Guest blogger Chris Robley is a songwriter, producer, poet, blogger, person, and marketer at CD Baby.
Follow Chris on Google+.
Whether you’re a Timeline hater or fan, the switch has been flipped and there’s no going back; all Facebook Pages (including band, brand, author, and company Pages) have been automatically updated to Facebook’s new Timeline format.
Users still seem split down the middle as to whether the change is an upgrade or a setback, but either way, we might as well take a deep collective breath and get used to it. After all, Facebook still reigns supreme in the world of social media, and any artist who’s serious about their promotional efforts should maintain a Facebook presence.
Well, now that I’ve got the glum news out of the way, here’s some sunshine; Timeline does provide great new promotion tools you can use to advance your career. It also gives you more control over how your content is displayed. Facebook Brand Pages used to act almost like fan forums. Now you have the ability to shift the visitor’s attention towards the stuff you want them to see most of all. Unlike the old Page setup where a post was a post (uniformly sized and chronological), Timeline gives you flexibility to draw more visual attention to the good stuff.
For Facebook neophytes, check out this video first. It will walk you through many of the new Timeline features. For the old pros, read on!
A Music Marketing Checklist for Facebook Timeline
If you haven’t figured it out already, Facebook Timeline does not allow fancy landing pages anymore. Your fans must land on your Timeline first. Then you can use a tabbed navigation to feature apps, photos and other content. Facebook also forbids calls-to-action and other direct marketing jargon on your cover photo. So you can no longer turn your Facebook page into a giant arrow that says, “Click the like button above.” In lieu of these changes, how do you increase the effectiveness of your Facebook presence and get more likes? Well, I’ll tell you.
1. Choose a striking “cover photo” (851 x 315 pixels)
Now you can post a header/banner-style picture of your band, stage setup, or whatever else you like (as long as it doesn’t contain ads, calls-to-action, or contact info) at the top of your Facebook Page. This is the 1st thing visitors will see when they check out your page, and it’s a great new visual branding opportunity. The dimensions are 851×315 pixels, with a minimum width of 399 pixel—so you’ve got a lot of space to play with.
But now that the same cover photo real estate is available to every band on the planet, you’re going to have to really catch peoples’ attention. Whatever kind of image you choose, make it pop! It should be the most striking thing on your Page—make it tell the story of your band WITHOUT words.
IMPORTANT: the cover image CANNOT contain advertising lingo. No calls-to-action. No sweepstakes announcements. No MP3-for-email exchanges. No asking for “likes.” No contact info. No URLs.
2. Update your profile pic (180 x 180 pixels)
Now that your Facebook timeline has a “cover photo,” you might want to update your profile pic.
Your profile picture is displayed both at the top of your Timeline Wall and represents your Page throughout the Facebook network (news feed, messages, ads, stories, etc.) Select an image that is square (180×180). An album cover? Head shot? Band logo? Whatever looks good; but make sure it also looks good when it’s scaled down to 32×32, too. That is how it will appear in your fans’ news feeds.
3. Arrange your apps to highlight the most important content
Only 4 apps/tabs can be displayed now on the Timeline homepage (though up to 12 can be displayed in an expandable app/tab area). The apps/tabs appear beneath the cover photo towards the right hand side of the page. The photo tab automatically appears first.
Highlight the vital stuff first! Make sure your music store is included in those top 4 tabs (such as CD Baby’s MusicStore for Facebook) so it will be immediately visible to interested fans. Don’t make them do any extra clicking; you might lose the sale!
Note: When fans click on one of the apps, it will open as a new page.
You’ll also be able to customize the appearance of each app/tab. According to Facebook, you can:
Adjust the way your custom apps appear on your Page by going to “Manage” from the admin panel and choose “Edit Page” in the drop-down menu. Under the “Apps” section, click “Edit Settings” for the specific app image (111 x 74 pixels) you’d like to adjust.
Take advantage of larger app width: Page app width can now be adjusted to be “Narrow” (520px) or “Wide” (810px) in the Developer App under “Edit App”. The Developer app can be found here: https://developers. facebook.com/apps
[Sell your music on Facebook in a matter of minutes with CD Baby's MusicStore for Facebook app]
How do I change the order of apps/tabs in Facebook Timeline?
If you don’t know the answer to this, don’t beat yourself up; Facebook did NOT make this function very intuitive.
- First, to the right of the 4 featured apps/tabs, you’ll see what looks like a scroll bar with a number (the number of your remaining hidden apps). Click that number.
- The app screen will expand to display all your apps/tabs.
- Decide which app/tab you’d like to remove from the Timeline Wall.
- Click the pencil icon in the top right of that app/tab.
- Choose from the “swap position with” dropdown menu the app/tab you’d like to move to this position.
