With over 800 million active world-wide members, Facebook is an essential social media tool that can be used to advertise and promote your small business. Along with how to have a catchy website, how to have an updated blog, and how to use Twitter, how to master Facebook is one of the social media "how-to's" that owners of small businesses really do need to know.
On September 22, 2011, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced a drastic change to its interface and features in the upcoming weeks, so let's dissect what has been going on with the world's most popular social media platform.
The biggest change coming to Facebook is the Timeline. Just like its name suggests, the Timeline aims to give users the ability to give viewers a comprehensive view of their lives in chronological order. The old user profile pulls up all of your posts and photos in one column. The Timeline, the new user profile, is two columns for greater visibility. More importantly, the Timeline not only broadcasts your updates but also lets you include events from the past. You can include past events going all the way to birth. With the Timeline, Facebook is more like a digital scrapbook that the viewer can click back and forth for a comprehensive understanding of the person.
The new Facebook profile provides small businesses with a great way to broadcast their history. Your business' Facebook page can now take viewers on a journey, from when you started your business all the way to present day. You can add events, such as when your business received a favorable review in the local newspaper or when you added a second location, through the Publisher Bar. The Publisher Bar also allows you to post a photo to accompany the event. You can highlight particularly important events by clicking a star next to the status and/or by enlarging the photo.
Another one of social media how-to's that you need to know is how to convey your business' identity through photos. While the old Facebook profile has a small profile picture on the upper west corner, the Timeline features a cover photo that almost spans the top half of the page. You choose what photo you want as your cover photo and can always change it whenever you want. Besides having a much bigger main photo, the photos that you post in your timeline for important events can take up the majority of the screen.
To use the Timeline to your advantage, you need to have a cover photo that accurately depicts your business. Remember that the cover photo sets the tone for your business' presence online. You also need to have good photos of your business through the years. If your business has strong roots or a long history, posting photos that showcase your business' ties to the community will make it more appealing to customers who like to patronize such businesses.
How you start and sustain a conversation on Facebook is another one of social media how-to's that you need to know. A new feature for Facebook that has already been implemented is the "New Top Story" and "Recent Stories" feed. A wall post that garners a lot of reactions will get into the "New Top Story" and "Recent Stories" feed, which means that your business' Facebook friends will see your wall post before other postings. By posting posts that garner a strong reaction from your business' Facebook friends, such as what their favorite product is, your business will get more exposure for a longer time.
No matter how much Facebook changes, getting the most out of your online presence requires employing the same tactics:
What are your plans for the new Facebook updates and your company page?