Marketing Tips for Financial Professionals and Insurance Agents: Social Media

Facebook Introduces New Changes


Facebook has launched a new design for its Pages. The required conversion to the new format was March 30, 2012. In addition to a new look and feel, there are multiple new features and additions. Even though Facebook does an exceptional job of teaching us about the new design (in the Help drop-down menu), the following is a recap of the key changes.

  • Appearance: Profile Picture and New Cover Photo
    The first thing you will notice in the new Timeline layout is the banner-like cover photo across the top. This image replaces the five linear images that were previously located across the top and below your page's title. The new cover photo is 851 x 315 pixels and provides additional design space; however, you are prohibited from including any calls to action. Contact information, requesting people to "Like" your page, or any other form of direction is prohibited.

    The profile image, which had previously been a long, rectangular space in which you could promote your company, has been reduced to 180 x 180 pixels from 180 x 540 pixels. Because of the reduction in size, your profile picture should be kept simple, such as having only your company logo.

  • Posting: Pin, Highlight, and Size Change
    The new Timeline features a two-column viewing pane. Posts are automatically placed in the left or right column. As you continue to post, previous entries will move down your Timeline in reverse chronological order. If you have a post that you want to stay on your Timeline, you can pin it to the top by clicking the pencil icon in the upper right corner of the post. By doing so, your story will stay at the top of your Timeline for up to a week.

    How about giving one of your posts some extra space? Facebook has added the option to highlight a story so the post expands horizontally across both panes of your Timeline. To activate this feature, simply click on the star icon in the upper right corner of the post.

    In order to give your media more attention, all pictures and videos will now be displayed larger than text-only posts.

  • Applications (Apps)
    Do you currently have a default landing tab on your page? Perhaps the biggest change to converting to the Timeline will be the removal of welcome tabs.

    You have 12 spots for apps but only four will be showcased on your Timeline. You have the ability to change the order of the apps. First, click on the down arrow near the top row of the apps to show all of your apps. Second, click on the pencil icon in the upper right corner of the app and select the application you would like to switch locations with.

    Although you cannot include a call to action in your new cover photo, you can do so by changing the photo that appears for an app. You may rename the app and give it a call to action by clicking on the pencil icon, then selecting edit settings to add a custom tab image. Follow the prompts provided and insert the relevant information.

  • Milestones
    Although Facebook implemented the Timeline format starting March 30, 2012, you are able to note big events in your company's history throughout the life of your brand. In order to access this feature, click on the line that runs down the middle of your Timeline and click Milestone. Provide the relevant information in the fields provided.

    Since the posts from your fans are located in a separate region, the Timeline now revolves more around your own individual history.

  • Admin Panel
    Now located in the upper right corner of your page, the Admin Panel provides a new list of functions. For example, your page insights can now be viewed here, as well as your notifications and new Likes.

    Once in the Admin Panel, click on Build Audience and you will have the opportunity to invite friends, share your page, invite your email contacts to your page (up to 5,000 contacts), and create an ad.

    From a business perspective, you may be interested in comparing yourself to your competition. A new development to the Timeline allows you to click on the Like box on your competitor's page and view the most popular age group, its most popular week, and a "People Talking About This Trend" graph. This information was previously not available to the public, and now is visible if the page shows a company's Like box as one of top 12 apps they make available to the public.

    Interested in changing the name of your page? You may access this from the Admin Panel, although this does not change the custom URL you may have set for your page.

    Individual fans were previously unable to connect privately with a page, but now are given the ability to send private messages. This feature is managed by the Page, and can be turned off from the Manage Permissions area in the Admin Panel (it is on by default). This form of communication empowers the fans as only they are allowed to initiate a message. Once received, the message can be replied to by the Page.

  • Advertising
    Two new forms of advertising will come into play: The Reach Generator and Premium on Facebook.

    The Reach Generator is designed to touch more of your existing fans than you currently are able to via their news feed alone. The end goal is to increase your reach within your current fan base, and increase the penetration and engagement of these fans. The model for this form of advertisement will be an "always on ad," rather than on CPC (cost-per-click) or CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions). The placement of these ads will be on the right side of the page, mobile streams, and the news feeds of fans.

    Premium on Facebook is focused on channeling your stories to new connections through its placement on the right side of the home page, mobile streams, when someone logs out of Facebook, and news feed.

  • Facebook Offers
    Facebook has introduced its newest feature, Facebook Offers, which has been available to advertising clients. Likened to a social media version of Groupon-esque discount coupons, these deals could lead to major success for small businesses and advisors offering "free initial consultations" or "free dinner seminars."

    Similar to comments, your post is sent to the news feeds of your fans, where they have the ability to share the offer and, ultimately, claim it. Your fans receive the offer by clicking on the Get Offer link to review the terms and conditions, and then clicking the Claim Offer button. This will signal Facebook to send that person an email finalizing the transaction.

The new Timeline format allows you to showcase your company's brand message more prominently. Becoming familiar with the features listed above will allow you to seamlessly embrace the change and capitalize on the new attributes that Facebook offers to increase and maintain your book of business.

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