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Tips for Facebook Brand Timelines: The Five Rules of Cover Photos, and How to Keep It Classy

Note: The following is a chapter from our how-to guide for the Facebook Page Brand Timeline Redesign, a free resource featuring everything you need to know about the new social marketing tools.
It’s been over a month since Facebook first announced the Facebook Pages Brand Timeline, and now all business pages have been converted to the new format. The absolute first thing page administrators must do on their new business timelines is upload a great cover photo that conveys the personality and values of their business.

Here are the five rules of what not to do with cover photo and, further below, some really great examples of cover photo done well.

  1. No purchase info: As tempting as the draw of F-commerce might be, the cover photo is a place to express the brand’s character and personality, not to jump right into a sales pitch.
  2. No contact info: By the same token, Facebook wants to keep things clean and organized, so the rules explicitly prohibit contact info in the cover photo. This shouldn’t be much of a burden for businesses since the about section below the cover photo may include this information.
  3. No Facebook actions: On the old Facebook pages, a savvy social marketer might have created a landing page with a giant unmissable arrow pointing to the Like button. Before the user could see wall posts, photos, or any other type of content, they’d have to click the Like button and become a fan. Now, with Facebook action requests barred from the cover photo, you can’t coerce fans into liking your page.
  4. No calls to action at all: You get the idea: no purchase info, no contact info, no Facebook actions… no calls to action at all. In a nutshell, Facebook wants you to keep it classy.
  5. No lying: This should be a policy for every social marketer when interacting with customers on social media pages, but Facebook has outlined it as a specific rule for cover photos. Don’t promise anything you shouldn’t be promising. This coincides with advertising laws, so it should come as no surprise.
What NOT to do on your cover photo

Keep It Classy

So there you have it: five specific things that you cannot do with your brand new cover photo. So what can you do?
Express yourself!
Your business probably already has plenty of imagery and photography lying around just waiting to represent your brand on Facebook. The screenshot at top showing off Hearsay Social’s Facebook Page is just one way of customizing your timeline.
Here are some examples of big brands and their local representatives (not to mention Hearsay Social customers) using cover photos to express their company stories and character:

The sky’s the limit! Believe it: the more creative you get, the more users will enjoy visiting your timeline.

Facebook Pages Brand Timeline: What it is and what it means for your business

Note: The following is an introduction to our how-to guide for the Facebook Page Brand Timeline Redesign, a free resource featuring everything you need to know about the new social marketing tools.
Facebook, the most popular social network in the world with nearly one billion users, announced at the first-ever Facebook Marketing Conference (fMC) that it would be transitioning brand pages to a new format based on timeline, allowing businesses to tell their story and connect with customers better than ever before.
True to Facebook’s mission to help people around the world “tell their life story” in a visually rich way, timeline launched for individual users last December. As part of this launch, a new generation of social apps like Spotify and Netflix allow users to seamlessly share their favorite tunes and films with each other in real-time. Additionally, stories appear side by side in the timeline to convey a more cohesive story. Lastly, but certainly not least, Facebook reserves the wide, open space at the top of the page for a unique cover image or backdrop of your choosing, perfect for self-expression.
Facebook has now brought many of those same exciting elements to Facebook Pages.
Social media marketers should be delighted by the changes. After all, what are businesses but large groups of people with stories of their own? From the founding year to its first sale to other major milestones, organizations large and small have interesting stories to tell. And Facebook Pages will finally allow businesses to tell those stories in a compelling way.
Adjusting to a new look and feel can sometimes be confusing, but brands and businesses will find that timeline is a winning interface for interacting with fans. With timeline, marketing on Facebook is about building engagement more than ever before. It’s not about the hard sell; rather, it’s about creating original content and telling interesting stories, which more often than not occur at the local level.
Long before social networks, local representatives, agents, advisors, or franchisees connected with customers on the ground, in cities all around the world. Trust those local workers to be your best brand ambassadors. Cookie cutter messages don’t work anymore because social networkers see right through bland corporate messaging.
That’s why it’s more important than ever for corporate brands to go local on social media. And, supported by Hearsay Social for Facebook Pages Brand Timeline, social marketers can do that with ease.

Now that you’ve read the introduction, read the full how-to guide for the Facebook Page Brand Timeline Redesign. Learn about the new rules for cover photos, how you should transition from the wall to the timeline, and other digestible tips for creating the best possible business page on Facebook.