Facebook Timeline Mashup

Timeline got you down? Don’t have time to learn all the new tips and tricks? I can’t beam the info into your brain, but since I appreciate you all so much I’m sharing my research. I’m sure there a few more articles published in the last couple of days, but this is a good start regarding Facebook’s Timeline for pages.

Don’t let Facebook Timeline leave you bloodied and defeated – rise up!

Timeline Brand Guide from Mashable – Quick overview. Did you know you can only fill out your page’s milestones until 1800?

Have a social media plan for Facebook. Excellent idea, Mashable. Great resource.

Hats off to Mashable, they were all over this! Read why you need to pay attention to the newsfeed!!

If you don’t know what Edgerank is – read this. Learn about Edgerank – it’s important! This wasn’t changed by Timeline – but it’s a foundational kind of building block you should know about Facebook.

Mashable again – I’m beginning to think I should be getting paid for this (I’m so NOT getting paid to do this – I wish) Learn about Timeline’s real-time analytics. Yes, your Facebook page has built-in analytics that give you fan demographics, interaction graphs, etc. Important tool. (Only the analytics still haven’t hit the real-time part they promised…but that’s another post.)

Here we go – Hubspot jumps into the ring with this fabulous post about getting started on Timeline. Lots of great practical tips here – if you only read one of these – make it this one.

Techcrunch weighs in on the death of the custom landing tab. This may be for more advance Facebook page users – good stuff though. Jump in.

Another great post about how the newsfeed works from Techcrunch. Did you know on average you’re only reaching 16% of your page’s fans? That’s not great. Read this to find out how to do better at reaching more of your fans – and their friends.

A great post from Author Media about 10 ways to increase the number of Facebook Fans you have – the right way (which is not the quick and easy way – be warned). This is a less technical look at the topic from the article linked directly above.

Author Media rounds out this mashup with a great post on what these changes mean to authors, and how authors can best make use of them.

So what? I can read all these posts – doesn’t help me. I want to see this in action. I thought you might say that. There are a number of authors using Facebook to reach large audiences, and have active Facebook communities. I’ve listed a few here. Lurk their page (you don’t have to like what they write) and see how they’re connecting with fans. I’ve tried to have a number of different genres reflected in the list.

Paulo Coelho – 7.7m fans

Neil Gaiman – 477k fans

Frank Delaney 1,187 fans

Karin Slaughter 27k fans

Ted Dekker 157k fans

Laurell K Hamilton 238k fans

Kelley Armstrong 15k fans

Finally…

A behind the scenes interview with author and Snowflake method creator Randy Ingermanson about his new book Oxygen

The Most Underestimated Key to Success from The Matrix – “There Is No Spoon”

Ever wished for a do-over? What moments in life would you really want to live again?

**We’ve moved! Please join us at our new permanent homes. You can find Marcy at her website and Lisa at her website.

Have a question about Timeline? Leave it in the comments, or start a discussion on our Facebook page. Still  hating Timeline – tell us why. 🙂

Lisa

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6 Reasons Authors Should Love Timeline

I’ll admit, Facebook’s changes are hard to keep up with, but I’m excited about Timeline and have 6 reasons why authors should be happy about some of the new changes.

We have a BIG announcement to make regarding GWP. It’s at the bottom – make sure you read (or skip) to the bottom to get all the details.

I spent the weekend tweaking 3 of the Facebook pages I’m responsible for, and there are some cool new features writers and authors should be embracing not cursing. Yes, it’s an investment of time, but an overhaul this big is only going to happen…once a year? lol Not my point – this change is worth the effort.

Plus – here’s the kicker. Reportedly, Timeline will be offloaded on your page whether you want it or not March 30 so you’re better to learn about the changes and take advantage of them.

A screenshot of a few of the new Timeline features

1. When creating a new Facebook page, you no longer have to bow down to the 25. Previously, I had to beg family and friends to please Like this new page for me so I could hit that magic 25 fans number to get a custom url. Don’t have to anymore. You can get a custom url with only one follower – you! Yay!! (Don’t know if this is due to Timeline or not – but still awesome)

2. The custom landing tabs game has changed. Previously, you could go to a site like Wildfire, Lujure, Tabsite or others, and drag and drop a free or paid upgrade custom landing page – you know, that page you first land on before you like a page that says “Like” with a giant arrow or offers a free download of a song or ebook for ‘Liking’ our page. Gone! Sort of.

