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Facebook marketing for your business or nonprofit

Your friends at Fletcher Prince  can help you launch an effective and engaging Facebook Page.

Discover how to promote your company or nonprofit on Facebook with interactive posts, video, contests, and photos.

  • Training
  • Editorial calendars
  • Branded profile and cover images
  • Image and video management
  • Advertising
  • Integration with websites and social media

Design challenge: Facebook Timeline Cover Images

The profile image/logo has a prominent placement within the Timeline cover image.  As we design branded Covers, we find it is best to work with the profile image rather than fight with it.

This reminds me of a time I was watching my dad finish a painting.  He was getting ready to put in his signature.  I asked him if he always put it in the same place.  He said, no, you have to find a “home” for the signature in the painting.  So the size, location, and color of the signature would vary from painting to painting.

I was thinking about this in relation to the Timelines Cover images.  The profile image really needs to have a “home” within the Cover image.

In this example for Rink Strategic Communications, the colors of the image work with the logo. For example, the black in Susan’s camisole anchors with the black in her logo — it also calls attention to her as the important person in the photograph (besides the fact that she is in the center 🙂

Could a tagline have also been included here in the Cover?  Maybe, but I think the text would have been too busy and would have competed with the R.  What you want for many Facebook Cover images is a compelling photograph or design that complements the profile image.  With Facebook Timeline Covers, you have to know when to walk away.

When planning the Timeline image for other clients, I also look at the Cover in terms of balance and composition.  For example, there is a good space in the upper right corner.  You don’t want to crowd the left side too much, since the profile picture is there.

That is the approach we took with this design for the Keenan PR Facebook Page.  This is basically a banner ad she already (created by another designer) that she liked that we reworked for her as a Timeline Cover.

We flipped the image so the Silver Anvil award is on the right, and we moved the text and changed the font.  So, the result is a more balanced composition that works with her logo, which is her profile image.  See how the logo points at the message and the award? Cool, huh?  That was almost accidental 🙂

This is also a good example (we didn’t design) from Constant Contact UK that gives the profile image a “home” in the Timeline Cover and makes good use of that upper right corner/sweet spot… You can tell this image was designed expressly for Facebook.

There is also a really nice flow, composition, and a great match between the Cover image and the profile image in this example from Manchester United (we did not design this one, either).

Look, by contrast, at this one from the New York Times. I suppose with that red staircase that it’s an interesting photograph.  But does it make a good Timeline image?  In my opinion, no.  Nothing about the image communicates anything about the attributes (or a single attribute) of the New York Times (other than they have a lot of employees and a really cool staircase).  It’s not memorable.  It doesn’t play nicely with the profile image. I think they should give this one another shot….

Facebook is a fun and friendly environment, and it has a certain cool factor.  Being overly corporate on Facebook would be a mistake just as it would be a mistake to use business jargon at a backyard barbecue.  Brands have a real opportunity with these Facebook Page Timeline Covers.  It’s worthwhile to design them well — to delight the viewer, as well as convey a message.

Time to Update Your Facebook Page with a New Cover

Remember back in September when I blogged that Facebook would most likely shift Pages to the Timelines format?  Well, that day is here.  You can implement the changes right now, or spend the next few weeks getting ready for them, because the changes will go into effect for all Pages on March 30, 2012.

To illustrate, here is what the Fletcher Prince Facebook Page looked like before the changes:

Fletcher Prince Facebook Page -- Former Layout

And here is the Fletcher Prince Facebook Page after the changes that will take place for all Pages on March 30 (you can go ahead and change your Page now).

Fletcher Prince Facebook Page with the new Cover image

Are you ready?  The main thing you are going to need right away is a branded Cover.  You have a month to work with, and we are ready to help you.  Depending on the complexity of your design, we can create a new Page Cover image for your Facebook Page for about $125 to $375, estimated.

The new Page format is visual and wide.  The look of your page will change.  Photos will be getting top billing, by default, and as you may know, photos are what get engagement on Facebook Pages. The photo that is featured on your Page front is the most recent photo you posted on your wall, in landscape format.  So that is something to consider.

