Archive | March, 2012

Create Eye Appealing Facebook Cover Photos with These 10 Apps!

26 Mar

Facebook is changing how we can express ourselves on our Facebook page. With their new Timeline Profile you are now free to express yourself with a big banner behind your profile picture. Facebook call it “timeline cover”. You can learn about timeline here. The tools below provide you with the power to create a more creative and customized timeline banner to impress all of your friends. With over a million timeline cover, the choice is completely up to you.

Overall it’s crazy to see the rate at which all these Cover sites popped up. If you are somewhat tech savvy, you understand that this new feature has create a whole new market. Now, you can actually purchase premium, professionally designed, timeline covers. This goes to show how the web moves in this day and age. One thing we hope is for people not to take shortcuts and start showcasing stolen material from places like Dribbble and DeviantART.

In reality, there are multiple ways to create a truly awesome cover. If you are a designer, you probably don’t even need the following tools and would find it easier  to do it yourself. For others, people who might lack Photoshop skills, the simplicity of signing-in to a Facebook app and using a one click install is very useful. Whatever floats your boat, in the end we hope you will find this article useful!

1. Face it Pages

faceitpages 10 Free Tools to Create a Facebook Timeline Cover

FaceItPages provides do-it-yourself tools that empower you to create custom landing tabs for your Facebook Business Page or Facebook Fan Page. Add over 20 applications to your Facebook business page. You can also add lead capture applications such as coupon and promos, contact forms, fan gate and more.

2. Timeline Cover Banner

timeline cover banner 10 Free Tools to Create a Facebook Timeline Cover

Creating a Cool Facebook Timeline Cover for Fun or Business has Never Been Easier! Timeline Cover Banner allows you to have advertisement/watermark free covers. Unlike many other cover websites, they actually understand that your Facebook profile is NOT an advertisement banner.

3. CoverCanvas

covercanvas 10 Free Tools to Create a Facebook Timeline Cover

Show your creativity and originality by spicing up your Facebook cover profile using The Site Canvas. Customize your page and profile, change your background, create your own cover, or choose from a wide selection of covers from the site gallery. This is a good way to showcase your personality and even create a brand using social media.

4. My FB Covers

myfbcovers 10 Free Tools to Create a Facebook Timeline Cover

Facebook Covers from myFBCovers.com can help make your facebook profile more unique. They create high quality facebook covers. The site used to be called myFBBanners.com, but with Facebook’s new profile update for 2011, facebook banners were eliminated.

5. Pic Scatter

picscatter 10 Free Tools to Create a Facebook Timeline Cover

Scatter pic cover creator is a service that uses your previously uploaded Facebook account photos to generate a custom timeline cover. The photos can be derived from the photo album, photos of friends, and the photos you like. The photos will be displayed as a collection of photographs that are scattered. The service also provides a gray scale effects for free. While other effects such as sepia, vintage, pink, glow, etc. can only be used by premium users. They also have the annoying watermark “made with picscatter.com” on the cover that is made for free.

6. Cover Photo Magic

cover magic 10 Free Tools to Create a Facebook Timeline Cover

CoverPhoto Magic is a cover photo customizing tool. In two simple steps you will create a cover photo based on variety of designs, combined with your favorite photos from your Facebook photo albums.

7. Coverjunction

coverjunction 10 Free Tools to Create a Facebook Timeline Cover

CoverJunction creates Facebook Covers that are unique to the user. From mosaics of your most liked photos to personalised Facebook friendship maps, it is the only place for a Facebook Cover that truly represents you.

8. Facecoverz

facecovers 10 Free Tools to Create a Facebook Timeline Cover

If you are looking for the best Facebook Covers with a large selection, look no further! They have thousands of Facebook Covers organized in different categories for you to choose from. The directory is updated on a daily basis so you can always have the newest of Facebook Covers!

9. Freefacebookcovers.org

freefacebook covers 10 Free Tools to Create a Facebook Timeline Cover

Finally, somebody that get’s it. FreeFacebookCovers.org is the best place to get handcrafted high quality Facebook Covers! Every single one of the images we use are verified before uploading for your use. Free Facebook covers was build based on the notion that everyone should have access to the best and of course, free Facebook covers out there. They do not use your profile as an advertising space.

10. Fb Cover Pix

fb cover pix 10 Free Tools to Create a Facebook Timeline Cover

Fb Cover Pix is the premiere Facebook cover photo service. Easily find, upload, and share cover photos for your Facebook profile. With a clean design and an easy to navigate site, Fb Cover Pix is a great resource for anybody!

“A picture says a thousand words,” what will your Facebook Cover say about you?

50 Free Social Media Tools!

19 Mar

A couple years ago, Jay Baer wrote a great blog post called ‘The 39 social media tools I’ll use today’ which was an all-in-one toolkit for social media marketers (and still is).

A lot has changed in the two years since that post was published so here is a ’2012 remix’ featuring 50 (mostly free) tools you can use on a daily basis.

Whether you are just starting out in the social media arena or have been at it for a few years, this will hopefully be a handy resource.

