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Web Presence Management: Understanding Facebook Timeline

Expert tips for setting up your shop’s Facebook Timeline fan page.

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BSB Contributing Editor Mark Claypool has more than 30 years of experience in the fields of workforce development, apprenticeships, marketing and Web presence management with SkillsUSA, the I-CAR Education Foundation, Mentors at Work, VeriFacts Automotive and the NABC. He is the CEO of Optima Automotive (www.optimaautomotive.com), which provides website design, SEO services and social media management services.

Across the top of your Facebook page is what’s known as the “cover.” It’s large and in charge, the perfect spot to highlight your building, staff, work, etc. It’s the first thing people see…and we know that first impressions are everything. Choose carefully and win.

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The dimensions of the cover are 851 x 315 pixels. Anything different than that can be altered a bit up and down. When you upload your chosen image, you’ll be given the opportunity to preview it before actually publishing it on your page.

Guidelines
Facebook has stringent guidelines on what can and can’t be included on the cover. To read these guidelines, visit www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php. The cover is considered, by Facebook, to be public and visible to anyone. Therefore, it must not contain any advertising. Also, no purchase or pricing information, free offers or contact information like your physical address or phone, e-mail address or web address can be included.

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You also can’t include an arrow pointing to your “Like” button like you used to be able to do on the old “welcome” pages. Facebook can take down your site if you commit any violations. Those old welcome pages were dedicated to first-time visitors to your Facebook page. You can still have a welcome page, but it won’t be what first-time visitors see, which makes this page virtually worthless anymore.

However, you can still set up customized tabs, or apps, with their own unique URLs. These could be helpful if you want to create coupons with dedicated links from your website or e-mail campaign. Here are some other things you can do with the new Timeline:

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Milestones. You can be a time traveler with Facebook’s new Timeline format. It’s set up in chronological order by months, and then back by years. You can set up milestones like “Shop Opened” or “Opened Second Location” and put in the date. These milestones, when posted, go out in your news feed, giving you additional exposure and, hopefully, participation.

Pinning posts. Want to highlight an event or special for a few days? The new Timeline makes it easy by simply pinning them across the top of your posts for up to seven days. Keep it fresh, though; you may want to feature these for only two to three days at a time.

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Highlighting posts. Most posts are currently showing up in either the left or right column on the new Timeline. However, you as the page administrator may opt to make particular posts show up as “double wide,” or displaying across both of the Timeline columns. Simply hover over the star icon on a post and click to highlight it.

Posts made by others. When others post on your Facebook page, those posts will appear in the upper right in a box appropriately named, “Recent Posts by Others.” You can scroll through these and never leave your wall by simply clicking “More Posts” on the bottom left of the box and then scrolling through the posts by using either your mouse wheel or the scroll bar on screen. You can also click “See All” and a pop-up box will appear.

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Weekly insight. Through its “Insights” feature, Facebook also provides you with an easy way to see how much participation and exposure your site is getting. Access it by clicking on your “Admin Panel,” then clicking on “See All” in the “Insights” box.

Doing It Right
Here’s an example of a shop that’s effectively utilizing Facebook’s Timeline to connect with its customers.

D&M Auto Body in Rockaway, New Jersey, has this all figured out (www.facebook.com/DMAutoBodyNJ). On the screenshot of their Facebook page, you’ll see their “cover” is the front of their building with their staff in the foreground. This makes a very strong and personal first impression. Their icon, which gets shown every time they post something and therefore boosts their brand recognition, is their logo. They currently have 116 “Likes.” And their followers actively participate on their site.

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D&M owner Dave Rush admits he doesn’t necessarily “get it” when it comes to social media, but concedes that 900 million Facebook users can’t be wrong. He has come to terms with the fact that he must participate in this wild frontier of marketing. He’s appointed someone on his staff to manage their social media and has also enlisted the services of an outside company to make sure posts are regular. They also post customers’ cars so that their friends will see them, which enhances brand awareness.

Your Timeline
So what are you going to do with your Facebook Timeline? Shoot me some examples on Optima’s
Facebook page, www.facebook.com/optimaauto. Be sure to “Like” the page while you’re there.
Next month we’ll cover, “What You Don’t Know, You Don’t Know.” Trust me on this one…you won’t want to miss it!

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BSB Contributing Editor Mark Claypool has nearly 30 years of experience in the fields of workforce training, business/education partnerships, apprenticeships, training and web presence management. He is the CEO of Optima Automotive, which provides website design, development, search engine optimization (SEO) services and social media management services. He also serves as the regional sales manager for Metro Paint Supplies in Chicago. Claypool’s work history includes VP of VeriFacts Automotive, founder of Mentors At Work (now a division of VeriFacts), executive director of the I-CAR Education Foundation and the National Auto Body Council (NABC), co-founder of the Collision Industry Foundation and national director of development for SkillsUSA. Claypool served, on a volunteer basis, as the Skills-USA World Team Leader for the WorldSkills Championships.

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