Marketing with the New Facebook Timeline

facebook timeline logoSince the Facebook Timeline appeared mid-December 2011, there has been a lot of criticism (and some cynicism) with regard to the change in the look and feel of the Facebook Profile. Right after I learned about the Timeline, I spent about 4 hours exploring the new format from every angle and what I learned surprised me.

Prior to mid-December there were a couple of options to market your business; the Business Page (aka fan page) and Groups. Facebook did NOT want you to use your Profile to market, that was supposed to be all about friendship. To that end, Facebook could (and sometimes did) shut down profiles that were obviously being used for marketing purposes only. There is always that threat.

In 2009 I learned about the Facebook Fan page. Back then you invited people to ‘fan’ you and about 10% of those requests were granted. Then at the end of 2010 Fan Pages technically became ‘Like’ pages, and in  December of that year I put up a couple of new ‘like’ business pages and invited at least 1000 people to ‘like’ those pages and got about 5 ‘likes’.

One of the features of a business ‘like’ pages is the Admin can choose to be anonymous. Actually, unless the business ‘like’ page is named after a person, you have to know the exact name of the business to find that page. In fact, unless you looked way down at the bottom of the Info page you might not even know that a person’s business ‘like’ page existed.

Back then we created badges that described our business interest and manipulated the 5 pictures across the top (above the Profile wall) into a personal banner.

For this reason, I resisted setting up my own business ‘like’ page until recently.

Let’s talk about the Facebook timeline.

The new Facebook Timeline formatToday you can publish a fairly large picture banner at the top of the page that either directly states your business, or implies what business you are in.

However, the most important feature of the new timeline is the text directly under your picture – “Working at”. This is where you can link directly to your business ‘like’ page.

Business “Like” Page

So now if someone is interested in who you are, they can click on your business ‘like’ page to learn more about your business. Even more important, these days it is pretty easy to set up a lead capture system to get people to opt-in to your email management system.

What you want to do is set up a Facebook iFrame app at your Welcome page. All 1st time visitors see this page first asking them to ‘like us first’ then offering them a valuable free product in exchange for their email information.

Email capture system at Facebook with iFrame

Another big idea… Post your Events! You can post your event from you business ‘like’ page, and then invite all of your ‘friends’ to the event. And, unless your ‘friends’ have edited their Notifications Settings, that invitation lands in their email.

I post all of my training webinars at my business ‘like’ page and then invite my 4.850 ‘friends’ to come and usually increase my prospects email list by 10-20 people each time I do a presentation. The key is to offer relevant, valuable information that people are interested in.

NOTE: When you set up your business ‘like’ page, don’t forget to invite all of your ‘friends’ to ‘like’ you.

Facebook GROUPS

Now let’s talk about Groups. The old Facebook groups weren’t a lot different from business pages. In fact it was very hard to tell the difference.

Back in 2010 I set up a couple group pages, and I might as well have saved my energy, because today Facebook is completely changing how Facebook Groups work. They are actually going to convert all the old groups to the new group format. And, in the process all of the old group members will disappear.

The new Facebook vision for groups is something much more intimate, more like a ‘think tank’. One feature of the new group is that the admin now takes a much more visible role.

One of the features that really surprised me about the new Facebook group is that the Admin doesn’t have to wait for people to join the group, the Admin can actually Add Friends to the Group without a pre-agreement from the ‘friend’.

NOTE: The ‘friend’ can opt-out if they don’t want to be part of the group, and people can also ask to become a Group Member.

You can actually create a Facebook group email and send out an email to all of the members of your group en-masse, and you can group chat in real time.

When it comes to the new Facebook Timeline, just keep in mind that you now have three completely different facebook marketing tools (not only in ‘look and feel’ but also in form and function); The Facebook Profile is for ‘friending’ people, the Facebook Business Page for promotion, and the Facebook Group for establishing your expertise.

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