The first two “tabs” you have on your Page will be featured most prominently with thumbnails, and the rest of your links will have a click through, so pick the two tabs you like best and move them to the top of the list of your tabs.

Facebook Restrictions about Page Covers

There are some restrictions from Facebook about the Cover image. You may not put a call to action in the Cover image — you cannot say or suggest someone “like” the Page or share the Page.  Facebook specifically restricts this.  You cannot include price or purchase information, or any kind of promotional wording.

Choose a Cover image — or have us create one for you, because we would love to do that! — that is a creative and original photograph that sums up what your Page is about.  For example, if you were a realtor, it might be an image of homes.  If your Page was for a restaurant, it might be some menu items or the restaurant interior.  If your Page is for a product, it might be an image of people using your product.

While you don’t want to get overly promotional, there’s no rule that says you can’t change your Cover from time to time.  So, think about seasonal and holiday versions of your Covers, if that is appropriate for your brand.  We will offer that design service for Page owners who would like that option.

Please contact us to update your Facebook Page Cover Image, and your client’s Facebook Pages.  And remember: we also create branded Google + Page banner images, LinkedIn Business Profile banner images, new YouTube layout graphics, blog headers, Twitter profiles, and more.  We can create a whole suite of branded social media images for you.

Fletcher Prince’s 2011 Naughty and Nice List

Fletcher Prince’s Naughty List

I’m not going to lie to you: 2011 was a doozie of a year.  I don’t know if it was the recession or our successes, or what, but we had a lot of instances of clients, colleagues, and even organizations behaving badly.  And we’ve been good to them.  So it hurt. People say “business is business,” but at the end of the day, we’re all people, and we think we should be treated as we treat others.  People did stuff this year we would never dream of doing to them, and we are looking forward to dealing with much MORE positive and supportive individuals and organizations in 2012.

A Deal is a DEAL.  This only applies, fortunately, to only one Scrooge, but it bears saying: an agreement is an agreement, especially when it’s signed and in writing.  You don’t try to change the terms after you’ve received what was promised to you.  We expect our clients to be fair.  Golden Rule!

Practice Gratitude in 2012.  It costs you nothing to say thank you, but if you don’t say it, don’t be surprised if we don’t do pro bono work for you, promote you, or refer you again.  Believe it or not, MOST people we record in our video series Conversations in Public Relations NEVER contact us afterwards to say thank you.  It makes us feel like chumps when that happens, because those videos are a LOT of work.  We also put in many hours on a pro bono project and never got a word of thanks.  Not a call, tweet, coffee, or anything.  Devastating. Just be proactive and say it.  We do.

Grow up!  We dealt with a few incidents of professional jealousy in 2011 that made us shake our heads that ANYONE could feel that way about little Fletcher Prince.  We tried to be gracious.  We said “That’s okay.”  But that doesn’t mean it was.  We just don’t care to engage with you anymore.  Your loss, not ours.

Fletcher Prince’s Nice List (Santa, Be Good To These People!)

Plenty of Fletcher Prince clients and supporters should get lots of loot from Kris Kringle this year, if we have anything to say about it.

Thanks for hiring us!

We felt especially honored that some of our colleagues brought us in to help with their client projects.  We feel that is just the highest vote of confidence you can get.

Thank you to Heathere Evans-Keenan who hired us to work for on projects for CHS.  We love subcontracting and it was wonderful working with you.

Thank you, too, to Sandra Remey and Jennifer Reising for hiring us to work on your Facebook Pages and online marketing projects.  Thank you, too, for the terrific LinkedIn recommendations!

And thanks to Kate Perrin, Melanie Jordan, and Lindsay Nichols for allowing me to work on the terrific GuideStar media relations assignment this spring!  Hope Santa’s good to you!

Thanks for the speaking engagements

We hope Santa is extra good to our friends this year who referred me for speaking engagements.  Thanks to Larissa Fair for recommending me as a speaker for Digital East, and thanks to Richard Harrington for invited me to to present at the RHED Pixel Open House.  I enjoyed both opportunities very much, and I’m so flattered you thought of me.

