Facebook Geography 101

I’ve hit the next level of social media geek girl. Here’s an idea I’ve conjured up: A school that teaches the children of Millennial prodigies fundamentals of a social media centric education — social media studies, Twitter English, Facebook geography, SEO and Edge Rank mathematics, software programming science. Recess might consist of free web-time where children can aimlessly diffuse their energy on the internet’s playground. Kids are encouraged to pin their interests and express themselves by blogging or designing new WordPress themes.

Those at the top of their class can advance into serial careers as techy entrepreneurs joining the ranks of Gates and Zuckerberg.

What special thoughts I have at 11:30 pm on a school night. At this time in the evening I’m nearly as good as I am at 4:30 in the morning on the day I got up to catch the early worm. And by early worm, I mean presenting in a webinar on leveraging Facebook for non-profits.

In keeping up with my promise to publish slices of my notes for the session, and in no particular order, this is slice #2: Facebook Geography 101. (Slice #1 was: 6 keys to leveraging Facebook for non-profits)

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Facebook geography | Lindsey Talerico-Hedren

Image source: Geekosystem.com

… This is where I’ve just wrapped up a nice speech on why non-profits have a unique value proposition we offer our constituents in the social media space (but I thought you might like the school idea as a starting place for this post)… which we do. Here’s a seven word recap of that speech: Co-creation, depth, story, engaging, multifaceted, shared, multiplied.

And then you think to yourself, okay… yes, so where to start? And I tell you:

You start by deciding up front, right now…

      1. You’re not going to start and walk away: Don’t be the public example of a bad friend or uncommitted partner. We know, maybe better than any other industry, how important follow through is.
      2. You’re not going to separate your Facebook presence from all the other message-driven efforts of your organization: email, website, face to face relationships, etc… they need cohesiveness. Your org’s email and website need to friend request your Facebook Page stat.
      3. You won’t compromise your message for the sake of relevance and/or engagement. These characteristics should never come at the cost of transparency, honesty and authenticity — social media’s core values. Social media and technology today will want to test your marketing morals and your editorial integrity. I’m telling you now: Don’t let it.

But first… basics. Social media is really about mastering the basics. The key to social media isn’t the perfectly vintaged Instagram… it’s mastering basics like the status update and utilising everything a platform has to offer. When Facebook started scheming about how to take over the web, they started giving us more and more to work with (e.g. mobile apps, Page manager, Insights, advertising, Timeline). Those things are all at our disposal and they can help create a full picture of our brands on Facebook.

Facebook Geography 101: Where is everything?

Start by taking a walk through and exploring the basic geography of Facebook with an aim to discover its assets and flaws. Make mental cliff notes for yourself… how are you going to utilize and maximise the potential of Facebook’s layout? What kind of story are you going to tell? Which pieces of the Facebook interface are most important to you?

Cover image: This is the largest image on your Page and it’s the very first thing new users are going to see. Suggest you use this space to draw users in through the image… use a photo with people in it, people who are looking straight at the camera who are engaging you with their eyes.

Profile picture: Although your profile picture can take on a dozen sizes and shapes, don’t forget that it is reduced to a small square thumbnail on your Timeline and in news feeds. Therefore, I’d suggest this picture represents your brand extremely well. Use your logo, brand it with your org’s creative style and make it clear to all users whose updates they are reading. *Also consider the profile pic and cover image together as the first overlays the second at the top of your page. Do they match well? Is it too busy? Too many faces?

Facebook image dimensions | Lindsey Talerico-Hedren

*Used with permission from World Vision USA

Tabs: Facebook let’s you feature four tabs of your liking. A lot of orgs are using tabs like Facebook landing pages, directing their supporters to a “welcome” tab complete with a welcoming message. Because you can only feature four tabs, give this some strategic thought. (My thoughts: Photos are still the #1 most engaging content type. Feature that tab. Then consider what is next most important. Are you using Facebook Events as a main capture of what’s happening with your org? Feature the Events tab. Is direct acquisition important to your social media strategy? Consider a “donate” type tab. Are there campaigns or initiatives you want your supporter’s eyes on? Feature a custom tab for that.)

Admin panel: If you’re an administrator of a Facebook Page, your view should look like this:

Facebook admin panel | Lindsey Talerico-Hedren

Cliff notes of what you see here:

      • Notifications: Auto-updated to show you, the Page administrator, what’s been happening on your Page since you last checked — who is commented, new post likes, new Timeline posts from others, etc.
      • Messages: Private messages sent from Facebook users to you.
      • New likes: New people who have “liked” your Page.
      • Insights: Get to know your Facebook insights well. This small amount of quantitative data is going to save your butt in a marketing meeting. (Even though all the communicators will say qualitative data is much richer… and the social media managers all say AMEN!)
      • Voice: (Located in upper right hand corner) This reminds you which Facebook identity (or voice) you are using to post, giving you the option to choose the personal you (your Facebook account) or the Page name (as a representative of your org).

Timeline: Your Page’s ballpark… where all the activity is posted.

Facebook timeline | Lindsey Talerico-Hedren

        Choose whether you want your Timeline to show highlights (top posts), friend activity (what your personal Facebook friends are saying about the Page), posts by Page (that’s your posts as the Page admin), or posts by others (your supporters/fans). When selecting this, it defaults the Timeline’s view for everyone to your selection.

      • Take advantage of the different post types you can publish (e.g. status update, photo/video, event, milestone, question). Mixing your post type up will keep your supporters engaged and allow them to interact with your content in multiple ways.
      • Timeline is personalized to show your Facebook friends who also like your Page (upper right column).
      • Recent posts by others to your Page is area that shows messages/photos posting by your Page’s “like” to your Timeline. It also shows where/who has tagged your Page in their posts.

Facebook universal nav: Control your voice (the identity in which you’re posting on Facebook) and your settings from the universal nav and settings bar in the upper right hand corner.

Facebook geography 101 | Lindsey Talerico-Hedren

      • The “Home” drop down will show you the Pages you have administrative access to as well as the number of new notifications since you’ve last visited that Page.
      • Advise you to take a good 10 minutes running through your privacy settings as a personal Facebook user. Especially since many of org’s deal with child protection and privacy standards as well as employee usage standards. You don’t want what happened in Vegas to show up on Facebook, or in your manager’s news feed 🙂

Recap of what you’ve learned and today’s homework:

      • Utilise everything at your disposal: Cover image, profile image, Timeline, Tabs, etc…
      • Get to know Insights better
      • Mix up your content, play to Facebook’s strengths
      • Get your privacy settings in check
      • Tell a holistic story of your brand

So…. go, therefore, and make “likes” of all your supporters.

Cheers. (More notes coming soon)


“Leveraging Facebook for Non-profits” was one of 20 live online sessions in a Facebook Intensive Program focused on sharing discussion, advice, and case studies with experienced Facebook marketers.

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