Introducing Timeline for Businesses
Sure, major brands like Red Bull and Dove have successfully jumped on the new Facebook Timeline for their company pages. But what are small-to-medium-size businesses and smaller brands doing with the new format? Quite a lot. These ten examples can help your business play in the same sandbox as the big guns on Facebook--as long as you've got a great cover photo and the willingness to do it right.
What's hot: Nice product-photography cover photo, a prominently featured daily giveaway, and fun copy.
Business takeaway: Wicked Audio succeeds where so many other businesses fail, with a gorgeous, unpixelated cover photo. This is the first thing your customers see on your Timeline page, so it has to look good. Don't blow up a smaller picture, as it will look blurry or worse. Facebook suggests 851 by 315 pixels as the ideal dimension for this graphic.
What's hot: Great product photography for cover photo, prominent display of "likes," URL of main website in information section.
Business takeaway: If you have lots of "likes," display them as Carousel Designs does. Facebook is all about interaction with your customers, so if they love you, show it off. Carousel also has succinct copy in the information section and includes the address of its main website, so if you want to know more you can go there right away without clicking through to the "About" section.
Emily Soto, Fashion Photographer
What's hot: Stunning visuals; easy access to YouTube channel and website.
Business takeaway: If you have a great presence on Twitter, YouTube, or other outlet that you've put a lot of time into curating as Soto has done with her YouTube channel, feature it as one of your four main navigational items on Facebook. While you wouldn't expect any less from a photographer, Soto's gorgeous cover photo establishes her instantly as a high-quality fashion photographer. Go for a graphic that provides that same "this is what this business does" revelation.
Modern Line Furniture
What's hot: Overlapping graphics in profile picture and cover photo; short, sweet description with website URL; excellent featured and pinned posts.
Business takeaway: Modern Line's Facebook design--and by extension its furniture--looks professional, with overlapping graphics. This isn't tough to do using Photoshop. Modern Line has made good use of the new "starred" post feature to enlarge one of its page posts that features excellent photography, and pinned a post to the top of its page to reinforce its branding.
What's hot: This cosmetics maker commands attention with its bold typeface cover image.
Business takeaway: Here's a standout cover graphic that makes a statement and doesn't require an image professional to make. If Sacha had simply listed itself as Sacha Cosmetics, it wouldn't be speaking to its target demographic, women of color. By adding "for Exotic Skin" to its company name on Facebook, it successfully brands itself.
Chat Noir Books
What's hot: Creative cover photo; store hours and contact information right up front.
Business takeaway: It doesn't matter how small your business is; Chat Noir's creative use of the new Facebook layout gives faithful customers an even more intimate look at the store. If you run a retail business, note the in-your-face address, phone number, and store hours here. It's the information your potential customers are looking for.
Terra Fossil Wines
What's hot: Graphics and extensive Facebook video collection.
Business takeaway: While the graphics are pretty, the social media buttons in the cover image are one of the first things that catch your eye--but you can't click on them. If you find yourself using a website header image for your Facebook cover photo, make sure to edit out your social media icons. Still, Terra Fossil does a great job of explaining its products through videos, videos it has featured prominently on its top navigation.
What's hot: Featured ratings, photos.
Business takeaway: This British shop has earned excellent ratings, which it showcases well on its Facebook page. If you are running a restaurant, bed-and-breakfast, or any other business where ratings are important, flaunt them in your navigation bar as shown here. Its photos are also prominently placed to show off its products.
What's hot: Excellent product photography, Cafe Rio Food Fight app.
Business takeaway: I don't know what dish is featured here, but I know I want to put it in my face. If you don't have appealing product photography yet, consider scheduling a session to get yourself a good cover photo. The Food Fight app will also make your best friends into your worst enemies on Facebook, which is actually kind of a good thing. If you have the cash to develop a fun app, all you need is a concept and a developer to do the same thing on your Facebook page that Cafe Rio did.
Fat Dragon Games
What's hot: A graphic that will capture the hearts of gamers everywhere; special events right up front.
Business takeaway: Know your demographic. Fans of games -- Fat Dragon Games or otherwise -- will eat up this picture. It's also a great idea to feature events up front, since fans will want to know where and when they can meet the company in person. One small quibble: Fat Dragon should get a Facebook vanity URL to replace the current long one.