Facebook for Horse Businesses

by Michelle on March 27, 2012

March 30 will be a big day for Facebook page owners. All fan/business pages will be automatically switched over the the new Timeline. Not everyone is real thrilled about this, but we don’t have a choice as we know Facebook loves to roll out changes.

Several of you who have horse businesses or horse related businesses have fan pages for your business. I am writing this to make you aware of some of Facebook’s guidelines and the upcoming changes and rules associated with them.

Did you know Facebook has rules? They do, and they are broken all the time. That doesn’t mean that they won’t make an example of your page though. If you break their rules, they can shut down your page. All that work of getting “likes” and “fans” can be gone in one click by the powers that be at Facebook.

Did you know you aren’t allowed to run contests through Facebook? Using their likes or shares button is against their rules. You can hold a contest through your website (send people to your site to vote) or through an application that you add to your page. It is against the rules to run your contest through new likes and shares.  Like this picture to enter or share this picture or page to enter is grounds for Facebook to delete your page.   Using an application or sending users to your site to enter is the proper protocol. 

Here is a good resource on Facebook promotions and how to run them within the rules.

With the introduction of the new Timeline for pages, we are given a huge cover photo space.   This photo may be a tempting place to run a billboard with your website address and contact information but Facebook disagrees.   They have rules for the cover picture too.  It should not contain your web address nor any contact information.  They want that info to go in the “about us” area.   There shouldn’t be any call to action or suggestion to “like” your page.

Facebook expert Mari Smith offers this article with 21 tips for business using the new Timeline

Your Timeline cover image should be 851 x 315 pixels in size.  If it is smaller than this they will stretch it to fit.  If it is larger and not to scale your scale will change.  It is recommended to build or have it built that exact size.  You will notice by using your preview (available until March 30) that part of your profile image covers the Cover image so consider that in your design.

Your profile image could be your mug shot, logo or other identifying information.  It is best to upload this image at 180 x 180 in size.  It will be seen throughout Facebook in feeds and in other peoples Like lists so make is something easily recognizable.  Facebook doesn’t recommend you change your profile picture often but do encourage changing your Cover image.  Each time you change your cover image it will show up as a news item in your fans feed.  Although you can’t put a call to action on the picture, you could do something like that in the picture comments.

Any apps that you may have running on the left hand tab (notes, videos, blog feeds etc.) will no longer be there.  These apps will show up as the tabs under your Cover image.   4 show up at a time and you can pick which ones you want to show.  You can also upload a custom image for each.  You can see by this screen capture of the Rodeoclassifieds Facebook page we still need to design some custom tab images to really get the mileage we could be.    We could do “click to see newest ads” and “Read our blog:…or something like that to customize our tabs.

We could use some custom tab images here

The new Timeline splits the posts into two columns.  This does make it a bit tricky to follow compared to what we are used to but it does have some cool options we didn’t have before.

Click highlight so your post spans the 2 columns

You can now pin a post to the top (by clicking the edit button at the top right of post). It will stay up as the top post on your wall for 7 days and automatically remove itself.  You can also click the highlight button (the star) and it will spread your picture or post across the two columns.  If it is a picture you can actually reposition to.  Use this feature when it fits, it will really add to your page.

Another worthy note is that fans can now message you through Facebook.  On your admin panel where it will show you new notification and likes there is a box for messages.  This is a great opportunity to communicate with your fans directly through Facebook.  If you don’t want users to contact you through Facebook you can disable it by editing your page.

If you have a website and a Facebook page remember to connect the two.   Add a like button to your website and of course link to your website through Facebook.  If you have placed an ad on a site like Rodeoclassifieds, remember to post the link on your page to get the most mileage you can.

Facebook is another great advertising and promotion venue However, we have to remember to play by their rules and make the most out of their changes.  If you would like to learn more, here are some great links:

A more in depth look at more changes and customizations you can make from by Kristi Hines on kissmetrics.com

This is another great resource with many frequently asked questions about pages answered by the Hyperarts Blog

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