March 27, 2012

How to shape your nonprofit’s message in Timeline

Target audience: Nonprofits, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, cause organizations, brands, businesses, Web publishers — anyone with a Facebook page.

Editor’s note: Facebook is switching over all nonprofit and business pages to the new Timeline format this Friday, March 30. Because so many organizations haven’t yet made the move, or are still figuring out the best approach, we’re devoting this week to help you get ready to make the transition smartly. Contact Socialbrite if you need help.

In this series:
• Monday: 7 tips & cheat sheets to help you implement the new Timeline
• Wednesday: Tips on maximizing the new Timeline
• Thursday: What story should you tell in Facebook Timeline?

Guest post by Nancy Schwartz
President, GettingAttention.org

There’s no stopping it. As of March 30, your organization’s Facebook page will be transitioned to the new timeline format, featuring an engaging cover photo (if you do it right) like the Surfrider Foundation, above.

This will happen whether you’re ready or not, so I urge you to prepare and use these remaining days as an opportunity to strengthen your organization’s Facebook presence. Here’s how to shape your new page around photos and images that engage and motivate your community:

Find photos that tell your story best

Photos have incredible power in their ability to draw us, almost subconsciously, into stories. Digesting visual content, rather than the narrative content we’re more used to, allows us to engage more freely and fully than usual.

The new Facebook template invites brands like yours to place a large “cover photo” at the top of the page, up to a size of 851 x 315 pixels. That’s about 50 percent of the screen on my huge iMac screen, which means it could cover up to 80 percent of the vertical space of the average laptop. That doesn’t leave much space to view other elements on the page, so you have to make it good.

Beyond the real estate, your cover photo is a vital hook in drawing your Facebook community (and visitors) into your organization’s story — now conveyed as a Timeline on Facebook — and drives them to learn more about the organization and take action.

Select a photo or collage of photos that conveys the core message of your organization’s impact in a way that’s relevant, specific and emotionally compelling. Before you choose a photo, join your colleagues to pinpoint what you’re trying to achieve, and then what strategies and results should be conveyed in the photo.

Search for, or take, an image that is strong enough to transport members of your network so they can experience what it’s like to step in another’s shoes. That’s what the best storytelling does, and what you can do with visual storytelling Facebook style:

Shape and use your cover photo well

Most photos and video are stronger when framed by some context. That’s why video starts with a title screen and generally finishes with a close, and why many photos and illustrations feature captions. The messaging has to be just enough: not too much to prevent the viewer from fully experiencing the photo, but not so little that the viewer is barred from entrance by confusion or frustration.

A succinct, targeted message that complements your photo provides credibility. Even more important, it frames the image to direct the viewer toward the action you want them to take, often leading directly to the “aha” moment.

But Facebook requires a soft sell — no calls to action

Facebook has always been big on rules, and this transition is no exception. Here are the rules for cover photos:

Cover images … may not contain:

  • Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”
  • Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section
  • References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features
  • Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”

Well, that wipes out the most vital messaging there is: your website — still your home base online — and your call to action. It’s ironic that this ban comes from the organization that turned “Like” into the biggest call to action ever. Continue reading

March 26, 2012

7 tips & cheat sheets to help you implement the new Timeline


Socialbrite has not yet switched over to the new Timeline — but we will by Friday!

It’s time to leap into action — the switchover happens Friday

Target audience: Nonprofits, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, cause organizations, brands, businesses, Web publishers, educators, journalists, general public.

Editor’s note: Facebook is switching over all nonprofit and business pages to the new Timeline format this Friday, March 30. Because so many organizations haven’t yet made the move, or are still figuring out the best approach, we’re devoting this week to help you get ready to make the transition smartly. Contact Socialbrite if you need help.

In this series:
• Tuesday: How to shape your nonprofit’s message in Timeline
• Wednesday: Tips on maximizing the new Timeline
• Thursday: What story should you tell in Facebook Timeline?

