By Amanda MacArthur • 09/04/2012
The words “spring cleaning” draw up images of folded laundry, clean windows and dust-free shelves. But what about “profile cleaning?” Think about all the social networks you’re on that aren’t your everyday tools (it’s OK, we all have favorites). Since social networks change their structure every couple of months, it’s easy for your business profile to look dusty and unkept.
If you haven’t been a top model on every social network out there, perhaps it’s cleaning season to update those avatars, tabs and links.
If you haven’t checked into Facebook in a while you might be surprised to see how much it has changed. Facebook has over gone a few different layout changes, the most notable of which is the introduction of the Timeline. Below are a few other major changes you should pay attention to.
- Cover images are used to attract (not monetize) – You now have a cover photo on your Facebook page and it takes up a lot of room. To be more specific, it should be 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall. To keep your page loading quickly, upload an sRGB JPG file that’s less than 100 kilobytes. Here are some examples of publishers who chose great cover images. According to Facebook’s Page Guidelines, covers may not include calls to action, website URLs, price or purchase information, and they may not solicit “likes”.
- Facebook tabs are customizable and organizable - Don’t ignore these tabs, because you can design and brand them yourself. While your Facebook tabs were once somewhat hidden on the left of your profile page, they’re now given great attention. Choose which three applications you want to show up (there are four, but you can’t remove your photos from the first slot). Make them more click-worthy by editing their text and featured image too.
- Advertising has been integrated - Facebook ads haven’t worked too well for publishers in the past, but they’re now offering in-line ads that completely blend in with a user’s news feed. You can promote your page by leveraging the networks of your fans, and promote specific posts that require increased exposure.
- Apps have started to glitch - When Timeline launched, lots of auto-posting apps went down, or look downright ridiculous now. Make sure if you decided to automate your page, that it’s working correctly.
Twitter’s most drastic change is that they completely removed their name from their logo. Now they’re simply a blue bird. Their design and apps have made minor changes too, but nothing that would confuse someone who’s stepped away for a month. Below are some changes that might alter your experience:
- Cross/auto posting has been nixed – Have you been relying on Facebook to post to Twitter for you? Check your feed, because it’s not posting anymore. You were once graciously allowed to cross post to Twitter from any application. That’s no longer the case, as Twitter has been shutting down APIs all over the place. Check your other API-driven tools too. LinkedIn is another broken relationship.
- Twitter ads got a little better - You once needed a golden ticket and a $5,000 budget to advertise on Twitter, but not anymore. Their advertising system has evolved to pay-per-click and pay-per-follow. You can choose a targeted geographic area (if you want) and then promote your profile and promote specific tweets.
- You have more official buttons to get creative with – Twitter now has four different buttons you can use on your website, including one meant to promote hashtags. We came up with some good applications for the new buttons back in December, so they aren’t exactly new but are often overlooked.
- Images are more visable - Twitter now displays your most recent photos in the sidebar of the page, which are often extracted from things you re-tweet too.
Google+ is an SEO-friendly network, and we like to stay in Google’s good graces. Unfortunately, this is the most neglected network for many businesses which is why you might see some big changes when you check back in.
- The cover photo looks a lot like Facebook timeline – You now have a 940×180 pixels cover photo which is overlapped by a big 250×250 pixel profile photo to the right of your business page. You also have the ability to manage all your pages from a single personal profile and grant other team members access rights.
- They’re slowly releasing custom URLs – G+ has been slowly rolling out the ability to claim your custom URL for your accounts. It’s not available to everyone yet, but it’s a good enough reason to check back in to your profile and find out. We’re guessing the most active users are getting them first.
- You can now create and promote events - Like Facebook, G+ now allows you to create and promote events. The coolest feature here for publishers who host events is the ability for everyone to automatically snap and share photos at your event with everyone who RSVP’d.
Every social network takes some upkeep, and you’re allowed to have favorites as long as you check in once in a while to make sure everything is running smoothly. If there are social networks you haven’t updated in weeks or months, consider deleting them and focusing you efforts on the ones that work.
Any other updates out there that surprised you?
Posted in Audience Development Strategy