Facebook Timeline is becoming mandatory on March 30, 2012 for everyone, companies included. There are lots of changes, but here are 5 that should be on your short list of things to do.

(5) Christopher S. Penn

1. Remember all that money you spent on Like Gating, where you have to press the Like button to see the rest of the page and/or special offers? Sorry. Facebook has removed the ability to force non-fans to see any particular tab and now defaults to the timeline. Custom tabs will work, but they will not be front and center.

Recommendation: make sure your apps have clear, obvious, bold icons so that they do show up properly on the Timeline page. You can see my Free Weekly Tips button above.

2. The cover image is your new premium image space. Don’t just put a stupid logo there. Give people something to talk about! Note that Timeline Covers are clickable images that bring up the Photo lightbox. Make sure yours has a description, like this:

(5) Christopher S. Penn

UPDATED: Some folks have posted in the comments that specific calls to action are prohibited.

Covers may not include:
i.    price or purchase information, such as "40% off" or "Download it on socialmusic.com";
ii.    contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page's "About" section;
iii.    references to Facebook features or actions, such as "Like" or "Share" or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features; or
iv.    calls to action, such as "Get it now" or "Tell your friends."

3. Timeline highlights all the stupid stuff you did in the past. Take some time to clean it up. Did you have a massive social media controversy a few years back? Quietly prune it away.

4. Use Insights’ virality metric to figure out what’s working, under the new Page Insights:

(2) Christopher S. Penn

Recommendation: look for commonalities in the top 5-10 items and see what really gets people sharing. Remember that Facebook’s new mission focuses on Sharing above all else.

5. You have up 4 calls to action in the buttons. Likes is immoveable, so you’re really down to 3 – but the more buttons you have, the less your clickable summary text is visible. I chose 3 buttons above so that my about text was more visible. If it’s not compelling or highly active, consider pruning it and giving yourself more space.

I hope these Facebook Timeline tips for your business are useful!


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