Thanks for the flowers!

I mentioned that we often don’t hear thank you after we record people for Conversations in Public Relations (or any feedback at all).  But a notable exception was Vicki Robb, who sent us flowers the next day.  That was a beautiful gesture and we really felt appreciated.  Moreover, ANYTIME I could possibly promote her videos or her business in 2011, I did.  All because she said “thank you.”  Gratitude isn’t just a nice thing to do, it’s a SMART thing to do!

Thanks for Lunch

Another person who we recorded this year for Conversations in Public Relations was Jeff Ghannam.  He treated us to lunch afterwards, and we really appreciated it.  Class act, all the way!  Thanks, Jeff!

Thanks for the Supporting Us!

Our Facebook Page swelled to 118 friends this year, and we’d like to thank all of you, especially those of you that comment or “like” our updates.  We can always count on supporters Claudia Askew, Susan Rink, and Tracy Brower for those useful clicks and comments on our Facebook Page.  It may not sound like much, but for us, it’s huge.  Thanks so much for liking us on Facebook, and also for retweeting us on Twitter — Leah Ibrahim, Nancy McCord, Deborah Brody, Ami Neiberger-Miller, G Scott Shaw and others — and to those of you who subscribe to us on YouTube and WordPress (especially our good friend DeAnn Baxter, who also sent us a box of Pumpkin Pie PopTarts!).  Your support means everything to us.

Merry Christmas to you!  And Happy New Year!

Your Marketing Strategy for 2012: Invest in the Basics; Refine What You Have

You ever open your closet and think: oh, god, I hate ALL my clothes!

Yeah, me too.

Who among us couldn’t benefit from updating our look?  Or even a makeover?  You’d still be the same person inside, but the packaging.  Ah. Packaging is powerful.

Wait a minute, are we talking about clothes or marketing?  Well, maybe there are similarities.  Just like you need to have a fantastic “networking” outfit that makes you feel like you can do anything, you also need to have a website that reflects your success.

You need the basic pieces, but you also need accessories to bring life to those pieces and show your individuality.

Get the idea?  Same concepts apply to your business…or nonprofit.

These are the basics you need to have in your marketing closet.  Most clients I see who do not have all the basic elements they need in place.  That, or they could benefit from refining those vehicles.

We did a lot of “makeovers” in 2011 and expect to do even more in 2012, as clients resume their goals for positioning themselves competitively in the gradually improving economy.

Regardless of company size, most business owners and nonprofit managers should be considering an investment in most or all of these basic marketing elements…

  • A marketing audit and plan for your business ($1500).
  • A suite of professionally designed logos ($1500) in various sizes for your website, business card, letterhead, and for your business presence on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Yelp.
  • A public relations kit that includes executive bios, company fact sheet, and launch press release (starting at $500).
  • For proposals, mailings, and speaking engagements, you may also want to invest in a corporate brochure ($1500) and custom presentation folders ($350).
  • Professional headshots and corporate photography ($ call for estimate).  At the bare minimum, you will need professionally taken, recent photographs of the principal and top managers, as well as photographs of your company headquarters, signage, products, services in action, staff, and community participation.
  • A website that is searchable and easy to update ($850-$1200) that integrates social media features.
  • A branded YouTube Channel, and at least three videos ($2500 ) YouTube is the third most visited website on the Internet and there is no better way to tell your story than with video.
  • An email marketing plan and calendar of communications.  So important, and so easily neglected.  Email has been shown to be the most effective form of marketing there is.  If you have a B2C business (and even some B2B businesses),  it is not optional.
  • Some form of strategically scheduled direct mail outreach ($ call for estimates).

And here are some recommended accessories.  They’re not right for every single client, but for those who can pull it off, it can make those basics sing…

  • A blog ($850 for set-up and training)
  • Additional videos throughout the year ($750 to $1200 each)
  • Facebook Page ($300) – for some clients
  • Twitter Profile  ($300) – for most clients
  • Flickr Photo Sharing – for all clients

The service fees above are for fixed-fee projects are estimates only, based on 2011 published rates, and are subject to change in the new year.  Fees do not include affordable printing fees.

