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Facebook interest lists

I have been asked numerous times by fans of Facebook Pages about how to ensure that the feed of the page that they like shows up in their news feed. While there are a few ways to make this happen, one of the most efficient ways is to create Interest Lists.

This lets the user customize their news feeds by essentially subscribing to their favourite pages, people and interests.

Let’s get started on how to create your very own interest list:

  • Go to your Interests menu (at the bottom left) on the home page of your personal page. If you don’t see it listed there, try clicking the More button and it should appear.
  • Cick the Add Interests button and then Create List.
  • Facebook will then show you a list of the pages you like and you can click on each page you wish to be added to your list.
  • After you’ve selected all of the pages, people etc. you want to be included on the list you have created, click Next.
  • Type the name you would like to create for your list and then select the privacy setting.
    • Do you want your friends to be able to see who is in this list?
    • Do you wish the members/pages to be private?
  • When you are done selecting your privacy settings click Done.
  • Now, when you go to Facebook you can click on that specific interest list name on the bottom of your page on the left. You will then see all the posts by the pages or people that you added!

The basics: Facebook timeline for brands

It has been just less then two weeks since Facebook Timeline rolled out to the general public, but as marketers we have been working with Timeline since it was first unveiled on February 29th. So, we have had a couple months to digest everything and while a lot of the basics are still there, it is essentially a complete remodel of pages as we knew them.

Here is your Facebook Timeline 101.

Customizing Your Timeline Page

Cover Photo

The Cover Photo size is 850 pixels X 315 pixels. Facebook has restrictions on what can be shown on your cover photo. You can read all about them here. The things to be noted are:

All covers are public. This means that anyone who visits your Page will be able to see your cover. Covers can’t be deceptive, misleading, or infringe on anyone else’s copyright. You may not encourage people to upload your cover to their personal timelines.

Covers may not include:

i.    price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it on socialmusic.com”;

ii.    contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section;

iii.    references to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features; or

iv.    calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”

In general the cover photo should be something that speaks to your brand. There are a ton of blogs out there showcasing the best and the worst of what brands have done with their cover photo. SocialTechPop.com has a good list, but maybe I am biased as I love their reason behind the fact that Virgin Airlines cover photo made #16 on their list.

Profile Picture

The profile picture that rests inside the cover photo is sized at 180 pixels X 180 pixels. In general most brands should consider using their logo for this piece of real estate. This profile picture is what will be seen in your activity stream and therefore is branding reinforcement. When the photo is seen in an activity feed it will be 32 X 32 pixels so ensure that your profile picture works at that size.

Of course there are exceptions to every rule. Proceed with caution though as even brand powerhouses can forgot that branding 101 rules should apply.


Your tabs, which Facebook now refers to as apps, run along the bottom of your cover photo. You can have up to 12 apps shown, with four being on the first line. The Photos App and Likes App cannot be changed although the location of the Likes App can be. The Photo App will always be the first app you see.

Custom App Thumbnail

For any pages that have custom apps you have the ability to use your own image as the thumbnail for your tab. Simply hover over it, click edit, and upload the image of your choice. Image size should be 111 X 74. While you are in the Edit mode you can also change the display name that is shown below your app.

Your profile picture, cover photo and custom apps (tabs) are the basics of what makes up your Timeline landing page.



Your composer or sharing tool is where you can post your status update, a photo, ask a question or record a milestone.

Highlighting a Post

When you look in the right upper corner of your post you will now see two options: 1.Highlight and 2. Edit/Remove

Highlighting a post is simply doubling the width of your post to have it span two panels. If you use this feature strategically you can really highlight the most important posts for your company. Personally, I also think that this feature has more impact when used along side posts that contain great images or video.

Wildfire App recently released data that showed that while the old Facebook pages showed the most engagement with status updates the new Timeline is showing increased engagement with photos.

Pin a Post

Pinning a Post should be used when there is announcement or communication that your company deems important enough to reside above all other communication for that point in time. Pinning a post, does just what it sounds like, and pins a post to the top of your status updates for up to 7 days. Even if you update your status within the 7 days your newest status updates will be posted below your pinned post. This is a fantastic feature for brands and I feel one of the positive improvements that we have seen from the new Timeline. It is recommended that you have pin a post at least once a week for maximum effectiveness.


Milestones are key moments that you wish to highlight on your Page. This type of post is automatically expanded to widescreen and visible to all traffic visiting your Page.

If you wish to add a milestone, simply click in the composer/sharing tool and click Milestone. Add a headline, location, date and any details you want to communicate for your milestone. Select add a photo and then click save.

You can navigate to the location you wish your Milestone to be posted and click the + to post.

To add a milestone:

  1. Click Milestone in the sharing tool at the top of your Page’s timeline
  2. Add a headline, location, date and details for your milestone
  3. Choose to add a photo
  4. Click Save

From anywhere on your Page’s timeline, scroll to a spot and click  to post a milestone or other type of story to a particular date.

Milestone photos display at 843 pixels wide and 403 pixels tall. At this time, January 1, 1000 is the earliest date a milestone can have.

So, there you have the basics that can get you and your Facebook Timeline page up and running. Experiment with your page to see how Timeline changes affects your brand. Do you find that you are getting more engagement on pinned posts? Or highlighting posts? We are all entering the Timeline world together so if you have a tip or trick that people should know about Timeline pass it along!

