Timeline for Facebook Pages is here—and more so now than ever, business owners need to create clear calls to action to ensure that their fans stay engaged (and their businesses, top of mind).
Before Pages rolled out the new Timeline format, having a default landing tab (also referred to as the “default welcome tab”) was a handy catchall solution; many of us used it as a kind of gate to introduce non-fans to our Pages and entice them to click like. In fact, my Facebook welcome tab yielded high conversion rates (which led to high-quality fans)—so I was disappointed to see it go, as I’m sure you were too!
Above and beyond optimizing the way the Timeline looks, what business owners must do is ensure that their important calls to action don’t get buried in the new format.
No matter how many fans you have, if they’re not engaged—and driven to act on something tangible (like signing up for your newsletter or blog updates, enrolling in your webinar, signing up to get your e-book, or doing business with you)—then the time and dollars you’re investing in Facebook are effectively going to waste. The challenge now is leveraging this new format to create multiple clear, easy calls to action that result in high engagement.
Below I’ve dissected a few ways I’ve personally used the new Timeline layout features. These easy to implement Facebook Page strategies will help you create compelling calls to action, moving you from a bunch of Likes to QUALITY LEADS.
#1: Use Thumbnails and Custom Apps to Drive Engagement
Since Page admins can no longer designate a default landing tab, we need to get a little more creative and use our custom apps to direct Page visitors to take action. Instead of having apps on the left-hand side of your Page, they’re now featured directly below the cover photo. With this prime real estate, one way to make up for the loss of engagement with a default landing tab is to instead drive visitors to your custom app.
To get the most out of apps, you’ll need to arrange them in a strategic sequence, rename the apps and create a customized thumbnail with a clear incentive to click. I know that seems like a tall order, but let me break it down for you . . .
- Create a custom application with value-added content that drives visitors to act and engage. For example, I used an application that pulled in a blog post from my website (share buttons included!); I kept the cover image at the top, and included an opt-in at the bottom of the post. Click here to learn more about the app I used to create this specific custom app.
- Get strategic with 3 apps above the fold, or “showcased” apps. You can spotlight the box that shows your number of “likes” if you have tens of thousands, but I’d rather showcase info that gives great value or compels action. Once you collapse all your apps, if you hover over the app’s right-hand corner, you’ll see the edit pencil. Click on it, and you can choose which other app you want to swap it with. (Note: only the “Photos” app cannot be moved, so in effect, you have just three spots to play with.)
- Use strong calls to action in both the custom app name and the app thumbnail image. (Click “edit settings” and change “Custom Tab Image” and the app name—the thumbnail image is 111 x 74 pixels.) For example, I called one app “Sign Up,” one “Watch,” one “Enroll Now” and then included more actionable text (“Social Media Updates,” “Free Video Series,” etc.) in the app thumbnail itself. Calls to action that provide a clear incentive—valuable knowledge, industry tips, and entertainment value—are most likely to get click-throughs.
- Leverage the app’s unique URL on your blog and website so that when people click your Facebook icon elsewhere on the web, they go to the custom app instead of your Timeline wall. It’s a workaround that’s worth trying, especially if you need to grow your Facebook fan base or email list.
#2: Use Pinned Images to Highlight Actions
“Pinning” is one of the cool new features Page owners can now play around with on Timeline. When you “pin” a post, it stays at the top of your page for 7 days (unless you unpin it earlier). How does it work? Easy: Just hover over the post, click on the editing pencil, and select “Pin Post.” An orange ribbon in the upper-right corner marks the post as pinned.
This is one way to give an important status update extra attention—but I have an even better way to leverage this feature for engagement. Here’s how:
- Pin visuals, not just updates. Images are much bigger in the Timeline than they were in the old layout, so use an eye-catching one whenever you want to call attention to something. Albums look beautiful on Timeline too—sharing a special event album can really drive high engagement, especially if fans were at the event!
- For maximum results, pin an image with a call to action. After selecting or designing a photo that shows off your brand’s style and personality, why not edit it to include a call to action? One of the best examples I have seen so far of this technique is on the Socially Sorted Facebook Page. They pin a branded, fun, custom image with a clear CTA—setting the tone for their Page and driving more “likes” in the process.
- Use location-based features for specific promotions or events. Here’s something cool for local business. When you post a status update, you can choose a location so only those living in that specific area can see your post. That means when you pin that post, only visitors from a certain geographic area will see it. Targeting your marketing, especially if you have physical promotions or events going on, can result in big viral wins.
So there you have it! These are just two strategies of many, but I hope they help you see some solid results right away.
Now it’s your turn! Has the Timeline been a boom or bust for your Facebook Page? And how can I help make it better?