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[private]Last month, the Newt Gingrich presidential campaign garnered a lot of media attention when it launched its Mitt Romney “Timeline.” NewsMax headlined its story on the development thusly: “Gingrich’s New Weapon Against Romney – Facebook’s Timeline.”
Now, if you’re not an active participant in social media, including Facebook, you probably have no idea what any of this even means. But it’s clear that Timeline is a potentially effective campaign tool, and those of you who ARE familiar with it should read the tips below from marketing expert Ryan Deiss on ways to use it to great advantage.
And for those you who aren’t Facebook aficionados – or even those of you who are but want to learn more – I’ll be conducting a live “House Call” tele-interview with the Internet guru who developed the Romney Timeline for the Gingrich campaign, Vince Harris, next Tuesday at 2 pm EST/11 a.m. Pacific.
Dr. Chuck Muth, PsD
Professor of Psephology
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Three Tips For Converting Your Page To Timeline
By Ryan Deiss
Remember those little notices that have been popping up all over your Facebook page for the past month? You know, the ones encouraging you to upgrade your page to Timeline?
Well, it’s no longer optional, folks… Timeline is here and it’s MANDATORY.
If you’re a conscientious Facebook administrator, you’ve probably been perfecting your Timeline page for weeks.
If so, you’ve already discovered that Timeline has some pretty cool features for marketers. You’ve probably also discovered that Timeline is FAR from perfect…
If you’re a procrastinator — don’t worry. I’ve got some tips that will make the switch to Timeline quick and easy.
What is Timeline?
Simply put, Timeline is Facebook’s answer to Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram.
Timeline is a new, graphic-heavy redesign that Facebook hopes will set the bar for the next era in social media’s short history.
You see, photo-sharing sites like the ones mentioned above have started to pull lots of traffic away from Facebook. Obviously, Facebook doesn’t like that. That’s why Zuckerman and Co. created Timeline.
With Timeline, we (both users and brands) can tell our stories in a more visual way. Updates, photos, and shares appear on the timeline in chronological order.
What’s more, you can backdate your photos and updates all the way back to the founding of your company.
If Timeline is successful, users will spend more time on Facebook and less time on those other sites.
Why Timeline is Worth Getting Excited About
As I explained above, Timeline is an opportunity to tell your brand’s story in a more engaging way. It’s easier to grab attention, build an identity, and connect with users.
If you take all of the things that Facebook was already good at and make them better — then you have Timeline.
In other words, it’s a KILLER tool for inbound marketing.
Facebook is NOT Amazon. It’s not all about clicking through to buy products… Instead of an interruptive TV commercial, Timeline is more like product placement.
It’s where you can showcase your identity and brag about how cool your company is, like Sharpie’s and Starbucks have done with their Timelines.
If you browse through a few of the top Timeline pages, you’ll immediately see how much more control brands have over their identities.
Now, you may not be able to rival these guys right away… but at least you get the idea.
Here are three tips to get you headed in the right direction with your Timeline page.
1. It’s All About the Cover
The number 1 reason that Facebook built Timeline is to enhance the VISUAL appeal of Pages. Period.
That should clue you in to just how important the new Timeline cover images are, to Facebook and to brands. With Timeline, Facebook is giving you a massive 850 X 315 banner image to make an impression — USE IT.
Choose a horizontally oriented — almost panoramic — graphic that’s both eye-catching and sets the tone for the rest of your Timeline.
The trick is to be bold, engaging, and creative WITHOUT violating any of Facebook’s terms of service. Yes, unfortunately, Facebook has placed lots of limits on what types of content marketers can display on their Timeline covers…
Don’t worry, you CAN include you company logo and tagline. Here’s a short list of the information you can’t include in your Timeline Cover:
* No contact info
* No prices of offer information
* No references to FB features such as “Like” or “Share,” no arrows pointing to them either
Basically Facebook wants to maintain a clean, consistent look throughout its pages.
They DON’T want Facebook to look like Myspace used to. Remember how hideous that was?
2. Profile Pic and Custom Apps
You profile pic and your custom apps are still around — but they’ve undergone some minor changes with Timeline.
For starters, they’ve actually changed shape and size. The new app icons are 111 X 74 pixels. Timeline profile pics are 180 X 180 pixels.
Another major change has to do with landing pages… i.e. they don’t exist on Timeline.
From now on, users will land on you Timeline page. Your landing page apps (tabs), in case you’re wondering, have now become standard, run-of-the-mill apps.
Custom apps, as well as your profile pic, are where you can go hog wild with offers, contact info, and other action-oriented marketing messages.
Here’s some more good news: you CAN recycle your old custom apps.
However, because the new app and icon sizes are much larger with Timeline, your old apps may look puny and off-center. The easiest remedy for this is just to center them in the frame — an easy task for any entry-level programmer.
3. New Admin Options
With Timeline, any Facebook user can post content to your Timeline (Wall). They don’t need to be fans or friends or anything like that.
These comments will appear in a big box named, “Recent Posts by Others.” Creative title, huh? The RPBO box is featured prominently at the top of the right column of your Timeline.
Does this make you uncomfortable? If so, you’ll be glad to know that you can moderate comments or make the box disappear entirely.
When you login to your Timeline, the first thing you’ll see is your admin panel. This is where you can manage/moderate/hide user content.
To do this, click the “Manage” button and select “Edit Page” from the drop down menu. Then, look for the “Manage Permissions” panel and make your changes.
Timeline is the HUGE change, but a good one. It enhances what Facebook does well, and it gives brands much more room to tell their own story.
Basically, Facebook just gave us the tools to make our pages look 100X better — and it’s EASY. The sooner you make these simple changes, the sooner you’ll see the benefits!
About the Author
Ryan Deiss is a 10 year Internet Marketing Veteran. At the age of 30, Ryan has become a widely followed and respected IM Guru releasing countless reports and courses on subjects ranging from Social Media to Continuity Programs and SEO.
Through his courses, Ryan has gained renown exposure with his gift to create courses that simplify the complex and provide blueprints that marketers of all levels can follow to success.
Ryan publishes, speaks, blogs, writes, records video courses and makes friends. In 2009, he started Idea Incubator LP, under which he uses his expertise to market, advertise and distribute Information products online.