Facebook Timeline Tips and Tricks

The Facebook Timeline isn’t necessarily “new” anymore, but there is still life in sharing some of the latest ideas that I’ve seen socially savvy companies incorporate into their strategy.

But, before we get started, lets make sure to review Facebook’s regulations regarding Timeline cover photos and profile pictures.  Below is an abbreviated list from Social Media Examiner.

  • No promotions, coupons or advertisements
  • It shouldn’t be primarily text-based or infringe on anyone else’s copyright
  • No price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”
  • No contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your page’s About section
  • No references to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features
  • No calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”

Facebook draws a pretty clear line between what they consider appropriate or not.  At first glance it may look restricting, but it still leaves lots of room for creativity and messaging!  The cover photos have proved to be very strong statement pieces to grab attention, introduce products or ideas, and grow your fan base.  I’ve taken a few good examples of local Minneapolis brands and showcased below. Keep scrolling to see how these mavens are positioning their brand on Facebook.

A nice example of using their logo and company tag line while still showcasing their product line in an appetizing and clear manner.

Red Wing Shoes has an interesting photo showcasing their staple product, heavy duty work boots, with their use of photography.

The Minnesota Twins page caught my eye with their use of their website address in the top corner.  That is a forward way to encourage two way traffic, between their Facebook page and their website.

Surly, a local brewing company is using their cover photo to introduce and market a new brew.

There are many creative ways to display new products, company information and messages with the new Facebook Timeline profiles.  Make sure to get creative and utilize some of these eye-catching ideas for your brand!

Social Media IS Word-of-Mouth…right?

Let me give you four numbers from an Small to Mid Sized Business (SMB) survey I read recently:

  1. 35% of SMBs plan to invest in Marketing in 2012 (the top area for investment).
  2. 25% of SMBs believe Word of Mouth will be their primary source of getting customers.  (Tied with Repeat Business) (Social Media was 5th, just ahead of Other).
  3. 40% of SMBs don’t plan to use social media tools next year.
  4. 37% of SMBs won’t use Social Media BECAUSE their business relies on word-of-mouth as a referral source.
Huh???  I’m confused.  Or at the very least I think some SMBs are confused.  No matter how I do the math or cross-multiply and divide I come to the conclusion that:  Some percentage of SMBs who will be doing marketing as a top priority and believe Word-of-Mouth will bring them customers, won’t be using Social Media Tools BECAUSE their business relies on said Word-of-Mouth.  Huh?
Social Media is Word of Mouth
Let me give you an “original” thought – not from a survey:
In 2012, a huge part of Marketing is Social Media.
Now a second, more important “original” thought:
Social Media is so word-of-mouth, the phrase should be changed to word-of-mobile or word-of-digital-device.
Whether you are an SMB and you believe and will spend in Marketing or you’re an SMB who doesn’t want to spend money on “Capital M Evil arketing”, but believes that Word-of-Mouth will make it rain – you should be doing something with Social Media.  You shold be doing this because:
  1. In 2012, a huge part of Marketing is Social Media.
  2. In 2012, Social Media IS word-of-mouth.
And, this just in…
    3.  This trend will continue in 2013.  And 2014.  And 2015.


In the early 1900′s Mark Twain popularized the phrase “There are 3 kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.”  Over time this phrase has endured and spread throughout our society.  I would venture to say it spread a little bit through independent reading of Twain’s works and a lot through “word-of-mouth”.  The point of the phrase is that numbers can tell a lot of different stories depending on how they are read and who they are read by.  Maybe I read these numbers wrong and maybe these all make sense to you…I’d love to hear your interpretation.  Check out the full survey here and send me you thoughts via social media on Twitter to @BS_is_me (that’s no lie).

We understand the challenges of SMBs – we are one and we work with hundreds of them on a daily basis.  We strive to design solutions that provide value without onerous effort or time constraints.


Facebook Page Marketing: Three Tips To ‘Spring’ Forward Your Page Promotions Today!

Spring is here!!  And you know what that means . . .Spring Cleaning! No one really likes doing it, but its one of those things that need to happen.

But hey,  you always feel better once it is over anyway.

So you’ve probably already tackled your house . . . now what about your business?  I say we use this motivation to finally spring ahead with Facebook Page promotions.  Continue reading

Facebook Marketing for Beginners- It’s never too late to start!

