How to Use Facebook Timeline for Marketing

The following is an excerpt of an entry in our Facebook Marketing Bible. The full version contains two additional strategies for using Timeline for marketing, as well as complete walk-throughs for executing all four strategies. 

Timeline is a redesign of the user profile and wall that Facebook revealed in September 2011. While it only appears on user profiles and not Pages, there are still many ways that marketers can use Timeline to advance their business. Here we’ll provide four strategies for using the Timeline’s Cover, featured apps, list of your posted content, and About section to bring traffic and awareness to your Facebook Page and website.

As of October 6th, Timeline is only available to Facebook application developers, but it is scheduled to be rolled out to all users in the following weeks. For a breakdown of all of Timeline’s features and instructions for gaining early access to it, check out the Inside Facebook article “How to Use the Facebook Timeline: A Complete Walk-Through of the Redesigned Profile“. Note that until the full rollout of the feature, only other developers with access will be able to see your Timeline.

Create a Branded Timeline Cover

Cover is a big banner image that appears at the top of the Timeline profile. It’s the first thing people will see when they visit your profile so it can be used to promote your brand or distribute a message.

First, you’ll need to design a promotional Cover. The dimensions of Cover are approximately 840 pixels wide by 310 pixels tall. Facebook will resize image that are too small which can degrade the image’s quality, and allow you to select a portion of an image as your Cover if the image you choose it too large.

Using Photoshop, Skitch, GIMP, Paint or another image editor, create an image of that size. Then add some combination of the following promotional elements:

  • The logo and name of your business
  • A slogan or tagline
  • Pictures of you, your products or team
  • The URL of your website
  • The name or vanity URL of your Facebook Page

What elements you choose and how flashy your design is should depend on your audience. Your friends or even potential customers could be turned off if your marketing is too aggressive. The samples we show here are relatively aggressive and might be best used by someone who has built a Facebook friend network of professional contacts that expect to be marketed to rather than a network strictly comprised of real-life friends.

Note that your Cover can’t be clicked to view it on its own and can’t contain active links. Therefore, attractive, eye catching logos and images may be just as effective for geting users to remember your brand as URLs. Each time you add or edit a Cover, it’s saved in a “Covers” photo album. You can click through to your photo albums and find “Covers” and add URLs as comments on your Cover, but few users will probably see these.

One option if your goal is to drive traffic to your Page is to include a call to action to visit your Page that points outside of your Cover to your current employer, which can be a link to a Page. The current employer Page link is below the left corner of your Cover, so point an arrow there and ask users to “Visit our Page” or something similar.

Once your promotional Cover is ready, go to your Timeline and hover over your existing Cover and click the the “Change Cover” button. You can then upload your promotional Cover, and then select to arrange it so it’s laid out properly on your Timeline. You’ll now have a billboard that can raise awareness of your business and drive traffic to your properties.

Show Off Your Brand’s Best Content

Timeline can be used to draw attention to your business by featuring branded content. The main portion of your Timeline shows all important content you’ve posted to Facebook ever since your first created an account.

You can control what content appears, is featured in a larger panel, and is hidden from the Timeline using the Activity Log. This private record of everything you’ve ever posted to Facebook can be accessed through a “View Activity” button beneath the Cover.

To help your business, go through your Activity Log…

Additional strategies for using Timeline for marketing can be found in the Facebook Marketing Bible, Inside Network’s comprehensive guide to marketing and advertising through Facebook.