Also:
Make Facebook Timeline about your community
How to create Facebook Timeline covers for your nonprofit’s supporters to use
11 ways Facebook Timeline changes your content strategy

Guest post by Beth Kanter
bethkanter.org

If you are an administrator for your organization’s Facebook page, you’ve no doubt noticed the alert that invites you to preview the look of your new page with the option of publishing it for all the world to see. Between now and March 30, only page administrators can see the changes, if you haven’t set it live yet. On Friday, Facebook will flip the switch for everyone. Many large nonprofits and big brands already have.

Livestrong is one of the nonprofit early adopters that has published its brand page using the new format. Others are exploring and testing and fixing glitches or simply checking out the new features, like the administrator’s dashboard. Time is runnnig out, so you have a few days left to review the changes, figure out a strategy and implement the changes.

Recommendations on optimizing your new Timeline

Here are my suggestions:

1Strategy and work flow. Understand how the changes impact your editorial strategy and how you will administrator the page. I shared a couple of resources and tips that you can use to have a brief strategy discussion with your team. After you have identified how you will integrate your branding strategy, revise your editorial/content strategy, and administrative work flow, you’re ready to get into some nitty gritty.

2Take the tour. Block out an hour to sit down and take the tour and preview your page. I would print out a copy of this useful guide published by Facebook that summarizes the feature changes. Go through the tour and take notes. See if your old profile image works with the new format. You might also want to check out how some brands have already implemented the changes. Mashable has this post on preparing for your new page. Continue reading

March 21, 2012

How to clean up your Facebook Timeline

Make your Facebook page easier to scan with these simple steps

Target audience: Nonprofits, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, cause organizations, brands, businesses, public figures — anyone with a Facebook Page.

John HaydonIf you have a Facebook page (rather than a simple profile), you should be preparing for the switchover to Facebook Timeline, which is coming to all pages on March 30.

Did you know you can fix up the look of your Timeline? Not the cover image at top, but the two rows of updates underneath. This 3-minute video shows you how to clean up your Facebook page Timeline by:

  • Hiding posts
  • Changing dates
  • Creating full-width posts
  • Repositioning photos

Do you have any other tips?

Related

Make Facebook Timeline about your community (Socialbrite)

11 ways Facebook Timeline changes your content strategy (Socialbrite)

What Facebook Timeline apps are really all about (Socialbrite)

March 2, 2012

Facebook Welcome Pages are dead — say hello to Timeline

We’ll help you transition to Timeline, coming (like it or not) on March 30

Target audience: Everyone.

John HaydonFacebook made the stunning announcement this week that, as of March 30, all nonprofits or businesses will no longer have a Welcome Page (if you had one). Instead, everyone who visits your page will see the new Timeline page with the big cover photo.

Everything you know about using and administrating your Facebook Page will change at the end of this month. So this article is devoted to sorting it all out for you.

Highlights and features of the new page layout

You can check out a preview of your page here to see all of the upcoming changes to pages. You can choose to push your page live before March 30 so that all users see your new page with the Timeline format.

The changes include:

Cover photo – Pages include the ability to upload a cover photo that is similar to what many profiles have. The dimensions for the image should be 850 by 315 pixels.

When choosing a cover image, Facebook tells you (see below) that you are not supposed to use the cover for promotions, which is strange because Facebook Pages are a marketing tool for businesses.

New profile pic dimensions – Your page avatar (profile photo) will now be 180 pixels square.

You are not supposed to use a Timeline cover for promotions, which is strange because Facebook Pages are a marketing tool for businesses.

Tabs with photos – Facebook page tabs will now be across the top, just below your cover image. You can have a maximum of 12 tabs, and they can be rearranged so that the four most important ones will be visible to people who visit your Page.

Pinning – You can also “pin” (hello Pinterest!) posts to the top of your page, giving you more control over what’s displayed above the fold.

When you hover over an update and click on the pencil icon, you can pin it to the top of your page. You can also hide or delete it the update entirely.

Page messages – Pages will also include a messaging feature, which gives visitors the ability to send you private messages; this is optional and can be turned off. Continue reading