Facebook Page Timeline Tips for Authors – Part 2

About a month ago, I wrote up a blog post detailing how all pages on Facebook would be converted to the new Timeline design come March 30th. Along with this, I presented some tips on how to maximize an effective use of Timeline for authors, and closed by promising another post with more tips in the next week.

Well, a month has passed, but I finally got back around to it. 🙂

If you haven’t read the first post, go back and read it since it gives you a foundation for what I detail in this post.

1. Okay, now I told that FBML was going away as of June and it was a good idea to convert over to Static HTML: iFrames Tab app now. I also told you that Static HTML: iFrames Tab didn’t inherit the styling of fonts that the old FBML tab did. In other words, if you’ve been experimenting with the design, your fonts probably do not match the rest of your Facebook page. If you go to your page and open that tab, you’ll see whatever coding you put there. In order to inherit the styling from the rest of your page and make it look all good and “Facebooky,” add these lines to the very top of your code:

<link type=”text/css” rel=”stylesheet” href=”https://s-static.ak.facebook.com/rsrc.php/v1/yk/r/SLcv9Fpf1fC.css” />
<link type=”text/css” rel=”stylesheet” href=”https://s-static.ak.facebook.com/rsrc.php/v1/yi/r/AZwrJ64-1qg.css” />
<link type=”text/css” rel=”stylesheet” href=”https://s-static.ak.facebook.com/rsrc.php/v1/y5/r/4kE31h2Sb_T.css” />
<link type=”text/css” rel=”stylesheet” href=”https://s-static.ak.facebook.com/rsrc.php/v1/yR/r/QEku2z8Q32R.css” />

This links your tab to the CSS style sheets that set the rest of Facebook. There’s probably only one of these applicable to your page, but I couldn’t figure out which one it was, so I included them all. There’s no harm in having them all there, so no worries. Once you insert those lines, your tab should look exactly like the rest of your page.

2. Tabs: Using the new Timeline feature gives you a bit more flexibility when it comes to tabs, which are positioned directly under your cover photo. You can also design unique graphics for your tabs that look better than having random graphic images up there. Four tabs are displayed immediately when your page loads and you can have up to four more under those that users need to click the down arrow to see.

Designing your tabs is easy. The dimensions are 111 pixels wide by 74 pixels high. Open your graphic program of choice and design a nice eye-catching graphic to use as each tab. If you look at the screenshot below of my tabs, you’ll see that my Welcome! Tab has a bright red picture of a movie ticket that says “free admission” on it.

I used this because it’s bold and gives a clear message. Highly-detailed graphics are not going to work here, so be simple and bold.

Once you’ve settled on the design, you’ll need to upload it and make it active on your page. Go to the top of your Admin Panel, and click on “Manage.” Then click “edit page.” A new screen will come up. On the left side, look down and see “Apps,” and then click on that. A list of your Apps will now show up on the screen. Since my Welcome! tab was created using Static HTML: iFrame Tabs, that’s where I need to go. Click on “edit settings.” A small pop-up will show on your screen that looks like this:

Most importantly, make sure it says “Tab: Added” so you’re sure it’s displaying on the Page itself. Next see where it says at the bottom “custom tab name.” Put whatever you want in that space and then click “save.” I recommend something nice and friendly like “Welcome!” But you could have it say anything like “My Books” or what have you.

Then you’ll want to click above that where it says “custom tab image.” This is where you will upload your custom 111×74 image. So click on that and a new window/tab opens. Follow the instructions and you should then see your new image upload and display. When you’re finished, make sure you go back to your page and see that it’s displaying properly. Up until a few weeks ago, there was a bug in the system that caused everyone else who had uploaded a custom image to display on your page instead of what you uploaded. It was annoying but Facebook seems to have fixed the problem.

3. Tab Placement: Did you know you can move your tabs around to some extent? You can. Look at the screenshot above of my cover photo and tabs again. On the right side where my tabs are located, you’ll see a 2 with a down arrow next to it. This means there are two other tabs below the top four and users can click those to access more info, pages, etc. If you click that, you will see all the tabs displayed.

And now if you hover over each tab in the upper right hand corner, you’ll see a pencil. Click on that pencil and the first thing you’ll see is “swap position with” followed by a few choices. So if you’re not happy with where your welcome tab is, you can move it to a better position. Just be advised that Facebook wants your Photos first and foremost on your Tab menu. Presumably because Photos are one of Facebook’s most active features. Remember that: be sure you have a bunch of photos uploaded to your page. I take screenshots of my works-in-progress (usually a good juicy page that users can read and get excited about) and post those from time-to-time.

Be sure to put your most important information Tabs up top and leave the lesser important stuff below. My top tabs are Photos, Welcome!, Likes, and Top Fans (see below), while my lesser important (but still fun) tabs are Events and Videos.

4. Top Fans: if you’re an author you’ve got to be interacting with your fans. There’s no other way. And if you want to really get your fans excited and active, then the Top Fans app is truly spectacular. I’ve been using this for a few weeks now when I saw it on my friend Chris Penn’s page and the results have been great. Top Fans integrates seamlessly with your Facebook Page once you sign up. They have a professional version for $29 bucks per month that gives you a lot more options. For me, I stick to the FREE version right now and I’m still blown away by it.

Basically, the app tracks fan participation on your page. Fans acquire points by liking, commenting, sharing and posting on your page. A running leader board of the top 25 fans provides a wonderful graphic interface that spurs people to take action. I took it a step further and announced that each month’s winner will receive a special T-shirt only available to Top Fans. I had the logo below designed that I’ll be using for the shirts.

It rewards fans for being active, increases your visibility elsewhere on Facebook, and leads to more fans, and more readers. In return, the T-shirt is cool and helps spread the word even more. Seriously, get Top Fans installed on your page today and watch how people respond. It’s fantastic. And I made sure to move the Top Fans tab to a prominent position on my page so people can see it immediately.

In closing, make sure that if you have a custom tab, that you really use it to maximum effect. My Welcome! Tab has a quick message from me, a picture, and newsletter sign-up form, and links to buy my ebooks at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Critical stuff all laid out on one tab.

One final tidbit, while you no longer have the ability to make a special landing page to direct people to on your Page, each Tab has its own unique URL. And that means instead of just directing people to the page itself, you can direct them right to your special Tab. Use a URL shortening service to create custom URLs for your Tabs and it will be easier to track and share.

I hope you’ve found this useful. If so, please come by My Facebook Page and click the ol’ LIKE button, will ya? 🙂 And be sure to share this article with any of your author pals. Trust me, there aren’t nearly enough writers making the most of their Facebook pages. 🙁

Thanks for reading!

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