Facebook Page Administration Basics (Video)

If you administer a Facebook Page for your company or nonprofit, you know what a bear EdgeRank can be. Here’s a few tips for getting the most out of your Facebook Page from Fletcher Prince’s Mary Fletcher Jones and check out our portfolio of Facebook Pages http://www.FletcherPrince.com

Recorded at RHED Pixel October 2011. Thanks to Richard Harrington and the RHED Pixel video production team for producing the video.

Visit Fletcher Prince on Facebook http://www.Facebook.com/FletcherPrince

Have a Facebook Page? How’s it doing? Want to find out?

Checked Fletcher Prince's Facebook Page EdgeRank: check yours at http://www.EdgeRankChecker.com

If you’re a Facebook Page owner, you may be frustrated by the mystery of knowing if your fans (friends, followers, whatever) are ever seeing your Page updates in their newsfeed.

It’s kind of a like being a parent to a 12-year-old boy.  You’re just never sure if they’re really listening.

Anyway, parenting angst aside, EdgeRank Checker is a way to measure how your Page is doing (in addition to the metrics provided by Facebook).  I got an excellent score of 29 for Fletcher Prince so I’m happy.

Is it a reliable way to measure your Page’s effectiveness?  I don’t know.  But it’s free to check, so you might as well give it a spin.  Caveat: it only really works well if you have 100 fans or more for your Facebook Page.

How EdgeRank Works

So, you know, EdgeRank is an algorithm that ranks objects in the Facebook News Feed. Pages with high EdgeRank Scores will be more likely to show up in the news feed, than Pages with low EdgeRank Scores.  How you get your EdgeRank to rise is to get lots of “likes” and comments on your updates from your fans.  If they don’t interact with your posts, your EdgeRank will sink, and then you won’t show up in their newsfeeds, and eventually, maybe no one’s.

Affinity, Weight and Time Decay

The EdgeRank score for your Facebook Page is made up of 3 variables: Affinity, Weight, and Time Decay.

  • Affinity has to do with the relationships the fan has with the Page creator — how many times did the fan comment or like?
  • Weight is determined by the type of update on the Page, such as a photo/video/link/etc. Apparently, links have less weight.  That’s probably because Facebook is not eager to have users migrate off Facebook to read articles somewhere else. Photos and video you upload have higher weight.  Ostensibly.  The algorithm’s secret, so who really knows?
  • Time decay just has to do with how old the post is.  The importance of this variable means that you really have to know when your fans are on Facebook and post then, not at other times.  Which means you may have to make your Page updates at night, or on Sunday mornings, or on rainy Saturdays, depending on what your fans do.

New Changes in Facebook Settings

It used to be that you could encourage your fans to click a setting in their newsfeed that would display ALL the content from Pages they liked in their newsfeed.  That was a neat trick for Page owners but most fans didn’t do it.  The setting wasn’t in the most obvious place.  Now, Facebook has (irritatingly) removed that option.

So, we’re back to the drawing board: trying to get engagement on our Pages.  Doing anything it takes to get likes or comments in the newsfeed of the Page (forget those other tabs). Or paying for traffic (advertising, sponsored stories).

Or just concentrating on other marketing tactics.

Facebook, the new Timelines, and what this means for Page Owners

The new Facebook Timeline for Profiles -- will probably be a reality for Pages, too, soon

Well, they did it again.

Facebook will be rolling out Timelines to users over the next few weeks. Developers, like me, have access to the new Timeline right now, to experiment with it.  Timelines will also most likely be impacting and changing Facebook Pages.  I know a lot of you are using Facebook Pages, so here are my preliminary recommendations for getting ready for these changes.