“Facebook Marketing” could be one of the most used ‘buzz’ phrases of all time. But, there is a good reason as to why we are still hearing it, and why it probably won’t go away!  It’s where the people are!

So you’ve probably read the stats, but I can’ help throw them back at you one more time… the Facebook audience is over 800 million!!  That is A LOT of people.  With predictions of Facebook reaching 1 billion this year, it is where everyone, including your customers, are hanging out.  Start interacting with your customers, and turn your paper promotions and marketing efforts digital.  It is your best chance to get in front of your customers. If you still haven’t taken the time to get yourself or your business on Facebook, seize the day!

Okay, I’ll slow down.  For those of you who may be a little nervous because you aren’t exactly what you would call “computer saavy,” not to worry!  I’ve pulled a great resource from Entrepreneur Blog’r that will take you through a Facebook Marketing Workshop.  You can get started today by clicking HERE.


Social Media Marketing, Getting Started on Facebook

Many people have been on Facebook for a long time, or have had a business page on Facebook.  The difference of being on Facebook and utilizing Facebook is where people get caught up.

Social Media Marketing, Getting Started on Facebook

Are you ready to get started marketing on Facebook? You might think that Facebook is simply a social network people use to meet and chat about their personal life. While that is certainly true, it is also true that Facebook is where people share their positive and negative thoughts about companies, products and services. Marketing on Facebook is one of the most cost-effective ways for you to attract and engage millions of prospective customers.

Perhaps you’ve heard that if Facebook were a country, it would the 3rd largest. With half of its 750 million fans logged in at any given moment, a world of opportunity awaits you and your brand. All you need to do to capitalize on this phenomenon is to get started.  Sounds easy, right?

It is easy if you grew up with PCs, iPods and smart phones. For those of who didn’t, you may be wondering: where do I even start? To get going, here are four easy steps to getting started.

Sign up!
Remember the old saying “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step?” First things first, stop talking about your Facebook page and just do it. The first thing you need to decide is what kind of Facebook page you want to create. You can create Facebook pages for a Local Business or Place, Company, Organization or Institution, Brand or Product, Artist, Band or Public Figure, Entertainment, Cause or Community. To sign up, start here.

Be Thorough
You may be tempted to just jump in and signup. However, if you intend to use Facebook to market your business, it is important to fully complete your profile. Make sure you take every opportunity to tell the Facebook world what you and your business are all about. Make sure you have a profile picture and fully complete your information tab. Some business owners use a photo of themselves. Others use a photo of their business logo, their business address or some other image that represents their brand.

Take some time to plan what you want to accomplish with your Facebook page. Make sure that your plan involves integrating social media into your broader marketing plan. With regard to generating leads with Facebook, getting a large number of fans is very important.

Your plan can be as simple as writing down challenging, yet attainable goals on the number of fans you want to secure or the number of leads you want to generate. Plan to implement some potential tactics and commit them to schedule. For example, on Monday post information, on Wednesday ask a question and Friday offer a deal.

Most importantly, give your plan enough time to succeed. Social media marketing takes a little time to get moving. Don’t just update your status twice and give up. Once your base starts growing you’ll be able to see your true reach.

Developing and implementing a plan to market your business on Facebook is one of the most cost effective ways to build brand awareness and generate new leads for your business. Remember, if it were a country, it would the 3rd largest. With half of its 750 million fans logged in at any given moment, you could have a world of opportunity!

(Post originally posted on the Main Street Chamber’s Blog.)

Use custom messages to maximize Facebook engagement

With the release of FanTools 2.0 we introduced the ability to customize the promotion notifications that are sent to Facebook, Twitter, E-mail and SMS. In particular, taking advantage of the Facebook Wall Post message will result in higher impressions and better engagement if the quality of your content is consistently high.

We highly recommend including a custom message for every promotion wall post. Studies demonstrate that asking fans to share or comment on your posts results in — you guessed it — more sharing and comments. Use creative copywriting: ask a question, make a bold statement, encourage suggestions. The more interesting you can make the post, the better engagement and reach you’ll achieve.

We also recommend that you use our scheduling feature to time your posts to appear when the Page’s audience is likely to be on Facebook. Also, try spreading out the posts to appear at different times of the day and days of the week. For example, some studies show that Wednesdays and the weekends are best for engagement, while Friday is the worst.

The following example wall posts demonstrate how to maximize your promotion messaging and encourage engagement. FanTools promotion wall posts are “shared links” and include a link to the promotion (B), a description of the link (C), and a thumbnail image (D) related to the link. Additionally, you have the option to include a comment on the link (A) via the Message Customization.


