1.  Create the perfect profile picture

Facebook specs recommend that profile pictures be 200px wide, height can vary as needed. Less documented is how the thumbnail Facebook uses is generated from your chosen picture.

The system crops images when generating a thumbnail, losing information around the edge. After testing it has been determined there is a “title safe” area within all images. This means when you create your profile image that is 200px wide, you should allow a 12 px border around crucial information ( like typography or a logo) to allow for automatic cropping.

Also realize that Facebook thumbnails are square with rounded corners. So regardless of the shape of your profile image, the thumbnail  is sized based on the length of the shortest side of your image. So when designing rectangular profile pictures, make sure you keep your desired thumbnail imagery within a square boundary.

2.  Optimize your website’s Share Preview

A key strength of Facebook, and especially for Public Profiles, is the viral spread of shared links into new feeds when using the Links Application now built into the Publisher box at the top of your Wall. When anyone links to your site using this, the application presents the user with images from the page that can be chosen as a thumbnail to  accompany the link. If your site is mainly Flash-based, or it has no suitable graphic components for a thumbnail, you should define a custom Share Preview image.

Facebook provides specific information on how to do this here – With a snippet of code added to the HEAD of your website pages that points to your desired image.

No guidance is given as tot he perfect size for a Share Preview, but a 100px square preview seems optimal. This not only requires no resizing by Facebook, but also provides a suitable shape for Digg which uses the same code to pull its own Share Preview (reduced down to 48px square).

The Facebook Links application will also pull the “Description” Meta Tag from your site into the news feed, so ensure that you make this explanatory (you may also define the media-type icon that Facebook uses in feeds for your site e.g. blog, news, picture, video, etc – full details to be found in the Facebook Share documentation). You can also add a Facebook Share button to your site to encourage your visitors to share it.

3. Displaying different content for Fans and non-Fans

Public Profiles allow separate default landing areas for Fans and non-Fans. It lets brands display a “Become a Fan” invitation in an FBML box or tab. The question arises often, “Can I display different content for Fans and non-Fans?” This creates the ability to present different scenarios, from a simple “Thank You” to allowing people to become Fans or to even greater extent “Become a Fan and take advantage of a special offer” such as seeing an exclusive content, promotion, or coded offer.

The following is a simple guide for creating an FBML box that can be used on your Wall or Boxes page, or even in its own Tab, that displays different information to different users dependent on their Fan or logged-in status.

▪    Make a 1 cell borderless table with a fixed height and width i.e. 100px

▪    Make and define a background image for the cell to the same dimensions which contains information you want non-Fans to see

▪    Make a same-sized image that contains information you want Fans to see, inserted into the cell

▪    Use this FBML tag to surround the cell contents:
<fb:visible-to-connection><img src=”insert your image URL”></fb:visible-to-connection> .

This FBML Tag only displays its content to Fans who are logged in. What we are doing here is creating a table with a background image, then covering it up with another one IF you are a Fan. It only takes about five minutes to do.

Here is some example code if you want to try it:
<table width=”xx” height=”yy” border=”0″ cellspacing=”0″ cellpadding=”0″><tr>
<td background=”http://www.yourdomain.com/linkto/nonfans.jpg”>
<img src=”http://www.yourdomain.com/linkto/fans.jpg” height=”xx” width=”yy” />

4. Vanity URL or Custom Domain?

Vanity URL’s are open only to brands whose Pages have at least 100 fans. However, you can still make use of a domain you already own to point to your Facebook Page using a domain redirect. If you own your own domain, you can set up http://facebook.mydomain.com to point to your profile, which is easy to remember and easy to share. This tactic applies to profiles you set up on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

5. Defining a publishing schedule for content

You will achieve these benefits by creating a calendar to guide your updates:

✓    Spread updates out so you carry on a consistent yet unobtrusive dialog with your Fans. Post too often and your page updates will start being hidden, or you may lose fans; too seldom and you will be forgotten. Try mixing up different update types i.e. a Link update, a Note, a Photo, a Status or a Video update.

✓    You can schedule moderation periods for your comments by creating a calendar if you feel it will be helpful to your brand. Most Interaction activity (including comments) occur within 24 hours of an update before they drop out of a Fan’s new feed.

✓    By recording all activity on a schedule it is easier to map it against exported stats data from your page’s Insights. This an show you Total Interactions around different content types and helps you gauge which gets the most traction/conversation and to track Removed Fans against certain update types.

Facebook resources from Mashable:

5 Elements of a Successful Facebook Fan Page

You Might Not Love The New Facebook, But Brands Should

New Facebook Pages: A Guide for Social Media Marketers

HOW TO: Survive the New, New Facebook

30+ Apps for Doing Business on Facebook


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