If your dealership currently uses a business page for Facebook, then you’re already aware that on March 31, Facebook updated your page to its infamous Timeline format. For many businesses and users of Facebook, this update is seen as an unwelcome change. At first even I thought the format was a bit confusing, but once I understood the benefits Timeline brought to our business page, I was instantly converted into an advocate.
At the top of your Timeline, you’ll notice a brand new Admin Panel that gives your Facebook page administrators the ability to see notifications, new likes, insights and messages. For the first time, fans are able to direct message you, allowing you to privately address any customer service related concerns.
My favorite part of the Timeline is the prominent cover photo. Facebook has provided your dealership with the opportunity to make a memorable first impression on those who are new to your page with the addition of the 851 pixels by 315 pixels cover photo. Be creative with this opportunity. Use an image that showcases your dealership or add a more personal touch by uploading a photo of your dealership’s staff.
As you consider your cover photo, be aware that Facebook has put in place a set of cover photo policies that may result in the termination of your Facebook page if not followed. These policies state that cover photos may not include:
- Price or purchase information
- References to Facebook features or actions (Likes, shares, comments, etc.)
- Contact information (Dealership phone number, address, email address)
The profile image has also undergone a change. This image is now a set size of 180 pixels by 180 pixels and has been repositioned to overlap your cover photo. Consider using your dealership logo as your profile image.
The tabs that you were accustomed to seeing as left vertical navigation are now positioned below the cover photo horizontally. Your photos are displayed first, and you have the option to display up to 12 of your applications. With the exception of photos you are able to reposition the placement of your apps. You can also better market your apps with attractive photos and enticing captions.
The biggest change Timeline brings to your page is the updated look and functionality of your wall. Within your page wall, the Timeline format now puts more emphasis on visually appealing content such as photos and videos. According to an internal Facebook study, “posts including a photo album or picture can generate 2X more engagement than other post types.” (Click here to see the source blog on HubSpot.) Two times more engagement! Isn’t increased fan engagement one of the main reasons your dealership signed up for Facebook in the first place? Do you now recall why you may have originally opposed the Timeline update?
Use Timeline as an opportunity to tell your dealership story by using visually engaging content. This content can include sales fliers, event promotions, photo albums from rides and dealership parties, pictures of all your customers who have purchased a bike, walk-around videos of new and used inventory, etc. Because posts now have a shorter shelf life, use the new ability to “pin” an important story, such as a new product promotion or an event, to the top of your wall. Posts remain pinned for up to seven days, increasing views and opportunity for greater engagement. To pin a post, click on the pencil icon which appears when you hover over the upper right corner of your post. Facebook also provides the ability to “highlight” a post. By clicking on the star, which you will also find when hovering over the upper right corner, you can expand an important post the full width of your Timeline. Highlighting is another great feature for creating visual appeal and interest, which in turn leads to conversation.
Timeline also allows you to promote your dealership’s milestones such as when your dealership opened, awards and achievements you’ve earned and any other events important to your dealership’s history.
Facebook’s new Timeline has handed your dealership with a visual opportunity to generate excitement over your products, services and events. Now is the time to use these rich new Facebook tools to immerse your dealership in the social conversation.
Dave Valentine is the National Sales Manager of PowerSports Network, a leading provider of web site solutions serving more than 2,500 dealers in North America. PSN is part of Dominion Enterprises, a leading marketing services company serving multiple industries including real estate, apartments, specialty vehicles, marine, automotive and travel.