Spring is a time for change. The clocks go forward, the evenings get lighter and days warmer. But what's that got to do with Facebook? Perhaps it's no coincidence that Facebook picked the end of March to change the way it displays business pages.
That's right, at the end of last month Facebook rolled out the new Timeline update to all business pages. You'll notice a new layout, new features and a new look and feel. And it has more pictures, so think of it like telling the same story but using pictures instead of words. And that's just for starters - there are lots of neat new ways to get your message across.
But remember, while the new layout offers new opportunities for your brand, the same rules apply when it comes to engaging your customers - make sure you're being sociable!
With the new timeline, it's easier than ever for customers to see how active your brand is at striking up conversations, so you'll have to stay on your toes and make sure your page is up to date.
All the early indicators support Facebook's claims that the new timeline will help showcase brands' unique stories. Comparisons from some of the leading brands, such as Red Bull, Ben & Jerry's and Lexus, back those claims. The new-look timeline has increased fan engagement by 14%. It's still early days, but the signs are positive for brands on Facebook.
Daren Bach and Anita Murray, William Murray Communications
Top five Facebook tips
● A picture paints 1,000 words - size is everything
What you'll notice straight away is that you have a lot more space at the top of the page, so choose an eye-catching image that has impact and resonates with your followers.
And when it comes to Facebook, size is everything. So make the most of it (851 x 351 pixels), and remember to keep it refreshed to fit in with promotions or anything else that is of interest to your audience.
But beware of violating Facebook's terms. Check www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php for details.
● Brand profile picture - choose wisely
This image represents your brand's identity, and once you've made your decision you should stick with it. It's important to remember this image will show in the timeline stream when you make posts - both on your page and your fans' - so make sure it's easy to for people to identify your brand.
Top tip Box clever. The brand profile picture sits 23 pixels from the left hand side of the cover photo and 239 pixels from the top - that's the jargon. It means you can get clever and position the logo to look as if it is part of the bigger cover photo.
● Talk up your tabs
Business pages feature custom tabs, from competitions to more information about your products or brand. With the new timeline you have the option of customising your app icons, helping you draw attention to and increase clicks to your promotional campaigns.
Top tip If possible, use one of the tabs to display the number of fans you have. People don't like to feel left out and want to be part of the "in crowd". The more fans you have, the more likely new visitors are to click "Like" to be part of your page.
● Stay up. Pin up.
You can keep your most important posts from getting lost in the conversations taking place in the timeline by "pinning" them. You can pin a post to the top of your timeline for seven days at a time, increasing the likelihood that your audience will read it.
● Mark your milestones
A milestone is a major event that's relevant to your brand, such as a product launch or announcement. You can feature videos and photos to tell your story, or include questions to prompt discussion and conversation with your fans.
Top tip You can also step back in time and add past milestones or key dates in the company's growth to your page.
● Can't fit it all in?
Need more space? Don't worry. Timeline gives you that option. You can now promote larger photos, videos and link stories by expanding featured posts to the full width of the page. Simply select the "highlight" option, allowing the post to fill the full width of your page.