After someone Likes your fan page, they rarely return to your page unless you direct them to do so.
Does that mean your Timeline design isn’t important because it’s not constantly being seen?
I think it actually makes your Timeline design even more important.
If you want to catch the eye of potential fans who visit your Timeline, you need to look sharp and provide key information at a glance.
Here are five things you need to pay attention to when you’re creating or updating your Facebook fan page.
As the largest element of your Timeline, your cover photo sets the tone for your entire page. This is the place to showcase whatever you’re trying to convey as your brand because every other element on your Page should reinforce the vibe you establish with your cover photo.
The dimensions of your cover photo are 851×315 pixels. If you upload something smaller, Facebook stretches your image and it will be distorted. If you upload a large image, it may not show correctly (e.g., it may be cut off in weird places). You’ll have the option to reposition the larger image, but it won’t look quite right. It’s best to just upload an image with the correct dimensions.
There are rules about what you can and can’t have in your cover photo; basically, you can’t use your cover photo as an advertisement. Facebook doesn’t want your cover to be salesy in nature. Instead, your cover photo should be interesting and draw attention to your brand. Your cover photo cannot include the following:
- Your URL
- Coupon codes, offers, or promotions (e.g., 30% off)
- Contact information (this includes your website or blog address, email, or any other information that is better suited for your Page’s About section)
- Calls to action, such as Like or Share this page; an arrow pointing the Like button; Get it now; Tell your friends; or Download now.
When you upload your cover image, you’ll see a note from Facebook reminding you that your cover photo “is not meant for promotions, coupons, or advertisements. Your cover photo should not be primarily text-based or infringe on anyone else’s copyright.”
The Skool of Life cover photo does exactly what it’s supposed to do. You can tell what the page is about, who owns it, and what the philosophy is.
Your profile image is as important as your cover photo because it’s what is seen in your fans’ News Feed. Your profile image should reinforce your brand so your fans can easily recognize it in the News Feed; they’re more likely to interact with your updates if they can recognize you at a glance.
The dimensions of your profile vary depending on where you’re viewing it. On your Timeline, it shows up as 160×160 pixels; in the News Feed it’s reduced to 30×30 pixels. The trick is to create an image that can be scaled and still be recognizable. It’s best to create and upload an image that is 180×180 pixels, then adjust it as necessary. While on your Page Timeline, move your mouse over your profile image and click the Edit Profile Picture option that shows up. From there you can either upload a new image or edit your current thumbnail as necessary. You may have to play around with it a bit to get it just right. I suggest creating a test Page that you don’t publish so you can test images as needed without messing up your published page before you have things the way you want them. When you’re testing, look at how the profile image appears on the Timeline as well as in the News Feed and adjust the image as necessary.
When you see Bargaineering come through your News Feed, for example, you know it’s them because their profile image reflects their logo:
Your About section appears just under your profile image on your Timeline. This is the perfect spot to tell new visitors what you share and how to find you in other places; you can also share your tagline or elevator pitch. Keep it short, though. While you can include up to 255 characters in your About description, only 133 of those show on the main Timeline. Visitors will have to click the About link to see the entire description. I like to keep the About info short enough that visitors can see the whole thing on the main Timeline.
I suggest including a link to your blog. After all, Facebook isn’t where you’re doing your core writing, it’s just an extension of your established website or blog, right? Give people a way to see the bigger picture. Pocket Your Dollars has a simple About sentence that tells you what you need to know and links to her website. The About section in the Skool of Life cover photo earlier in this article is a good one, too.
Just under your cover photo you’ll see your list of applications. The images associated with those apps are called tabs. This section of your page is another opportunity to create a cohesive brand experience. When you create your Page Timeline, Facebook automatically shows a few applications (e.g., Photos, Likes, etc.). The Photos tab is static — you can’t change it’s position or title; it’s image is determined by the photo you most recently posted. The other tabs, though, are completely editable. You can change their position, and, if you’re using a third-party app, you can change the title and tab image as well.
I encourage you to use this opportunity to your advantage. Creating tabs that reinforce your brand make your page look cohesive and professional. The dimensions for your tab images are 111×74 pixels. Create images that are consistent with your brand or logo — or at least have the same colors. Doesn’t the RetailMeNot page look snazzy?
To edit a tab, click the down arrow next to the first row of tabs under your cover photo. Then mouseover the tab you want edit and click the pencil icon that appears. From the menu that appears, choose Edit Settings. A dialog box pops up and from here you can change the title of the tab, as well as the image. If you want to move the tab to a different position in the list, click the pencil icon and when you see the list of your apps, click the one you want to swap positions with. You may have to play around with this to get a feel for how it works, but once you do, you’ll see it’s easy peasy.
Every Facebook fan page has the option to create a customized URL. These are often referred to as vanity URLs. When you first create your page, the URL looks something like this: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Page-Name/26930349467?fref=ts
That’s not terribly intuitive. If you create a vanity URL, you can change that to a more memorable URL such as http://fb.com/BloggingBasics101. The vanity URL makes it much easier to include the address on your business cards and other places you may want to share.
If you’re looking to portray your page as professionally as possible, a vanity URL is a key component of that strategy. At this point in the game, your visitors expect to see a vanity URL. The easier you make it for people to find you (or remember how to find you), the more likely they are to visit you.
Bonus Tip: Liking Other Pages
I’ve noticed that a lot of finance bloggers are Liking and commenting on other Pages as their own Page instead of with their personal profile. While this is a great optimizer for your own page, it does little to help the Page you’re interacting with. In an effort to help keep stats accurate, Facebook doesn’t count Likes and comments from other Pages as interaction. So throw your friends a bone and Like and comment on their Pages as your personal profile.
I’ve put together a Facebook special interest list for finance blogs why not show them some love and be sure you’ve Liked their page as your personal profile?