Listening / Research

The foundations for any social media marketing activity start with listening and in-depth research, ranging from influencer identification to campaign planning.

General listening tools

Specific listening tools

Each of the major social media platforms can be interrogated using a combination of specific tools including: FBsearch.us (Facebook), Monitter.com (location-based Twitter search), TagDef.com (Twitter hashtags), YouTube/KeywordTool (YouTube content optimization tool).

General research tools

Another very handy tool is Google’s AdPlanner which can help you determine which online destinations are most relevant to your product, brand or service.

Content Creation / Curation

Publishing / blogging

  • Best in class: WordPress.com – The world’s best publishing platform catering to the very big to the very small.
  • Alternatives: Tumblr.comPosterous.com and many more.
  • New kid on the block: CheckThis.com – Need a single page website in an instant? This is the tool for you.

Content discovery / curation

There are literally millions of tools and process for discovering relevant content and arranging it online so it can be re-purposed / re-shared. Here as just a few: Bo.lt,Trap.itYourVersion.com and MyCube.com are all examples of content curation and discovery tools which you can tailor to suit your needs).

If you are looking for specific forms of content, the following tools are useful too:

  • Imagery: Stock.xchng (the best place to find free images by keyword) andNew.Pixable.com (A Pinterest-style image aggregator based on your networks and interests)
  • Video: en.fooooo.com (video search engine which aggregates results from all the major video platforms)

Engagement

Dashboards

The best engagement dashboards are often a subject of much debate. The most widely used ones include TweetDeck.comHootSuite.com and SproutSocial.com, but there are a bunch of other alternatives out there too.

Scheduling: BufferApp.com – A simple way to ‘pace and space’ your updates across multiple social networks.

Blog comments

Two of the most popular blog comment management tools are Disqus.com andLiveFyre.com but there are a host of others out there too, includingIntenseDebate.com.

Analysis / Insights

There is definitely no shortage of analytics tools out there, and the free ones pack some formidable power.

Website analytics

  • Google Analytics is the king when it comes to free website insights but lots of other tools can play a role too.
  • StatMyWeb.com is a great all-in-one tool to get a feel for the performance of any website on the planet and SiteTrail.com/analysis/ can track site performance over a time period.

Social media analytics tools

  • Twitter: TweetReach.com is perfect for measuring the impact of a campaign or hash tag and TwitterCounter.com is great for analyzing the growth and impact of Twitter accounts.
  • Facebook: In addition to the Facebook Insights tools, sites like SocialBakers.comcan give you an idea of page performance outside the ones you manage.
  • YouTube: The YouTube Comments Search tool is worth having in your toolkit to assess community sentiment post-upload.

If you are after a social buzz aggregator, you’re not short on choice either with sites like ZoomSphere.comYourBuzz.com and Unilyzer.com also worth a look.

ViralHeat.com provides great insights too and has a nifty extension that provides you with sentiment on any social network page (as reliably as is technically possible).

While this suite of tools doesn’t take care of absolutely everything on your social media marketing plate, it is a decent starting point and something you can add to…and add to…and add to…

 

New Facebook Timeline Builds Brand Personality!

12 Mar

Facebook recently released Timeline for business pages, and I’m pretty ecstatic about it. I had a feeling that these changes would be similar to the personal profile updates released a couple months ago, but I knew the functionality would have to be different to be successful. After all, there’s a big different between Facebook users and businesses….right?

Wrong.

Brands are constantly trying to create a personality – something that relates to customers on a human level. Put simply, these brands want to be your bff, but Facebook wants them to be your bffl.

“Like My Page!”

I’ll be honest. In the past, I would suggest setting up a default landing tab for visitors, but there’s no need for that with the addition of the cover photo. I’ve seen the growth of horrendous looking tabs, built around the push marketing methods of the past.

The purpose of these tabs was to drive leads, fans, and the continual spamming of your friends’ news feeds with “special offers.” I may be the only one, but it seems like brands were focusing more on these tabs then actually creating worthwhile posts that users WANTED to interact with.

To the social media “gurus” whose only value proposition was the addition of tabs, have fun suckering money out of your clients. You my friend, are going to have an absolute nightmare driving leads (using tabs) for clients with the latest changes.

Private  Conversation

Like our conversations in real life, our discussion with friends depends on different situations (public vs. private). Facebook apparently recognized that many community managers need the ability to respond to inquiries in private. I’ve seen so many comments by individuals on brand pages, with a response like this:

“Hi _______. Thanks for contacting us about your concerns. Please email us at customerrelations@brand.com and we’ll get it straightened out as soon as possible.”

 

Now it will look something like this:

Hi ________, we just sent you a message. We’ll get things straightened out as soon as possible.”

This is an awesome addition; customer service can now be handled easily without the addition of some cheesy third-party app.

Cover Photo

The new cover photo will be the first impression for users unfamiliar with certain brands. I view this photo as a great opportunity to communicate the mission of the organization in a graphically appealing way. Many of my friends have awesome cover photos, now it’s the businesses turn to impress.

