matter, you ask? Read on and I will walk you through some of the major differences. Basically, Profiles are for people and Pages are for businesses. Sounds simple enough, but there is a surprising amount of stuff to explain about both of them. Let’s get started. Facebook Profiles are for individuals like you and me. You can connect with friends, share photos, join groups, etc. As an individual you may care more about your privacy and who you share your personal information with. This is why profiles require that you accept/extend a friend request before you are connected to another individual. Profiles have an extensive array of features to protect every piece of your information and help you differentiate what you share with whom. If you want to create a list of your co-workers that will only see certain pieces of info you post, you can. You can also have another list for your family that you allow to see all your updates and photos. Perhaps you want to post some photos of that day you called in sick and really went to the breweries with friends; you can exclude just your boss or the entire list of your co-workers from seeing that particular album on your profile. The possibilities are endless. Profiles have the functionality that suits individuals. So why is it ‘bad’ to have a business set up as a Profile? Well, first off it is against Facebook Policy. If the Facebook “Powers That Be” come across a profile that is set up to represent a business, they can and will shut it down. No warning necessary. And the list goes on: With a profile, those who want to connect with you must first wait for you to respond to their friend request. You cannot create custom tabs to welcome new fans, gather emails, or host a contest. One of the ‘biggies’ that every business should care about is that with a profile, you cannot see your insights (analytics, stats). You don’t know how many people are coming to your profile every day or how far your posts are reaching. With a proper Business Page, you can. Facebook Pages are for Businesses, Places, Organizations, Non-Profits, Companies, Brands, and Bands. Pages can be viewed by the public including people who do not have a Facebook account. They are well suited for businesses because: They can easily be maintained by multiple people on your team by simply adding additional admins. You can view your insights to understand who your fans are, which posts are the most viral, how far your reach is, and much more. If your business is international or multilingual, you can target your posts by language and country. Pages can be promoted with Facebook Ads Customization opportunities are nearly endless. You can set up a variety of tabs to welcome fans, collect emails, host a contest, and provide additional information in a way that matches your branding. If you prefer tables, here you go.   Profiles Pages To create a connection Friend Request must be extended and accepted Click the ‘like’ button Privacy You can protect everything from anyone. Possibilities are endless. Everything posted is public Posting on the walls of others Can post on your friend’s profile wall and a business’ page wall Can post on other page’s walls but not an individual’s profile Number of connections allowed 5,000 friends but unlimited ‘subscribers’* Unlimited Insights/analytics/stats No Yes Customization Only the main photo on...

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