1. The look of your Page(s) will change, and so will the branding

The new profile format is visual and wide and will probably come to Pages in the same format. Get ready for the look of your page to change (sigh – again).  It will be 720 pixels wide.  You can still have the square profile photo, but you’re also going to need a 720 pixel branded banner image — Facebook calls these “covers” for your Timeline.  You might as well work on that now.

2. If Facebook is important to your brand, then a camera is your new best friend

Get ready to share lots of photos as updates  — but they have to be higher resolution because so far I’m seeing fuzzy for low res images, if you highlight them on your timeline.

Why do you want to share photos?  Because people will tag them (if they’re the right photos) and when they do, that’s an interaction with the update that gives it an “edge” in the EdgeRank score and increases your post’s likelihood of appearing in the newsfeed of your fans.

Remember, featured photos will appear 720 pixels wide and be cropped, unless you upload the exact size.

3. Ditto for video

Some writers are saying video is even more heavily weighted in EdgeRank than photos.  In other words, it’s better.  Why?  People tend to react, like, comment, or share video more than almost anything else.   So, get ready to upload lots of video, rather than text updates or links.

4. No more auto feeds of blogs to Notes

Facebook wants your fans to be interacting with you in “real time.”  They are discouraging and soon eliminating feeds from other websites.   Soon, you will not be able to feed your WordPress blog posts to Facebook Page notes.  My guess is that the same will be true for Twitter.  You might as well stop auto-feeding your blog to Notes because Facebook is going to take away that Page privilege pretty soon, anyway.

5. Engage in real time …. forget links to articles

Do you remember where posting a “Link” on your Facebook profile used to be an option — and then this month, it just kind of disappeared?  And then, in its place, were polls?  Yeah, well the new status Timeline for profiles doesn’t have an option for links, either, and my guess is this will be the same for Pages.

The kinds of Facebook Page updates that will get ranked higher and have a better chance of making an appearance in your fans’ (…friends…followers…whatever) newsfeeds are photos, videos, and highly engaging, in the moment updates (seriously, about the weather or whatever is headline news), and polls, and what not.  If your Facebook Page updates are not receiving lots of likes and comments, expect to have your Page put into Facebook purgatory where your updates will not show up, or not that often.

If you’re going to post a text update, a good idea is to ask for interactions.  Depends on how bold you want to be about this.  You can be direct and ask for the like.  You can ask people to respond to a question or leave comments.  It’s up to you.

6. Get out your wallet

Facebook is engineering it so that Facebook Pages will be “encouraged” to purchase advertising and sponsored stories to drive traffic to their Facebook Pages, because, let’s face it, organic results in news feeds are going to be hard to come by.

7. Build an App

Pages will also be competing in the news feed with Apps, which are getting more privileged positioning.  If you can think of an App to relate to your business, go for it.  You can build it right on Facebook.

8. Liking was just the beginning

Fans are going to be able to “read” a book, “watch” a video, “eat” a burger.  I know, we do that already.  But we’ll be doing it virtually, online.  Just like we “like” stuff now.

I know, I don’t get it either.  I mean I get it, I just don’t see the appeal.  Somehow, it’s an algorithim linked to advertising, that much I do know.

9. If you’re using third-party tools, like HootSuite, to update your Page stop now

I’ve said it before for other reasons.  Now, it appears that third-party (non-Facebook) applications that automatically bring content to your newsfeed, such as HootSuite and possibly Twitter as well, will bring your EdgeRank down, and significantly so.  You don’t want that.  You do want to be in people’s news feeds.  So, stop using those for your Facebook Page updates.

It’s anybody’s guess…

Anyway, your Facebook Page, I’m sorry to say, will be more difficult to administer and it will be more difficult for your fans to navigate, in my opinion.  The changes are going to keep social media consultants busy, but I can see small businesses, and non brick and mortar businesses, throwing up their hands.   It will be interesting to see what develops.

Follow Fletcher Prince on Facebook

Plan Ahead For Engagement on Facebook

If communicating to people on Facebook is important to your company, or for your brand, then you’ll want to know the latest findings about the optimal times to post updates, so you can plan ahead.