Timeline makes the wall the default landing page. Boo. That’s disappointing because landing tabs were said to exponentially increase the number of likes on a page. Tabs are still there, but you can’t make anyone look at them anymore. We changed our custom welcome tab into a Meet Marcy and Lisa tab that’s more of a visual bio page. Experiment to see what works for you. Timeline now allows you to change the thumbnail for the landing page – so those of you with Mailchimp subscription forms no longer have to stare at the chimp (eep eep – I don’t want your monkey face on my Facebook page!).

The new design makes your photos and fan counter the top two tabs by default – you can’t change those. There is room for 2 more on that first line. Users now have an extra click to access any additional tabs so think through which ones you want front and center.

3. Facebook is apparently the largest photo sharing site on the web. Everyone posts photos of all sorts on Facebook. Timeline taps into all that photo sharing goodness by making everything more visual.

Utilize this visual nature. People love to share photos and funny pics. If you want to post a quote – make a quick jpeg of it with a non-copyrighted photo (there’s a variety of programs that will let you do this – you don’t need expensive Photoshop software – Paint, Powerpoint, etc.). Consider telling your author story in pictures. Post a photo often because a huge majority of fans never visit your page – they interact with your posts as they appear on their newsfeeds. Make use of the extra real-estate photos are given to get noticed.

4. The cover photo. There are rules for cover photos for pages – learn them. I don’t always understand Facebook’s rules, but if you want a turn on their playground you have to play their way.

Cover photos may NOT include:

  • Price or purchase info (no discount offers or buy this here or there stuff)
  • No contact info like websites, email addy, mailing info, etc. Put it in your About section
  • No ‘Like’, ‘Share’, ‘Get It Now’, or ‘Tell Your Friends’ call to action stuff – OR an arrow pointing to any of those features.
  • Cover photos can’t be false, misleading, or infringe on 3rd party rights (duh)

The best cover photos employ powerful images that pull people in. Use a portion of your book cover, a shot of you at a book signing or speaking, a promotional photo. But follow the rules.

5. Milestones. Timeline is a lurker’s dream – indulge your fans and give them some fun milestones to nose through using compelling or interesting photos. On your personal profile this is called a life event. This isn’t required, but seems to me like a valuable tool. Some companies have documented their entire history – like Manchester United. I found out Coca Cola first became known as Coke in 1941. It was fun browsing the classic Coke ads, and learning a bit about the company history.

I’m pretty annoyed that you have to publish your Timeline before it lets you add your Milestones – but there it is. Tell your fans about your publishing or writing journey in a visual way with photos.

Customized content from personal profile now appears on pages you visit

6. I didn’t post that on my page! Moment of panic – where did that post in the right-hand column come from? Well, Facebook put it there. Timeline will now pull statuses you or your friends have posted about whatever page you’re visiting and place it on pages so it appears like a built-in recommendation. At a glance, you can see how you or your friends have interacted or commented about this page. Cool – right? I think this is great.

7. This is a bonus afterthought. Timeline for pages allows fans to message you, like a friend would message you on your personal profile. The default setting for this is ON. It’s a simple box to uncheck in the admin panel (now found above the cover photo), but think through whether you want fans to be able to send you personal messages on Facebook or not. For companies, this could be a great way to deal with customer complaints or other issues they don’t want to plaster on the wall – but authors generally don’t have an HR department so I’m on the fence about the functionality of this feature for writers right now.

What do you think about Timeline? Do you think any of these features will be helpful on your author page? What other features are you excited about?

Lisa

**We’ve moved! Please join us at our new permanent homes. You can find Marcy at her website and Lisa at her website.

Marcy and Lisa

Use Your Facebook Profile To Market Your Writing

People hate it when Facebook changes anything – but not all change is bad. I posted a series about Facebook for writers in June, but decided that with the new Timeline profile rolling out this week, it was time for an update.

If you missed my earlier posts about Facebook, you can find them here:

Top 5 Reasons For Authors To Join Facebook
Pimp Out Your Facebook Page – Tips and Tricks for creating an author fan page
Carpooling With Fans On The Facebook Freeway – Attracting fans, and keeping them interested

What changes affect you as a writer?Lots.

Subscribe

Because of a number of factors, like Facebook limiting personal profiles to 5000 friends, authors/writers were advised to get a Fan Page where marketing tools and stats were built in. And this is still true. But, a few weeks ago, Facebook rolled out a subscribe feature on personal profiles.

