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All the way back in June, we shared with you that there was a new Facebook design coming to your Business Pages.

There were some pretty big shifts in the layout, which meant changes to photo dimensions and priority of certain features.

We wrote about which elements you should focus on to prepare for the change, but after finding this infographic from Tech Wyse, we thought it was time to give you a little update on which Facebook features are most important and what you can do to maximize your appeal to your audience.

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When I logged into my Facebook account this morning, lo and behold, there was the new timeline right in front of me. After writing about the speculation and reports coming out of New Zealand a few weeks ago, I was wondering when I might be chosen to receive this new version of Timeline. Today’s the day!

Having asked around the office a bit, it seems that I’m among the first to have been activated (so flattered). In case you are among those still waiting to see the changes and wondering what some of your page’s fans may be experiencing, here is a brief overview:

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If there is one thing that’s consistent at Facebook, it’s change. And while some of these innovations cause major headaches for marketers, some actually make life easier. Today’s change, thankfully, is in that second category.

You may have noticed (or seen on Facebook guru Mari Smith’s page) that Facebook’s Cover Photo guidelines have recently slimmed down dramatically. We would love to tell you why Facebook make this change, but they’ve been remarkably mute on the topic.

Perhaps the previous, arduous rules became too difficult to enforce? Maybe they had a change of heart and saw the benefits to marketers of relaxing the rules? Who knows, but what we do know is that this is a great opportunity to get ahead of the curve and create a stellar new cover photo before your competition gets wind of the new guidelines.

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Today we’d like to wish Facebook’s Timeline a happy first birthday. Though technically it was introduced on February 29th, so we will have to do what we do to all leap-year babies and celebrate a day early.

How will Facebook be commemorating the birth of its major layout change? By making more layout changes, of course!

Now, before you clutch your laptop to your chest and shrink into the fetal position, this round of changes will not be nearly as disruptive to your small business Facebook page as the original Timeline introduction was. But it will bring some changes that marketers are likely to have strong opinions about.

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It’s 1pm…Do you know where your cover photo is?

If you haven’t visited your own Facebook profile page lately, you should know that there is a chance it’s no longer there.

For reasons that are, as yet, unspecified, it seems that Facebook has begun a bit of a social sting operation focused on ensuring that users and brands are following Facebook Cover Photo terms of service more reliably.

Terms of service, you ask? If this is the first you’re hearing of the guidelines for Facebook Cover Photos, you’re not alone. Individuals are less likely to be aware of things like Terms of Service than a brand would be for their Facebook business page, since legal liability is not really a chief concern when updating personal profiles. However, the rules are universal, regardless of the type of page you have.

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We’re smack in the middle of the season of giving, folks. If you have been tasked with fundraising for a non-profit, you are well aware that it’s time for that final push. But do you know just how valuable the month of December can be to your efforts?

We’ve talked before about how non-profits can use Facebook for a good cause year round. But as the infographic below from StayClassy clearly shows, December is the time to really dig in and give it everything you’ve got on social media.

Where should you focus your effort?  StayClassy suggests below that your best work should be aimed more at getting new fundraisers (evangelists, advocates), and less on specific donors. Why? Because fundraisers will likely be donors as well, and they will be compelled to reach out to their networks and get you exponentially more donors in the future. Social media is the perfect platform for doing this, as it’s a great way to connect with your followers (engagement!) and get them to rally around your cause and share your content with their networks (social discovery!)

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Pagemodo launched its Cover Photo Designer tool in August, 2012, to help users create striking and professional Facebook cover photos for personal and Facebook business pages. Since the tool was introduced, thousands of cover photos have been created using the original 9 templates. Here are 10 great examples from real Pagemodo users.

On Tuesday, November 20th, the Pagemodo design team was pleased to add 5 new templates to the tool, giving users even more options for creating a timeline cover photo that really expresses their page’s personality. Like the first 9, these templates can be customized by choosing a stylish background image or solid color, adding images from the user’s files or the Fotolia free image library, and adding text or a logo. The sample below was made using the Pyramid template:

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Last week on Vistaprint’s MicroBusiness blog, the company’s Social Media Manager Jeff Esposito discussed 5 reasons why it is important to include visuals in your physical marketing materials. We agree, and would also extend the motivations in his article to your online marketing presence as well.

And when we’re talking about your online spaces, a sixth reason to use images comes up: Social reach. As we discussed in a previous post, Facebook’s newly calibrated EdgeRank algorithm greatly prioritizes social posts that include an image. So if you want more people to see your post (and be more likely to share it), it’s a good idea to get creative and find a visual to accompany it.

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Before Facebook Timeline became mandatory for all users in early 2012, marketers had really begun to embrace the use of custom tabs for welcome landing pages. It seemed every successful brand with a budget for custom development had a splashy welcome page that advertised a current promotion or encouraged you to like their page. And then poof, they all disappeared with the arrival of Timeline and the playing field was evened. Those custom landing pages still exist, of course, but they are now equated with “apps” instead of “tabs” and they live under the cover photo instead of along the top or down the side. Most importantly, they cannot be set as the first page visitors encounter.

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When Facebook’s Timeline format became mandatory for businesses, the response was somewhat mixed. But as marketers have become more familiar with the format’s potential, its popularity has grown a great deal. Whether you are among the converted already, or are looking to find ways to use Timeline to its fullest, here is a summary of the changes and ways they can work to your advantage.

Page Changes:

  1. No More Default Landing Pages: All fans will be taken to the timeline wall by default, so think of ways you can pin content that will welcome fans when they reach your page. Make sure to keep your content fresh!
  2. Cover Photo: Fan pages now have a large cover photo image that can be used to showcase a picture of your business, logo or other image that brands your page. Here are some best practices for cover photos. Keep in mind that cover photos cannot contain price or purchase information, contact info, references to ‘Likes’ or any calls to action.
  3. Milestone Feature: Now you can display the evolution of your brand through milestones. When you specify a milestone, you can add a headline, location, date, details of the milestone and a photo for your fans to see. This is a great feature to maximize engagement – think about ways to you can encourage your fans to browse your history for milestones (e.g. contests)
  4. Direct Page Messages: You now have an option to allow for fans to message you directly on your business page, much like Facebook profiles.

Post Changes:

  1. Star/Highlight: Increase the size and visibility of a story or post.
  2. Hide: Hide a post from your Timeline without deleting it permanently.
  3. Pin: Keep a story or post at the top of your timeline for up to 7 days at a time. This will be the first post users will see when they come to your business page. Great for big events, product launches, or contests.

More Information:

We’ve been following the changes to Facebook pages for some time now. Here are some great posts to check out for more information about this important change to your Facebook presence:

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