5 Ways B2B Companies Can Use Facebook Timeline

Facebook rolled out its new timeline for B2B Business Pages, so these Pages now have a similar look to personal profiles where content is organized and viewable by date. It is becoming a more visual platform and they continue to promote the idea that photos and videos create stronger connections with customers, prospects, fans and likers. B2B companies who want to succeed on Facebook must now develop and share content that doesn’t just provide value, but that catches peoples’ eyes. A recent study has already shown that many large brands don’t get that much fan engagement on Facebook, so this can be even more challenging for many B2B companies.

Page administrators have the next 30 days to get their timeline plans in place before all Pages switch to this new format. Very few B2B companies have made this switch so far, but we will look at some of the new features and how to best use them by looking at a few examples of companies who have made the change.

1. Create a Stunning Cover Photo

The cover photo is huge opportunity to create an impression about your B2B company. If you don’t currently have a strong brand representation that you can use in this spot, use a cool photo that shows something about your company. This wide photo at the top of the page is 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall. You can use an existing photo from your page, as long as it is 399 pixels wide, and it will get stretched to the proper size. Don’t do this. It will not make a good impression on your page visitors. This can be an opportunity to meet with a graphic designer and get some ideas of the kinds of things you can put here.

2. Link to Your New Landing Page

This is the most important part of this post. If you currently have a series of tabs and a welcome page, many people are saying these are going away. Sort of. Facebook had already changed its requirements so that tabs had to be hosted elsewhere and displayed on the Page as apps. This is a good thing. With the change to timeline, these no longer appear on the left hand side. They appear underneath the cover photo with four showing all the time, and that can expand with a click to see all 12 apps associated with a Page. The tabs themselves can now be expanded from 520 pixels wide to 810 pixels. Just like always, each one of these apps has a unique URL. This means you can direct people to any particular one. If you want to use a landing page, maybe even one with a lead form, you still can. But this means that you no longer direct people just to facebook.com/companypage, but you use the URL directly to the app. This is easy to do from your website by linking a Facebook icon to this, but harder to do in print. A custom short URL could be used, though.

3. Pin a Post to the Top

B2B companies can now feature a post so it is always at the top left position whenever anyone visits the page. Click the “pencil” icon in the upper right corner of the post to pin it. The post will appear with a small bookmark to show that it is a pinned post. It will only remain there for 7 days, then it will return to its proper place in the timeline. Use this for campaigns, timely content or just things that you want to make sure everyone will see. But remember, most people still will see your content in their newsfeed, not on your Page, so pinning a post is not a substitute for continuing to publish valuable and interesting content. Pin your latest ebook to the top, but keep sharing blog posts and photos on your Page.

4. Star a Post To Highlight It

The normal timeline has a two column layout, but you can star a post to highlight it, and it will expand to the full widescreen width of the Page. Click the star in the upper right of the post to do this. While you can certainly do this with a written post, it makes more sense to create a graphic or image similar to your cover photo to highlight B2B company events or activities. Please don’t use this highlight your latest press release. None of your Facebook fans care about that kind of content. You have a huge opportunity to be creative with your Facebook content.

5. Add Company Milestones

What’s the name of the new Page? That’s right. It’s called a timeline. Not only does this mean posts are more connected to the date of posting, but you can add posts to any date you want. This creates a visual history of your B2B company on your Facebook Page. Make sure you add a founding date, and you can even add an image. Again, think about how you want to present the history of your company in a creative way. You are building connections with your fans, so keep it interesting.

For more information about the new timeline page features go to this Facebook help page. As you see more B2B Pages updating to the new timeline layout, add them in the comments below.

5 B2B Social Media Tactics Inspired by Facebook’s IPO

Now that Facebook has officially filed for their initial public offering, what does that mean for B2B marketers? Many IPOs bring a needed infusion of cash to companies, but according to their submitted documents, Facebook already has profits to the tune of $1 billion. 85% of their revenue comes from advertising. That means they encourage users to share information about themselves and Facebook uses the data to target users with advertising. Here are some ways you can better leverage the platform to reach your B2B prospects and customers now that Facebook will have to answer to public shareholders.

1. Explore Facebook Advertising

Normally I would work my way towards advertising as the last item in the list, but I am starting with it because it is so important to Facebook’s success. There are a number of ways you can use advertising on Facebook, but here are two that have been shown to be most successful. Sponsored Stories target the friends of your fans to grow your fan base. You can also target your own fans with updates to increase Page engagement. The Facebook ad platform lets you target by demographics and keywords, as well as set your budget so you can begin testing this to reach your B2B target audience.

2. Monitor Facebook Advertising Changes

Look for Facebook to roll out more targeted and creative ways to reach people on the platform. They have expanded their ads to the point that they are engaging and active, for example people can like a page right from an ad. Since this is so core to their business, look for a new, non-disruptive type of advertising that feels even more like regular Facebook updates. Facebook users may balk at new ideas, but if Facebook can come up with a way to show targeted, non-ad like content (as they are likely working on), advertisers would pay for that. They could be a pricey option for many B2B companies, but if you can keep up with all their tests on the advertising category of Inside Facebook then you can evaluate options for your company.

3. Get Ready for the Timeline

If you haven’t yet heard of the Facebook Timeline, it is the new way personal profiles are shown on Facebook and they are coming to Business Pages soon. If you don’t have the timeline yet on your personal profile yet, click the link above to get it. Not only is the layout more visual, but there is a great branding opportunity with the large cover image at the top of your page. Think how you want to portray your B2B company with a large horizontal image. Don’t assume the staff photo from the company holiday card is the best thing you’ve got. Get creative. But don’t make a Photoshop montage of your products either. The other big change about a timeline is that you can post items to past dates. This is a chance to build a company timeline with historic photos as part of your Facebook Page. This can give some depth to your presence on the social network.

4. Post More Often

With all the changes on Facebook, it is more imperative to post content more often than before, at least a few times per day. This means sharing blog posts from your company and other sources, posting photos and videos, asking engaging questions and showing the fun or human side of your B2B company. There is so much noise on Facebook, as well as an algorithm that only shows people content that Facebook thinks they are interested in, that you need to get people to engage with your content so Facebook will show it to them. There is a balance here. Look at the Facebook Pages of B2B companies that you admire for examples.

5. Drive Facebook Likes from Other Sources

One of the ways to ensure that you have an active Facebook for your B2B company is to make sure you remind people that it is there and they should like it. If you are still printing catalogs, include your Facebook Page address. Add it to email signatures. Display it at your tradeshows. Make sure employees know the kinds of things you share on the Page so they can tell customers and prospects. Start with your own network of employees, customers and partners, and grow the Page from there.

What have you been doing on your B2B Facebook Page and what do anticipate changing in the future?