      Milestones

Milestones make me grin. It’s so cool to see a vintage photograph of a 1964 Ford Mustang on Ford’s Timeline. It allows users to connect with the brand on a more personal level. Companies have stories too, and milestones enable brands to showcase the timeline of the company history.

Welcome to Innovation

While I feel bad for all the social media marketers who just lost 50% of their business (actually I don’t feel sorry), I am extremely happy that the playing field is level once again. No longer are landing tabs the focus – it’s back to what really matters. The content. If you publish quality updates, people will connect with you. It’s that simple.

Also, in light of all these changes, it’s important for businesses to know that innovation is what Facebook does. If you have a problem with the changes, simply take an hour and read a how-to guide. Be ready for constant change, it’s why Facebook is destroying the competition.

Lastly, these changes create the potential to tell stories. Whether it’s a simple status update, the addition of a major milestone, or an awesome cover photo, Timeline is where it’s at.

Facebook Unveils Timeline for Businesses: What You Need to Know to Make the Transition Seamless!

5 Mar

On Wednesday Facebook introduced a major revamp for business pages that gives you more control over the look and feel of your company’s page. The new page layout helps you interact more easily with your Facebook fans, enabling enhanced graphics, the capability to feature posts, and private messages with fans.

Most Facebook users are familiar with the new Timeline layout. Not only does it organize status updates onto a timeline, making it easy to call up a Facebook user’s posts by month and year, but the Facebook experience becomes much more visual, with larger and more clearly displayed photos.

Here are the key features, and how to get your company ready for the Facebook-wide rollout on March 30.

 

Upload New Cover and Profile Photos

To get started with the new design, upload a cover photo to showcase your brand. If you have the budget, hire a graphic designer to do something special. Facebook states that the ideal size is 851 by 315 pixels if you want to give it a go yourself. Just click on “Add a Cover” near the top-left of your Facebook page, and choose “Upload Photo”.

The profile photo is the smaller image that appears beside all of your status updates, as a box within your larger cover photo. This is an ideal spot for a logo (as in Red Bull’s example), about 180 by 180 pixels. If you already have a page, your existing profile picture will be here, but you may want to move or resize it. To change the profile photo, hover your mouse over it and click “Edit Profile Picture”.

 

View the New ‘About’ Section

The section that used to be buried in the “Info” tab on your company page is now front and center along its very top, so consider rewriting it to show it off. Keep it short and to the point; think mission statement rather than an entire company biography.

 

Control How Posts Are Displayed

With Timeline, you can pin a post to the top of your Facebook page for up to seven days to highlight popular or relevant content. You can also change postdates, which will help you bump up posts that you want to keep at the top of the page.

You can “star” a post to feature it more prominently, increasing the size of the post to take up the full width of your Facebook page. This means you want to pay a little more attention to photos that may end up on your Facebook page; you’ll want to take them at a minimum width of 851 pixels so they can be featured as part of a “starred” post without pixelating.

Add Company Milestones

You’ll be able to create company milestones on your Timeline, which gives you an easy way to translate company history to Facebook. You can also feature events like new store openings and product launches.

 

Control Posts on the Activity Log

Facebook’s new Activity Log will let you manage your posts. This administration panel lets you hide and reveal posts, “star” posts to feature them, and change postdates.

 

Admin Panel Shows Stats and Activity

The new Admin Panel features private messages from Facebook users to your company, which removes complex customer issues and complaints from your public Facebook wall and puts them in your inbox, where they belong.

The Notifications tab keeps your notifications about likes and comments in one place, which will allow most company page admins to turn off the notifications filling up their email inboxes.

Insights is Facebook’s own analytics tool, which tells you who’s talking about your company page through “Talking About This,” and how many people the conversations are reaching through “Reach”. While Insights isn’t new, its integration with the Admin Panel makes it more accessible.

 

 Track Friend Activity

When people visit your page, they’ll be able to see their friends’ interactions with your company near the top of your company page. This gives a more personal feel to those visiting your page, and builds trust in your brand. The only downside is that a negative mention from a visitor’s Facebook friend is also likely to show up here.

 

When to Take Action 

All business pages will be upgraded to the new layout automatically on March 30. To see what your new page will look like, click the preview button at the top of your current company page. If you like it already, you can publish your page right now rather than waiting a month.

 

What I Would Change

Companies should be most concerned about the Friend Activity. While it’s a great feature if everyone is speaking in glowing terms about your company, negative comments have a way of bubbling to the top faster than positive ones. If a company is concerned about reputation management, it should have the option of turning off Friend Activity. And if it were up to me, I’d roll in the Activity Log to the Admin Panel rather than having two separate consoles to manage my page.

Other than these minor gripes, the new changes are definitely an improvement to the company and user experience on Facebook.

 

Facebook Also Updates Advertising and Offers

Meanwhile, Facebook announced it will feature Premium Ads and Sponsored Stories on the mobile newsfeed as well as the Facebook logout page. They will also be introducing Offers, a free way for businesses to share promotions directly from their company Facebook Page.