Thanks to my clients Photos By KathrynFix Auto Canada and Willowbrook Shopping Centre for letting me share screen shots from their Timeline Facebook pages.

Running online facebook & twitter contests

We launched an online contest today for one of my clients and although the work is far from over it had me thinking of all the pre-work that goes into running a contest, promotion or sweepstakes. For those that prefer the do-it-yourself method rather than outsourcing the work. Here are some key considerations before you dive in.

1. What is the purpose of your contest and how will you determine success?

Are you looking at attracting Facebook fans, building brand awareness, or getting leads? This is the first and most important step as it will ensure that your analyze the success of your campaign accurately. For my client, Fix Auto, we are looking to build brand awareness. Therefore, for us, the # of entries we get into contest is not as important as click through rates. If people clicked through to their Facebook page, we have in all likely hood brought attention to our name and what we do.

2. Determine how you will run your contest.

The majority of people are unaware of Facebook’s strict promotion guidelines. It is very important that you make yourself aware of their policies for pages and contests, sweepstakes and promotions. Many of my clients come to me saying that they have run a promotion on their wall of their Facebook Page giving away something or making liking you a requirement. This is actually against Facebook guidelines. I suggest using a third party app to facilitate your promotion. Personally, I like Wildfire as it is straight forward, provides basic analytics even at the base accounts and it looks professional.

3. Legal is important.

When I began to run contests and promotions online I asked around for a lawyer that was knowledgeable in this area. I wanted to ensure that my clients “Official Rules” were actually valid and covered all the areas of the contest and Canadian Law. It shocked me as I began asking around to colleagues for a lawyer referral (including those that work at agencies) that no one was able to give me a name. One agency person actually told me, “just cut and paste from something else.” No thank you. It is your name and brand on the line when you run a contest and who wants the headache of legal post or mid-contest. For small businesses, ask around for referrals and be up front about your budget. I know I found a great law firm that was able to fit within my budget as I used an articling student and got a less expensive rate than using a partner of the firm.

4. Promote. Promote. Promote.

You have determined your objective, consulted your lawyer and built your campaign. Now just sit back and let it all roll in right? Many people fail to promote their contest properly and therefore don’t maximize the benefits of doing so. Compliment your campaign with online advertising. Yes, there is the obvious of Google Ads and Facebook Ads, but also look to websites that allow you greater exposure in your target area or target group. For example, the Fix Auto campaign that I spoke of above we used additional sites such as Castanet, a news website that has a large audience in the Okanagan, BC to target a specific audience. By having a call-to-action ad we are building awareness of our name through views, but ultimately we want the public to click through to enter the contest as we feel there is a greater level of awareness of our company name if they follow the link through to our contest page.

5. Make Adjustments to your Promotion of Contest.

The best part about digital marketing is that in most cases you are stuck with your initial copy. Not getting the response you were hoping? Try changing the copy or the image and see if the public responds better to that. Some campaigns run six different ad layouts to judge which seems to get a better response from the public.

6. Engage.

Have people that are tweeting about your contest or commenting about it. Make sure you acknowledge these brand ambassadors. They don’t get a paycheque for doing so but most will appreciate your acknowledgement.

Do you have any tips or comments that have worked for you?

Maximize your marketing by segmenting clients

In meetings with small business I ask the owners how they currently segment their client base. I am often told they that they know who their best clients are, but they don’t really have anything concrete in place in terms of a segmentation model. When questioned further about what they use to determine who a top, or “A”, client is I am told that they determine this simply by the amount of revenue generated, follow the basic 80/20 rule. 80% of your business comes from the top 20% of your clients.

If you choose to follow this method of segmenting you are missing out on key factors that will help you define your marketing strategies more effectively and therefore waste less of your marketing dollars. The more effective way to properly develop your segmentation model is to create a weighted formula. Decide your key areas you will evaluate and put a percentage weighted importance on each one. Create a formula that than generates a final number. Your final number will have the client fall into a predetermined classification of, say for example, A, B or C.

A = Ideal Client
B = Good Client
C = Has Potential / Developing Client
D = Terminate Client (if possible)

Every business is different and you need to choose what are the critical factors that may help you shape you strategy, but some of the basic ones that I often encourage owners to consider in their equation is.

1) How influential is the client? In their community, social circle, and social space?

2) How many clients have they referred to you?

3) Are they an innovator? Are they typically the first to try a new product or service?

4) How much maintenance do they require? Do they require hand holding through the pre-purchase phase, purchase decision and post-purchase phase?

5) What is their potential to be a top client?

6) How much revenue do they generate?

Determine the level of importance that each of these has on determining where your client should be segmented. Run a few tests using your clients. Does the formula results equal where you felt the client should be segmented? If not adjust the weights of categories until you are satisfied with the segments the clients are falling into. Then ensure that you are consistent in implementing this with every client in your contact list. By using this formula you will get a stronger representation who truly is an “A” client. Perhaps they are not the ones that generate the most revenue for you, but they consistently refer others to you and are an influential person in the community.

The key to keeping this effective is to do proper testing to ensure your formula is weighted properly, diligent in using the method, review annual and to develop your marketing strategy according to the results.

If you have any questions regarding this method don’t hesitate to contact me and I would be happy to answer them!