The Facebook Fan page continues to be a viable tool for building an audience and engaging with fans of your art. If you haven't build a Fan Page, now is the time to invest a morning (1-2hrs max.) to get one set-up. If you already have Fan Page you will be excited to learn that FB has added some new features in their re-design and format-change called "Timeline."
Timeline will be applied to both personal Profiles and Fan pages, and it's expected to offer increased viewer participation, entertainment value and overall user enjoyment.
This post is a reminder that as of March 30, 2012 FB will automatically change over all sites to fit the new format. Facebook is allowing you to preview what your new Timeline will look like, if you're happy with the results, you can publish your new Timeline in advance of March 30th.
To help you get started, here's a list of seven features that are essential for marketing your art.
1. Cover Photo: The largest change is the physical look of the page. Timeline provides a large placeholder for a single photograph or image. This is a particularly great feature for visual artists, as it provides an opportunity to feature a specific artwork. Feel free to create a collage of several artworks (in Photoshop) or feature your most popular piece.
Tip: Images for uploading need to be cropped to a panoramic format, no larger than 851x315 pixels in size. Feel free to overlay text with your copyright or embed your name, however, do not include pricing or a call to action (This is no permitted by FB and could get your Page blacklisted).
2. The profile picture is now placed within the Cover photo. Just like the previous profile or page, this is a great place to feature a photograph of you. If you are using a business or gallery name, use this placeholder for a logo. Profile images need to be cropped square and sized at a minimum of 180x180 pixels.
3. The side menu is gone. There's a new feature called "Views," found directly under the Cover photo. This is where you'll find your photos, events, Likes and apps. Only a few of these window can be seen (without scrolling). Facebook allows you to reorganized these in priority, so make sure your "Photos" (likely your portfolio) are in the first two slots.
4. Under your Profile picture, is your "About" content. This will need to be carefully crafted as it is now placed front and centre for your viewers. This is a good place to include your website link and contact information.
5. The Admin Panel (seen above) is a new feature located at the top of your Page. Here is the place you can connect with your audience. Read client private messages, see who's been active on your Page in the Notifications and New Likes. When you have 31 Likes you also have the use of collecting user data through Facebook Insights.
Tip: At the top of your Admin panel there's a new feature under "Manage." In this pull-down menu, you can choose to "use Facebook as your Page." This is particularly helpful, because it allows you to communicate using the "voice" of your business, instead of your personal profile.
6. Organizing Content within your Timeline. Here's where things get fun! Your new stream allows you to organize your posts so you can feature the items that are most important. Your old posts should come through with the transition to Timeline, you'll see them arranged in 2 columns. They are also sorted by year.
Customize how your posts will appear and when, by clicking on a post to reveal a STAR and a PEN in the top right corner of your post. Select the STAR if you want the post to appear in 2 columns wide (seen left). You can fine tune your dates so that your posts appear in an order that creates better flow or helps with a story timeline.
In order to edit the content of your post, go to the Admin panel. Under Manage, select "Activity Log." Here you'll see a complete list of all your posts (public and private). Find the post you want to edit and make the changes to your text.
Tip: Promoting your upcoming exhibit? Also under the PEN tool inside each post, you'll see an option "Pin to Top". By selecting this your post will move to the top of your Timeline and remain there for 7 days (or longer if you renew during that period).
7. Last but not least, always add positive, useful and informative content. Share progress photos, locations you are scouting, artworks and people that inspire your creativity. The more connected your audience is with you, the more likely they will purchase your art.
A few more tips:
Your Facebook Page is ideal for sharing what you create with your friends and family. Use this tool often by designing stories that will start conversations. Ask for feedback and allow your visitors to talk about their experiences with you and how your art makes them feel.
Add videos. There are huge stats that suggest video's are appreciated (and shared) by most FB users.
Review all the privacy features. Note that you can single-out who sees what post by using the PEN tool when you click your post. This allows you to share slightly more personal artwork with friends, while still sharing exhibition and announcements with the public.
Keep your posts to 11 words long.
Post 1 main story per week (PIN to the top of your timeline).
Social commerce is the way of the future for selling your art. Your Facebook Timeline is free and easy to use-don't overlook this great business opportunity.
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