It's been about a week since Facebook launched the new design for brand pages (along with some slightly new rules and capabilities). If you haven't set up your new Facebook page yet, not to worry. You have until March 30th to play with the design before your page is forced live.
We had a feeling you might still be in experimentation mode, so to get your creative juices flowing, we've scoured Facebook for examples of brands using the new page layout in appealing ways. Take a look at how these brands are making use of the new Facebook page design, and use it as inspiration to get your own page up to date!
Best Use of Stars and Pins
Stars and pins let you hover over a story to make it wider than others so it takes up more physical space on your timeline, or anchor a story to the top of your timeline for up to 7 days so it isn't buried by other stories. Take a look at how Starbucks is using the pinning feature.
That little orange flag at the top of the post indicates it has been pinned to the top of Starbucks' timeline, and the comments, likes, and shares you see at the bottom show the effect pinning has on a timeline story. Sure, Starbucks has a highly engaged Facebook audience, but this post soars well above its usual numbers. And Starbucks knows its bread and butter -- they have tremendous success using images of their food and beverages (who doesn't need a coffee right now after looking at this?) as fodder for social media updates.
If you have a product that's visually appealing, take advantage of this new Facebook feature to showcase it and get people craving what you've got to offer. And if you sell something less visually appealing, like a service, use this area to highlight calls-to-action, marketing offers, and other promotions you'd like to feature. The new cover photos have placed restrictions on your use of calls-to-action (more on how to get around that later in this post), so pinning is a perfect opportunity to highlight those great offers in a very prominent place on your page where your fans can also share it.
Software company Jive! makes great use of the star feature, which lets you highlight a story as important without pinning it to the top of your page. When you star a story, it will expand to fit the width of your page.
If you look at the middle of the image closely, you'll see that this post is actually a video. What a great way to highlight your product videos so your fans can learn more about you! Videos take considerable investment to produce, so making them a more prominent part of your Facebook page is an excellent use of the star feature. You can apply this concept to all of your content offers -- slide decks, ebooks, webinars, ebooks -- just be sure to include a call-to-action at the end of each piece of content so that when your fans are done consuming the content, you can convert a new lead or reconvert an existing one.
Cool Cover Photo
If nothing else, make your cover photo both reflective of your brand and visually stimulating. HubSpot, for example, combined the orange for which we're known with our tagline, "All-in-One Marketing Software," as well as something more personal -- the Boston skyline, the "Hub" of our enterprise.
But you can also take it a step further, like Verizon did by combining its cover photo with a contest based on user-generated content. Verizon pinned a story to the top of its timeline (great use of pinning, Verizon!) and asked fans to submit pictures taken with their Verizon smartphones or tablets. Each day, Verizon rotates out its cover photo for one of the fan-submitted photos, and includes a picture of the fan who took the photo with the device that was used. Not only does Verizon get beautiful cover photos out of it, but fans have a reason to come back to their Facebook page every day to see the new photo. Plus, it showcases happy customers' great results with Verizon products!
Getting Around Call-to-Action Restrictions
You can't include calls-to-action in your cover photo (read about the restrictions in more detail on our blog post about how to set up your new Facebook page), but you can get them close to your cover photo. If you want a call-to-action that's more permanent than a 7-day pin, use the app toolbar that appears in the lower right-hand corner of your cover photo to display your call-to-action like search company Distilled has done.
You can place up to 12 apps in this area, and if you use your Facebook page to generate leads (or you'd like to start) using a custom tab, this is an area of the new Facebook page layout you should take advantage of. Distilled asks fans to opt in to their email list, but you could use this area to collect submissions for a content you're running, promote a new ebook you're launching, or collect registrants for a webinar you're hosting. While searching for brands using this area as a lead generator, there weren't many notable examples. So be the first one in your industry to figure out lead generation on the new Facebook layout!
Besides just calls-to-action, you can also use the app area to showcase, well, your apps. Take a look at how Ben & Jerry's is taking advantage of the new prominence of apps in this layout.
Ben & Jerry's is using common apps like 'Events' and 'Notes', both apps with a low barrier to entry if you're just starting out with Facebook or don't have a development budget. They've used Notes, for example, to publish recipes -- and just try to get out of there without jonesin' for a milkshake.
But they're also investing in more interactive apps that they've designed themselves, like their Whirled Map which takes you Around the Whirled (get it? it's like a world map, but ice cream-y!) that directs you to the Ben & Jerry's Facebook pages in other countries. What a great idea for chains, franchise organizations, and the like to manage Facebook pages for multiple locations!
Milestones let businesses highlight big accomplishments -- new product releases, fan growth, key hires, acquisitions, events, awards -- right on their timeline. Lance Armstrong's Livestrong page got to using this feature immediately by setting a milestone for opening Livestrong's Cancer Navigation Center, and pinning it at the top of their page for more visibility.
And remember, you can fill in milestones for past events, too, to help tell a chronological story about your company's growth. Be sure to include an image like Livestrong did to make your milestone more engaging (and frankly, to make it look complete), and include a short description in the 'Story' field to give your fans context.
It's worth ending with the Livestrong page because it is one of the pages utilizing all of the features very well. Visit the page, or take a look at the image below:
They've used an engaging cover photo, carry their color scheme through all of their images and the apps, use the apps area for calls-to-action like 'Share Your Story', and pin important content like their milestones to get more visibility.
Facebook has shaken things up for brands with this new page design, and many companies will surely lag their feet updating their design, and utilizing all of the features. So take a note from Livestrong; invest time now in experimenting with the layout and features so you can find the best ways to use them for your company.
What other brands are using these features well? Share the great uses of Facebook's new page layout for brands in the comments so we can all check them out!