Facebook is undergoing some major changes, the most significant of which affects fanbased pages — which are what you have for your business.
As of March 30, all fanbased pages will convert to the timeline interface. That means, major changes to the look of your page, but will also affect what is behind the scenes for you to manipulate.
We’d like to share some of the things we recently learned in webinars with Mari Smith and Social Media Examiner.
- Timeline interface will require a new cover image (about 851px x 315px) that has a space for seating a logo chop (required to be 180px square). Your old image will be cropped in a less than effective way after March 30, so you may consider having these two pieces of artwork chosen and uploaded in advance.
- Contests can no longer be handled in the casual way that folks have been doing them on fanbased pages in the past. You will be required to use a Facebook app (short for application) to implement contests. Facebook has noted that they will shut down fanbased pages not complying with this.
- It appears that image coupons can continue to be posted in an album and be the focus post of a certain time period, as done in the past.
- Having a large fanbase is NOT the essence of good Facebook marketing! (Please read this twice!) Having a large Engagement Rate is the essence of good Facebook marketing! As Mari Smith says, “Content is King, and Engagement Rate is Queen.” There are three numbers in your left sidebar. An example:
People who like this 3,100 — People who are talking about this 12 — People who have been here 10,400
This set of statistics represents a very low Engagement Rate. “People who have been here” without “talking about this” is money left on the table. For the record, Starbucks has the largest Engagement Rate on Facebook.
- Content on Facebook is Google searchable! Which is why “Content is King“. 80 character posts are recommended for getting the most interaction. Relevant content is something vital to your campaigns.
- Buttons used previously for LIKE us on Facebook are deemed not to be as effective a means of collecting organic fans as LIKE gated-apps. The old LIKE button is passive, in that a person is directed to your FB wall and has the option to click LIKE or not. New gated-apps will direct potential fans to an offer; when that image or code is clicked on, they will receive a premium of some sort and automatically become a fan. These gated-apps must be coded on a secure server (HTTPS). If you have not purchased an SSL (Secure Socket Layer – a protocol for encrypting information over the Internet) and have it installed on your server, you will not be able to deploy these gated-apps. For clients of StudioSR, we have purchased an SSL and have it installed on https://secure.studiosr.com; our clients app coding can reside in this location on the server.
- Increasing the organic fanbase this year can be accomplished or encouraged with other elements besides the LIKE button — these include SHARE, RECOMMEND, and SUBSCRIBE elements. These need to be activated either within the admin section of your page or by installing snippets of code on your website.
- Facebook ads and deals are excellent ways to reach your organic fans. There are only five cities that employ deals at this time. If you see “deals” in the admin sidebar of your page, you are one of the lucky ones. Otherwise, use ads. They are excellent for reaching your target audience. You can set these up in your admin panel also. Be advised that Facebook must approve your ad prior to its being published. An ad is an offer that is described with text and an appropriate image.
- Encourage fans to LIKE your page via SMS text options. Advertise that they can text to 32665: like [space] YourUsername. For Dewberry Farm, this would be:
- Larger farms may set up private GROUPS (like the MAiZE siteowners group) for their employees. Great way to communicate with everyone these days, as most folks have Facebook apps on their cell phones.
- Farm or business Check-Ins are an excellent way to build fanbase growth and increase your Engagement Rate. If you have not looked at this option before, think about setting it up before your season commences.
- Search to see if you have a PLACE page on Facebook and claim it as your own! Place pages have the RECOMMEND element and are important for you to have control of! Place pages and fanbased pages cannot be merged at this time, but that option is in the works. Note that adding a physical address to a fanbase bage makes it automatically a place page.
- Did you know that you can create your own store inside your Facebook page? Yes, you can use apps to set up a storefront and sell from Facebook. You may think of selling souvenir items, like tin cups, coffee mugs, teeshirts, etc.
- Find out about Foursquare. It’s a Facebook integration that puts a check-in scorecard on Timelines. Great to have on your page.