This is super! For people, like me, who like to share things and have conversations but don’t really have anything to sell yet or the interest in managing another page, allowing subscribers is the perfect work around. Anyone can subscribe to your public posts without affecting your 5000 friend limit, comment and share your statuses as they pop up in their newsfeeds – but depending on your privacy settings don’t have access to everything on your profile. I think this is a more authentic way of demonstrating the ‘level’ of relationship instead of friending everyone.

3 Principles of Facebook Fan Pages via Jane Friedman

Should you use your personal profile to attract readers? A little dated, written in January of 2011 – but still lots of great stuff (this was written before you could subscribe to profiles)

To learn more about the subscribe feature, check out this post from Facebook.

Lists

Facebook has always had a list feature where you can organize your friends into various lists and set the privacy for each list. Rumors say Facebook has made this feature much easier to navigate due to G+ *shrug* – don’t know that it matters. Now, with built-in list suggestions such as close friends, acquaintances, and family, this is a fairly painless process. I had a strict friends only policy for my profile, but when people I’d connected with online started friending me, I created lists and tweaked the privacy for each list. Now, I can post to everyone, friends (close friends and acquaintances), close friends (excluding acquaintances), just family, public, etc. This is a time consuming prospect, I won’t lie to you, but worthwhile. (Have I started reorganizing my G+ circles? Not a chance 🙂

Privacy

For those who have allowed subscribers, you’re faced with tweaking your locked down privacy settings. Changing your default privacy setting to public makes everything you’ve ever posted or been tagged in public. Instead, keep your default setting at friends only, and choose which statuses to make public going forward.

*It just makes good sense to double check your privacy settings every 6 months or so with Facebook.*

6 Must-Do Facebook Privacy Tweaks via PC World

Timeline – The New Profile

About 6 months ago, Facebook rolled out a new profile and page look with the photo banner across the top. Timeline is the newest profile overhaul, with a forced roll-out this week. Facebook is very visual. According to Mashable, 250million photos are shared on Facebook every day making it the largest photo sharing site. Timeline, with its magazine blog style, caters to this visual audience in a big way.

Timeline catalogs every status update, photo share and tag, and places it on a linear timeline. So all those photo tags, and status updates you’ve been glad cycled out of everyone’s newsfeeds are about to revisit your profile in a big splashy way. If there is anything there that doesn’t put your best foot forward, you may be wise to update to Timeline early and sort through it all because lurkers everywhere are ecstatic about Timeline (future employers among them).

For a great example of how an author is utilizing Facebook’s new Timeline profile and the subscribe feature check out YA author/former editor Nathan Bransford.

Timeline Tips and Tricks – A quick survey of the different features new to Timeline.

GalleyCat does it again with this fabulous post on how writers can utilize the new Timeline to promote their work.

Timeline features that benefit writers

Cover Photos

The cover photo is a really great opportunity to showcase what you’re about. Be aware that the cover photo does not replace your profile photo, and if you have your profile privacy locked down it won’t be visible to the public. Why not use the cover photo space to highlight your blog or website address, your twitter handle, your facebook vanity url? Share a favorite quote, or use Photoshop to create something that really reflects you as a writer – or an upcoming project?

5 Sites to help design a cover photo

Creative uses for cover photo designs – Some of these are truly clever – fabulous art.

And here’s a post that gives you all the exact dimensions for creating your own custom cover image.

Life Events

In the status bar, you can now add life events under a few different categories. This is optional. You don’t have to add any life events if you don’t want to, (the Facebook police won’t care) but why not post the articles or books you’ve published? Been to a conference, why not put that on your timeline? Shortlisted or won a contest – add that too. If agents and editors are lurking anyway (and if they’re interested in you they are) – give them something worthwhile to look at. Life events are automatically highlighted by Timeline so anyone scrolling through your history will be sure to see it.

Fan Page Rabbit Trail

Developers are constantly creating new apps for marketing on Facebook. Odyl has a specialized app to promote your books on Facebook – they claim some Big 6 publishers, and best-selling authors like Janet Evanovich , Bret Easton Ellis, James Rollins, and Ted Dekker as clients. This app helps promote books by offering interactive puzzles, quizzes, polls, sneak peaks, excerpts and other things. (don’t know if it costs anything)

What do you think of the new Timeline look? Have you already upgraded? What creative ideas do you have to make use of this to help market yourself as a writer/author?

Lisa

**We’ve moved! Please join us at our new permanent homes. You can find Marcy at her website and Lisa at her website.