The Best Days to Post on Facebook Pages

According to Buddy Media, the best days reflect when people are most frequently on Facebook, which is not during business hours.  This can pose a challenge for professional communicators, who may tend to post updates on their clients’ behalf during conventional business hours.  And in fact, 86% of brand posts are posted during the work week.

But to get real engagement, you do have to reach people on Facebook when they are relaxed and apt to comment or Like the Wall posts.  The study found the best days were Thursday and Friday.  Weekend days were also favorable.  But these rates fall sharply on Monday and Wednesday.

But these are only general trends. I thought it was very interesting that the study found engagement went up on certain days, depending on the brand category. For example, Sunday was deemed to be a great day to post updates for retail, sports, and automotive companies.  Food and beverage did better during the middle of the week.

The study also found that shorter Facebook Page Wall posts (less than 80 characters) received more Likes and comments than longer ones.

What Time to Post Updates

The study also found that engagement shot up in the early morning and evening hours, even late at night.

How I use Facebook

I bet you a dollar you are one of the 500 million people on Facebook.  Me, too!  Here’s how I use Facebook for personal and business purposes.

How I Use Facebook Profiles

I have a Facebook profile, of course.  Facebook is one of my big social outlets, and I go on Facebook every day.  But I do not have oodles of Facebook Friends.  Right now, I have 107  friends, which is 23 fewer than the average user, who has 130 friends.  In fact, a couple of years ago, I unfriended a lot of people (I hope they did not notice) who were professional acquaintances when I discovered Facebook Pages.  That is because I vlog and share a lot of stories and photos about my personal life on Facebook which most people who do not know me very well would probably not find the least bit interesting.  And I can get a little bit silly on my Facebook profile and I was worried they would not appreciate it.  Most of my Facebook friends are close friends, a few clients, my family, and my high school buddies.

How I Use Facebook Pages for my Business

Fletcher Prince Facebook PageSo when I discovered Facebook Pages, I moved my business blog from my Facebook Profile to Facebook Page — Fletcher Prince on Facebook.  Now I have this sharp delineation — my personal stuff goes on my profile.  My business stuff goes on my Page.

I was hoping there would be more conversation on my Facebook Page, but mostly, it feels like a bulletin board for my company.  Which is okay, and I am delighted to get the occasional comment.  I see the brick and mortar and B-2-C companies having a lot more discussion and back and forth on Facebook Pages, rather than consultants.  However, I still recommend that every business avail themselves of a free Facebook Page, and what I have discovered for my small brand is that most of my Facebook-style networking for business is now done on LinkedIn.

I also create Facebook Pages for clients, and in some instances, I manage or help manage those Pages.

How I Use Facebook Pages for Me

I do “like” a lot of Pages. The average user likes 88.  I like 215.  Really!  I am on 215 micro-communities on Facebook, from Walt Disney World to Krispy Kreme Doughnuts to Claire’s.  I like a lot of stuff!  And if you think I like a lot of stuff, you should see how much one of my Facebook friends, Lauren Lawson (who is a sweetheart) likes.  She likes 368 Facebook Pages!

Why do we like so many Pages on Facebook?  I need to ask Lauren that (I think she is just a nice person who is probably very generous) but as for me, I like to keep in touch with brands, bands, companies, and places I like.  Not only because I am an enthusiastic fan, who likes to post comments and photos, but because the managers of these Facebook Pages often run contests and specials.  Some good examples of Pages that are good about contests or specials that I have liked include Georgetown Cupcake, Clyde’s Restaurant, Wolf Trap, and Graves Mountain Lodge, to name a few.

Other Ways I  Have Used Facebook

  • To learn about people’s backgrounds and to screen job applicants.
  • To create a memorial page and virtual art gallery for my late father.
  • To post HD video.
  • To promote events.
  • To get recommendations and advice.

Here’s a fun fact: did you know that 70% of Facebook users do not live in the United States?

And how do you use Facebook?  Do you use it for personal social connecting?  Or do you also use it for business?  How do you feel about brands that are on Facebook?

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