So, the new Facebook Pages for brands, businesses, and organizations with the love-it-or-hate love-it Timeline feature was announced last week and the permanent change is imminently upon us. For existing Facebook Pages, there is a preview and voluntary transition period to the new layout between now and March 29, 2012 and on March 30, 2012, all Pages will be migrated over.
 

As a small business owner or artist, you might be wondering what the new features are and how you can take advantage of them now to increase your visibility and reach among potential fans (ie. getting more “Likes”). We’re here to help! Many of the new Pages features will be allow you to create a cohesive and memorable brand experience for your users visiting your Page.

Cover Photo: The Power of a Good First Impression

One of the most noticeable new features of Pages is the Cover Photo. Think of it like the cover of your portfolio or album art. This your chance to make a killer first impression on users visiting your Page.  You want to use a photo or even a collage that represents who you are and what you are about so that you can make an instant connection with your fans.
 

One thing to keep in mind is how the Cover Photo differs from your Profile Photo. The Profile Photo is essentially your avatar that represents you throughout Facebook. For example, when you comment on users’ personal profiles or other Pages, your Profile Photo is what will appear. The Cover Photo is only seen when users visit your Page.

Note: Check out Facebook’s Terms of Use for Pages. Facebook asks you not to use Cover Photos that include price or purchase information, contact information (that is what your About & Info sections are for!), or references to Facebook features (such as “Like”).

Milestones: Tell a Story with your Timeline

With the new Timeline feature, Facebook users have the ability to see how your business or artwork has developed and changed over time at their fingertips. Use this to your advantage by cleaning up your old posts and adding important events or milestones to your Timeline.
 

Milestones go back in time beyond the date when your Page was created, so use milestones to call attention to important events that have contributed to the success of your business or been instrumental in the development of your artwork. For example, create a milestone for when your business was founded or you started creating art. You can also create a milestone that commemorates the first dollar spent; the digital equivalent to the dollar in the picture frame in a brick-and-mortar store.  As an artist, you can showcase historically significant gallery events or concerts, ie. your first big break into the scene.
 
You can also associate photos with milestones, so make the most of your milestones by including a relevant and interesting photo so fans can visually connect with your story.

Extras: Other New Features

Pinned and Starred Posts: Take advantage of the new feature allowing you to pin posts to the top of your timeline for seven days to keep important updates visible so fans don’t miss them. This is a perfect way to transition from the “Landing Tab” in the old Facebook Pages layout. This is the first substantive content your fans will see from you – make it count! Also, starring posts allows posts to show up fullscreen (across both columns) so use it for posts you want to draw attention to on your timeline. This is great for smaller milestone events or announcements.
 
Custom View/App Icons: If you plan on keeping some of your static HTML pages when you switch over to the new Pages layout, be sure to take some time to create a custom icon for them when they show up in the views/apps area under the Cover Photo. Having custom icons will contribute to the overall cohesiveness of your Page. You can literally make these icons look anyway you choose (except they cannot be copyrighted by another person and they cannot contain indecent images) – get creative!
 

So, are you looking forward to the new Timeline for Pages? Dreading switching over? Want even more information on the new Facebook Pages and tips for how to use it effectively? Sign up for Behind the Scenes, our weekly newsletter, to get more details on what this new feature will mean for your page!

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Major Announcement!

The newest member of our The Art of Social Media guides will be released later this month! The Art of Facebook will be filled with information and suggestions, created and curated exclusively for artists and arts organizations. We are also working furiously to include up-to-date information about the new Timeline feature!

Worried about getting your page switched over before March 30, 2012? Sign up now to get notified as soon as The Art of Facebook is released!

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Whether you’re an artist, a museum, a creative arts center, an arts department, a theatre, or Hollywood, social media can be an effective tool in your marketing scheme. Although Twitter and Facebook remain paramount, other lesser known social media platforms, like YouTube, Flickr, and FourSquare, offer unique advantages for users in the arts industry. Regardless of the platform, social media offers several distinct benefits to artists and others in the arts community.

Today is the last of a four-part series highlighting several key advantages social media has to offer individuals and companies involved in the arts. Today, we’re talking about “Getting It Right.” In this post we will introduce you to several arts based businesses that effectively use social media to market their events, activities, and overall organizations.

YouTube: Anaheim Ballet

The Anaheim Ballet on YouTube

In addition to updating their YouTube channel on a weekly basis to keep their community interested and informed, the Anaheim Ballet has also taken it a step further by customizing the design of their channel page – custom color scheme, avatar, and background all enhance the viewer experience.

