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Facebook Timeline: Are You Ready?

Two weeks ago, we conducted a webinar on the new Facebook Timeline to get hotels and restaurants prepared for the mandated user-interface upgrade happening March 30th. For those of you that missed it, the recorded version of this webinar can be downloaded it here.

With the March 30th deadline just a few short days away, we wanted to provide our readers with a recap of our presentation. Here’s a basic, quick list of what you can do to get your timeline ready without sacrificing all your spare time!

1. Chose a unique cover photo
Specs: 851 x 315

One of the first things you’ll notice at the top of the Timeline is a large photo called the ‘cover photo.’ With this new visual landscape, Facebook has eliminated the ability to designate landing pages for visitors to your page, making the cover photo even more important. Be sure to get creative and choose a high quality photo that visually expresses the identity of your hotel or restaurant. Is there a feature that you’re well known for, like the views from your rooms or your property’s location? These types of images help to tell the story of your brand and make for excellent cover photos. Please note that you are not allowed to use images with calls-to-action such as, ‘like this page’ with arrows pointing to the like button, and pricing or purchasing information.
Examples we like: Ritz Carlton, Mardarin Oriental

2. Use a profile photo that’s easy to identify
Specs: 180 x 180 (shrinks to 32 x 32)

Although the traditional ‘profile photo’ or default photo has been reduced in size, it is still important to choose a profile photo that is easy to identify. Your profile photo is displayed throughout Facebook as your avatar and needs to be something that users can quickly look at to visually identify who you are. We recommend using your logo as opposed to an image of the property to make your content more recognizable when appearing on a crowded newsfeed.
Example we like: Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG) 

3. Add custom application images
Specs: 111 x 74
Facebook ‘tabs’ that were previously displayed on the left-hand side of the screen and buried below the profile photo have been reinvented, moved to the top of the Timeline below the cover photo, and renamed ‘apps.’ To coincide with the new visual representation of your hotel or restaurant, you now have the ability to add custom images and copy for each app. This is a great way to display contests or promotion. For more information about editing apps, see the Q&A section below.
Example we like: Captain Morgan

4. Add 3-5 brand milestones
Brand milestones are one of our favorite new features introduced in Timeline. From the moment you broke ground on your first location to all the major achievements you’ve celebrated since, milestones allow you to further tell the story of your hotel and restaurant. We recommend adding three to five milestones with a story and high quality image to support each to begin, but be sure to add more along the way! Remember, a seasonal menu change or promotion is not a milestone. For tips on how to add milestones and backdated content, see the Q&A section below.

5. Review and highlight fan posts
Facebook timeline makes the content on your page more dynamic than ever, allowing old content to be resurfaced depending on the user visiting your page. Be sure to take a close look at the content on your page and highlight interactions or fan reviews that you’re proud of. Although you may be tempted to ‘hide’ unfavorable reviews, remember that the beauty of social media is the transparent and authentic interaction it fosters between you and your fans. People appreciate reading negative reviews that were handled appropriately and responded to by management teams so don’t be afraid to leave those posts on your Timeline.

Q&A From the Webinar
After the webinar, we received a few interesting questions that we felt would be helpful to share as you build-out your own timeline.

Q: How do you change the ‘about’ area to display a brand/hotel description versus the default contact info?
A: If you click on the ‘about’ section you will be able to edit and fill in all the about/mission/description content. Once this content is populated, it will appear by default over the contact information.

Q: How do I create a new app?
A: To highlight an app on your timeline, click on the drop down located next to four displayed default apps. Next click on the ‘+’ sign located at the top right of the blank apps. You will then be able to select from a list of tabs or default apps including events, videos, etc. to highlight. To manage the settings of each individual app, click on the ‘manage’ drop down in the admin pane and select ‘edit page’. Here you will be taken to the backend of you page where you can delete apps and manage individual settings.

Q: How can I add a milestone for say 1960? It only gives me the option for as far back as 2009 when we created our FB.
A: You are able to add milestones up to the date when the company was founded. To do this, you need to first update your ‘founded’ date. Click on ‘founded’ on the right side of the timeline body area and you’ll drop down to the ‘founded’ milestone. Next, click the edit pencil and select ‘edit’. Here you will be able to change the date of when the company was founded. After, click ‘save’. Once you’ve completed this, you’ll be able to fill in your timeline for any date in between the founded date and the present.

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