A) The link comment text is created with the Message Customization | Facebook Wall Post Message field when you create a FanTools promotion. This is optional, but we highly recommend that you write a custom message for every promotion. Consider that posting the promotion link without the custom message is analogous to tweeting a URL with no explanation.

B) The promotion Headline is automatically used for the link title.

C) The promotion Short Description is automatically used for the link description.

D) The promotion Image is automatically used for the link thumbnail and can be an effective tool to reinforce your message.

Another example:

FanTools Wall Post

You Know It’s Time to Move On to the Next Prospect When…

I received this email from a sales rep I know. The names have been redacted to protect the guilty.

I need help with something…my boss is so anti- “this myface” (that’s what she calls it) that it’s hard to explain the benefits when her wall is up. If someone were to say to you… “why use FanTools when we can simply announce deals using wall posts?”… what would you say to that? thank you!


There are many things I would say to that, including beware when your boss does not believe in the value of the product or service you’re selling. (More to the rep’s point, there are several good reasons why using FanTools to deliver social promotions is far superior to simple Facebook Wall posts. Look for that post soon.)

For today, let’s examine the email in another light. It got me thinking about qualifying, especially in the context of selling social media marketing services and technology. Anyone who’s been successful in sales appreciates the art of qualifying. The best reps I know are ruthless qualifiers, and they put great faith in a set of warning signs refined over many sales calls.

I started to jot down the red flags I’ve seen (or collided with as the case may be) when talking to businesses about the value of social media and social promotions, and in particular the ROI available from using a platform like FanTools. Then I found a better list created by the folks at Brainzooming.

Granted, their list of 13 Signs is written from a slightly different point of view…a company self-assessing its own readiness to adopt social media. But the red flags will be on display in a sales setting, too.

My list overlaps theirs in the following areas. Quoting from their list…

  • A general fear of customers and the power they potentially hold over the brand
  • Slow and unpredictable approval times for traditional communications materials
  • A distrust of employees and the judgment they use
  • Inaccessible (or uninterested, uncooperative, etc.) content owners (i.e., subject matter experts)

I would add that an unwillingness to accept that today’s younger consumers have made different decisions about media consumption and how they choose to interact with brands — and worse yet, the belief that those decisions are somehow wrong or reflect temporary insanity — is a major red flag.

Sales execs everywhere, flee the flag. See if your next appointment can be available a little earlier than planned! There are many businesses embracing new ways to drive growth, build brand and connect with their next generation of customers. They’re eager to talk to you.





FanTools 2.0 Live Monday!

Good news! FanTools is going live Monday, September 12th, 2011. We are excited to share the new features and enhancements you will be able to use.

New Features include:

    • New Promotion Types Create Flash Deals, Group Buys, and Informational Posts
    • Publish to WebPublish deals to your Website in addition to your Facebook Page
    • Custom Notification MessagesSend customized messages to your Facebook Wall, Twitter account, Email, and SMS
  • Tiered AdministrationOrganize and create users, roles and sub-organizations with flexible permissions

Don’t Forget!

Visit the Four51 FanTools Facebook Page for more updates and the latest news!

The Four51 FanTools Team

FanTools 2.0 is Coming!

FanTools 2.0 is scheduled for release the week of September 12th, 2011. There are many new features and enhancements we are excited to share!

To highlight a few…

New promotion types. Three more promotion types will be available in addition to coupon (formerly SmartDeal):

  • Group Buy — Create “daily deal” type offers (similar to Groupon). With FanTools, you control the discounts, timing and terms and keep all the money
  •  Flash deals — Create time-sensitive offers that include a countdown timer! Think about a theater with extra tickets to sell right before the show, or a food vendor who needs to quickly clear out excess inventory
  •  Informational posts — Get the word out to all your fans about upcoming special events, guest appearances, new menu items…any type of message that isn’t offer-related


Please join us for a free in-depth Webex demo of the new FanTools features and enhancements!

When? 12:00 noon CST September 7, 2011

How? Just click here to register!

Who? Jim Lahner, Customer Support and Scott DeToffol, Product Director

To learn more about the release, please visit our blog between now and the week of September 12th for more updates on our development efforts. And remember to keep yourself up to date with FanTools and social media by visiting the Four51 FanTools Facebook Page.