Their frequent use of YouTube and advertisement of their YouTube page has led to over 50,000 subscribers and over 38 million video views. The Anaheim Ballet also takes advantage of Google’s non-profit partnership and uses YouTube as a fundraising tool. Finally, the Anaheim Ballet also uses YouTube’s playlist feature to compile videos based on common themes including dancer biographies and festival highlights, etc.

Twitter: The Museum of Modern Art in New York

Museum of Modern Art on Twitter

MoMA boasts over 800,000 followers and posts regularly, yet not too often. MoMA uses Twitter effectively to not only market its own artwork and events, but also to actively engage in its community of followers and other Twitter users. MoMA regularly tweets about special events or exhibits, posting photos from inside the museum and of the artwork. In addition to self-promotion, MoMA contributes to the art conversation on twitter by retweeting other art center’s tweets, responding to questions posed by visitors or artists, and encouraging dialogue among followers by posting questions of its own. Finally, MoMA acts as a mouthpiece for key industry news posted on other traditional news sources.

Flickr – The Belkin Art Gallery

The Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery on Flickr

The Belkin Art Gallery’s Flickr group serves not only as a way to provide additional information about the gallery, but it also allows members of the group to post their own images from the Belkin Art Gallery. This encourages visitors to the Belkin Art Gallery to build a community among themselves, focused on the Belkin Art Gallery and its pieces. For a small art gallery like the Belkin, Flickr is a great free way to promote events and exhibits and allows visitors to do most of the promotion themselves.

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Whether you’re an artist, a museum, a creative arts center, an arts department, a theatre, or Hollywood, social media can be an effective tool in your marketing scheme. Although Twitter and Facebook remain paramount, other lesser known social media platforms, like YouTube, Flickr, and FourSquare, offer unique advantages for users in the arts industry. Regardless of the platform, social media offers several distinct benefits to artists and others in the arts community.

Today is the third of a four-part series highlighting several key advantages social media offer to individuals and companies involved in the arts. Today, we’re talking about Increasing Your E-Commerce Opportunities.

Increasing Your E-Commerce Opportunities
 

Once you’ve taken the steps to increase your exposure through social media and build a community of fans through fostering relationships, leverage the increased profile and your fans with e-commerce opportunities. In essence, leveraging e-commerce through social media means ensuring that your products (whether works of art, performances, or events) are advertised online as well.

If you’re not already, you should be selling your products or events online! Through a simple online gallery or e-ticketing system, you can exponentially grow your profits and potential audience. Once you have your online gallery or e-ticketing setup, use your social media community to advertise and spread the buzz about your work!

Tweet the addition of new items to your store. Form a virtual “street team” with a hashtag and encourage your followers to spread the word about an upcoming concert. Use Facebook and Foursquare to create deals and discounts for potential customers (If a customer likes your Facebook page, give them free shipping! If someone checks into an event, they receive $2 off admission or a free t-shirt).

You can also use social media to conduct contests to promote new events or your new book. Have a new installation coming to your museum? Encourage fans to create a video of why they should win a set of free passes to preview or opening night. Ask fans to tweet about your newest album for a chance to win one for free. Hold a drawing for a discounted membership among fans of your Facebook page.

Your social media fans are crazy about the work you do. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t like your page or follow you. Use that devotion to encourage ticket sales or purchases! Even if your fans aren’t able to purchase what you’re offering or attend your next event, the chances that they will refer them to their friends are high. Don’t miss out on that opportunity.

Be sure and check back for Part 4 of The Art of Social Media – Getting It Right.

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The Art of Social Media – Part Two: Building Your Community

by Stellata Collective December 20, 2011

Whether you’re an artist, a museum, a creative arts center, an arts department, a theatre, or Hollywood, social media can be an effective tool in your marketing scheme. Although Twitter and Facebook remain paramount, other lesser-known social media platforms, like YouTube, Flickr, and FourSquare, offer unique advantages for users in the arts industry.

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The Art of Social Media – Part One: Free Advertising Potential

by Stellata Collective December 13, 2011

Whether you’re an artist, a museum, a creative arts center, an arts department, a theatre, or Hollywood, social media can be an effective tool in your marketing scheme. Although Twitter and Facebook remain paramount, other lesser-known social media platforms, like YouTube, Flickr, and Foursquare, offer unique advantages for users in the arts industry.

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7 Ways to Improve Your Twitter Efficiency

by Stellata Collective December 6, 2011

Want to take your Twitter use to the next level? If you’re new to Twitter or just not getting the results you want, the following tips will help you get the most of the time spent building your brand in the Twit-o-sphere.

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