The new Facebook Timeline will require a little extra time and a little more creativity.

With news that the Facebook timeline will be making its somewhat ‘forced’ debut starting March 30, I figured as a social media marketer at Patterson Riegel Advertising, that I should probably start taking a more serious look at the changes that are going to be taking place within a few short weeks. I knew this transition wasn’t going to be easy, so I decided to designate a few hours to researching all there is to know about the new timeline; the good, the bad and the downright confusing.

At first, I had fairly high expectations for this new page development. I ended up slightly disappointed after taking my first afternoon to explore this new layout. I realized this new format is going to be a lot harder to implement than businesses may think.  For starters, the obvious change is the forced transformation from building a personable relationship with fans to basically telling a story visually and for those who care, chronologically.  It’s a mixture of random information that could very well confuse users, not so much focus them. The art of marketing is to give people just what they need, when they need it, not overwhelm them or even bore with old information that will distract them. Are our fans really concerned with what happened with our business in 2009? Probably not. But it’s too late, timeline is no longer going to be a choice. I do hold out a small gleam of hope that followers won’t jump off the bandwagon due to a mere ‘design flaw’ in the layout.

A few Facebook format changes:

  • Cover photo and profile image: We’re all used to the Facebook profile image, but it will now be partnered up with a cover photo. A cover photo will be one large image to help introduce your business in a larger than life type format.
  • Videos and pictures: Posted videos and pictures on your page will now be larger and easier to view.
  • Milestones: As I mentioned before, viewers may not be too concerned with the semi-annual sale your company had two years ago, but there is a new option to post business milestones on the timeline feature.  This will allow fans to become aware of the bigger events happening with your company.
  • Applications: Remember the tabs found on the left side of the old Facebook format? Sadly, they are no more. Facebook now gives users the option of creating/using up to 12 tabs. The downside to this is that only four of the 12 tabs are actually visual on your main page. The chances of the other eight getting noticed is purely up to those willing to take the time to go searching through the depths of your page.
  • Offers: As of right now, only a few businesses are allowed access to the new Facebook Offers. Facebook ensures us that this will be changing shortly. Basically, Facebook Offers is a more extended version of Facebook Deals.

I suppose we might as well take full advantage of timeline, but with the warning that it will require a little extra time and a little more creativity. Companies (and individuals for that matter) that will take the appropriate amount of time to use timeline to their full advantage will eventually start to find Facebook producing results in the form of conversions once again. For those businesses that don’t anticipate taking the giant leap into the new layout will likely continue to see only minor business gains. For what it is worth, take advice from a social media marketer in Fort Wayne, Indiana and take that giant leap.

While you contemplate whether or not to take the timeline plunge early, take a look at some creative cover photos. Cover Photos

Patterson Riegel’s Social Media Survival Guide

Unless your business is still stuck in the Mad Men era, you are aware of a little marketing trend we like to call social media. Most companies are starting to understand the importance of marketing their business on such sites, but are they making sure their pages are working to the full potential?

The biggest mistake a company can make when venturing into the social media world is to try to sell their product.  When it comes to social media, it is much better and more effective to publish valuable, relatable information instead of turning into the Billy Mays of Facebook. (May he rest in peace.)

Social media marketing is all about getting people interested in what you have to say. Is this the content that’s going to make your potential customers say, “That’s pretty interesting, I wasn’t aware that so many car parts are recyclable.”

So, if you’re not going to write about your products or services, what do you write about? Easy. Find something important to the customer. Be on top of what’s new, upcoming, or controversial in the busy lives of your customers. Ideally, you want a topic people feel strongly about, in hopes of creating a string of opinions.

Most importantly, you want your customers to come back and to get in the habit of coming back. This is how your business can form a sturdy fan base, focus on building their trust and ultimately you will engage them in your company.

Full-service advertising and marketing agency, Patterson Riegel Advertising in Fort Wayne, Indiana is pulling out all the stops when it comes to providing businesses with the most beneficial use of social media marketing. Patterson Riegel understands that companies don’t have time to keep up with a well-balanced social media presence, so why not offer to do it for them?