The new Facebook timeline has me thinking about branding strategies today. The timeline is rolling out to everyone tomorrow, so like it or not, it’s time to think about how the changes are going to effect your online branding.
Your new Facebook timeline is important to your branding strategies because of the huge space your cover photo occupies. The cover photo is the first thing people see when they visit your timeline.
Basically, its a person’s first impression of you. So, if you use social media to grow your business, you really should make it a good one.
But what makes a good first impression? Is it a picture from your family vacation? After all, marketing is all about relationships these days. And people relate to people, not business logos.
Or is it a professionally done graphic that incorporates your business brand? People who are just on Facebook for “fun” will be showing their family pictures. As a business professional, isn’t this a great way to show off your online branding? An opportunity to convince people they should do business with you?
The answer is, “it depends.” It depends on who your market is. And it depends on what your branding strategies are.
If you are a social media manager, and people are looking at whether to hire you to manage their social media campaigns, the professional graphic is probably right for you. My friend Kim Garst has one of the best looking professional covers I’ve seen.
And remember, your personal profile picture is inserted at the bottom left side of your cover, so your visitors can still see a picture of you even if you go with a professional graphic for your cover.
If you brand your business name or logo, rather than yourself and your own face, a professional cover consistent with your online branding seems obvious.
But what about the rest of us solo entrepreneurs? When you’re looking for just the right combination of personal and professional, what are the right branding strategies for you?
Will a picture of your kids on your Facebook cover (a la my timeline) cause people not to take you seriously? To think your business isn’t making enough money to have a “real” cover?
Will an impersonal graphic keep people from relating to you and feeling that they know, like and can trust you?
Again, this is where you have to look at your market and your own branding strategies. It’s not as easy as, “this is what I want people to see.” You need to ask “what does my market want to see?”
One way to figure this out is to look at what the leaders in your market are doing. Look at your competitors’ timeline covers. And experiment with it. Changing your cover is simple. Rotate various covers for a few weeks and see what kind of feedback you’re getting.
Here are a few good “do it yourself” sites that will allow you to experiment with trying different covers without spending a fortune for custom designs:
CoverPhotoMagic.com — this one makes your cover using selected photos from your Facebook albums.
The other thing you’ll want to ask yourself when considering what type of cover to use is “who am I to my market?” In other words, what are you telling your market on Facebook?
Do you share a lot about what you do in your personal life with your business contacts? Does your market know how many kids you have and where you went on vacation this year? If so, you may want to go more personal with your cover.
I’m thinking that a mix of personal and professional might best fit my online branding. There’s so much room on your cover, a good designer could blend the two.
I like what Mari Smith has done with hers. Obviously it will be changed soon, so I’ll tell you that right now it has a very cute holiday graphic as the main cover, and then a graphic showing off her new book that takes up a narrow strip on the right side of the cover. A nice blend between personal and professional.
Whatever you decide, share your link in the comments. I’d love to check it out and get some ideas from you!
JENNIFER HERNDON is a work at home mom with three fabulous kids, ages 3, 4 and 7. She has been enjoying the time freedom and financial benefits of working at home for over 13 years. Jennifer’s passion is empowering others to personal and business success through a positive mindset and consistent action.
Jennifer credits the turn-around in her online business to Jim Rohn’s One Year Success Plan, the perfect tool for planning a successful life. Here’s your chance to be inspired and guided daily by the world’s greatest business philosopher. Create your future with Jim Rohn’s One Year Success Plan and start improving your life and your business today!