- Bam! It’s done.
One last thing about tabs: the tab/app images/thumbnails can now be customized! (111×74 pixels.)
4. Write a catchy blurb about you
Your “About” section will display up to 150 characters. That’s barely more than a tweet, so describe yourself succinctly!
5. Add a “Founded” date
This allows you to go back in time and add pictures and videos from before the date you created your Facebook page (so you can tell the complete story of your band).
6. Put past album releases and photos into your timeline
Now you can dig back into the archives to tell the story and discography of your band, from your very first practice to your latest gig.
Marking time with Timeline
One important, and perhaps-obvious thing to point out is that all this Timeline business is about making your content viewable according to your band (or brand) chronology. Since you can re-date photos, video, and posts—you can tell the story of the development of your band. Want an example?
Coldplay has put up a bunch of content going waaaaay back—all the way back to a photo of their very first practice in the 90’s. I’m sure they paid a staffer to backfill their chronology, but it can be very engaging for a fan to browse through the years and track the band’s development. While you might not have the time, money, or staff that Coldplay has to help out, you can still do some pretty cool things with the Timeline if you look at it as another means to tell your story as an artist
7. Post “Milestones”
Facebook has added a new post category that allows you to set a “milestone” for big events like label signings, album releases, awesome reviews from Magnet, the New York Times, etc. Milestones, just as the word implies, mark your key moments across the Timeline. The dimensions for Milestone images are 843 x 403 pixels.
8. “Pin” a status update
Got a new video, album release, or festival date you’re promoting? “Pin” it, and then you won’t have to worry about sending multiple reminders or updates. Pinning a post features it at the very top of your Page for up to 7 days. Since large images are always eye catching, pinning works particularly well if your post has a picture in it. After the 7-day period is over, the post will return to its place in the Timeline according to its date.
How to highlight/”Pin” a post
Hover over a story and click the star icon (“highlight”) to make it wider (the width of the Timeline). Click the pencil icon to “pin” the post.
Hide, Delete, or Re-Date a post
The pencil icon also allows you to hide, re-date, or delete a post.
Re-dating is useful when reorganizing your content to tell your band’s story chronologically in the Timeline.
9. Familiarize yourself with the admin panel
The new admin panel is where you’ll keep track of your activity on your Page. It will notify you when people write on your Page Timeline so you can respond accordingly. You’ll also see the number of new likes and a basic insight graph.
Notifications about new messages (yes, people can contact you privately using messages now) will also appear in your admin panel and you can respond from there.
There’s also a “Build Audience” tab that allows you to easily increase your likes and fan interaction. From here you can:
- invite friends directly through Facebook
- send invites to your fan-list of email contacts
- share the page
- create a Facebook ad.
10. Prominently feature a “like” box on your own website
A “like” box on your website or blog will allow visitors to become Facebook fans without leaving your site.
11. Promote yourself with Facebook ads
They’re cheap! And if you use them correctly, Facebook ads CAN be effective. Run a few ads that lead folks to your Facebook Page. See how it goes. Hopefully they’ll click “like.” Check out our article on running Facebook ads for more info.
12. List your Facebook band page URL on all your materials
Make sure to clearly list your Facebook URL on all your CDs, posters, websites, etc.
13. Create compelling content
Umm… yeah. No big revelation there. It all really goes back to content. Share your awesome songs, poems, videos, rants, and tour diaries and your Facebook fanbase will grow on its own.
14. Use large images in posts WITH calls-to-action
The images in your posts CAN have advertising and calls-to-action. Also, by highlighting the image, it can expand across the screen to match the size of the cover photo. That’s a lot of advertising space! Use it.
15. Use Facebook “Offers”
“Offers” are a new Facebook story-type. They’re similar to coupons; Offers help you spread your promotional message to Facebook users by giving discounts.
16. Use the “Reach Generator”
Facebook’s “Reach Generator” helps you promote a post from your Page. An average of 16% of your fans are seeing your content in their newsfeed per week. Now you can now pay to have that post displayed for a guaranteed 60-85% of your fans over the following month.
17. Forget about Facebook for a minute
Remember that better songs, better gigs, better performances, and better videos are what is really going to drive folks to your Facebook Page. But you’re not going to create that compelling content if you’re staring at a computer screen all day.
It’s almost summer! Get out of your dingy basement and put on a fresh t-shirt. Go for a walk. Fall in love. Life is what fuels art. Only occasionally is it the other way around. So go out and live. Put that lived experience into your art. Put that art on your website. Post what’s on your website to Facebook. Share it. Repeat.
About the Author
Chris Robley is a songwriter, producer, poet, blogger, person, and marketer at CD Baby.
Follow Chris on Google+.