Facebook has been rolling out its new ‘Timeline’ feature for a few months now, andwith the changes. Timeline redesigns your social interaction into a chronological sweep that is also distinguished topically and physically (that is, by being placed in different sections of your FB home page). It allows an individual, a nonprofit, or a company to present a visual banner or ‘Cover’ to introduce themselves, and it offers greater opportunity to control the ‘Story’ on the page by giving users means to ‘back fill’ their histories.
And the fact is, Timeline becomes the default interface of all Facebook accounts tomorrow! If your charity is on Facebook, you need to be prepared. We found a couple of great sources to help you tidy up your page in preparation of the final stages of implementation.
Truth is, the impact of Timeline for nonprofits (at least thus far in the rollout) is unclear.to companies who were early adopters of the Timeline, but many social-media consultants point out that the only really big movers were ones featured by Facebook during the rollout. Thus, their numbers spiked as people checked out the new features, but such engagement might not be sustainable.
Such criticism is certainly valid. But one thing is for sure: if your Cover, Profile Picture, and visuals are not prepped for the new format, you absolutely will see a falloff in engagement. As people get acquainted with the new layout (and most users already are!), they will be ever less tolerant of trying to figure out what a foot-dragging nonprofit is trying to present.
John Haydon, a great guide on all things Facebook, has posted one of the better videos explaining how to tidy up your Timeline:
His focus on the ease to prioritize or hide certain status updates will prove especially useful for organizations who find that certain activities or events really capture people’s imaginations. You’ll want to keep those particularly engaging images and posts at the fore of your Timeline. Those that do not spark much interest can be hidden, moved within the Timeline, or deleted altogether (We’ll leave the issue open as to whether anything is ever really deleted in the cyberverse).
John really sees the new features as a true ‘second website’ for your organization. Updates, both text and images, will keep the content fresh while also offering access to the traditional website for donations and subscriptions and the like. Bear in mind, though, that the Cover must be a stand-alone image with no links or activity: “Facebook says that your cover image should not be used for calls to action like “Donate now” or “Sign our email list.” You also can’t include any contact information like URLs, or reference any features on your Facebook page such as the Like button.” So make sure that your one picture (which you should update periodically) conveys a thousand words.
If you’re nonprofit is on Facebook, as of tomorrow it will have its Timeline. Hopefullyand preparations, but if not yet, you still have 18+ hours. The good news, with today’s guides from John Haydon, you won’t need that long.
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Written by: Christopher Gardner, PhD
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