The 10 Things You Need to Know About Facebook Timeline for Brand Pages

With the release of Facebook Timeline for brand pages set to be official on March 30, you should start working to get ready for the switch now.  While getting your page prepared for Timeline will take thought and effort, we’re convinced that Timeline will be a wonderful thing for brand pages, giving brands the opportunity to tell a more engaging story and to showcase precisely what they want to highlight. For more information on the Timeline transition, contact us.



Here are 10 things you need to know to make the switch to Timeline:


1. Cover Photo: Perhaps the most obvious change to brand pages on Timeline is the cover photo. Instead of having  5 thumbnail photos at the top of your brand profile (the photostrip), you will now have a 851×315 pixels cover photo, along with a 180×180 pixel profile image. There is plenty of opportunity to get creative with the design and implementation of cover photo and profile image, drawing users into your page from the moment they land on it.


2. Default Landing Tabs: While you can still create tabs for your Facebook page, you can no longer set them to be landing pages. From now on, whenever new users head to your Facebook page, they will land on your Timeline rather than a branded landing page. However, we still recommend creating custom tabs that you can direct people to through linking. You are also still permitted to use fangates on tabs when you choose to.


3. Apps and Tabs: The apps and tabs that are currently right below your profile photo, will be displayed right below and to the right of your profile image, including photos and “like” count. Only the first 4 apps will be displayed and you will be able to move them around in the order you choose (except for the photos). The remaining apps will be viewable through the dropdown arrow. This is also the section where your brand’s “like” count shows up. If you’d prefer users not to immediately see how many “likes” your page has, you can remove the tab from the top 4. However, if you have a high number of “likes,” we recommend keeping it visible. You also now have the opportunity to create app icons that are 111×74 pixels (previously, they were 30×30 pixels).


4. Milestone: Timeline gives you the ability to showcase your brand’s entire history through posting milestones. You can create events for when your company was first launched and then highlight each of its milestones throughout the years.


5. Private Messages: With Timeline comes some changes to how brands are permitted to use private messages. Users will now be able to private message brands (an option that can be turned off if desired) and brands can now respond to any user who has private messaged them or written on their wall. While this may mean more manpower needed to pay attention and respond to private messages, it also means there’s a greater chance that disgruntled users will take their complaints away from the public eye and write to you directly.


6. Pinned Posts: Have an important message you want your users to see that keeps getting pushed down due to all the action on your page? You’ll now be able to pin important posts to the top of your timeline. You can pin a story for 7 straight days to force it to remain at the top of your Timeline and allow it to be the first thing users see when they come to your page. Whether it’s a tab you want to show off, a stunning image, or a big company announcement, this feature will be helpful in allowing you to get your message out to the public.


7. Changing Post Dates: In addition to being able to pin posts to the top of your Timeline, you can also change the date on a post, so you can make them appear in your Timeline wherever you choose.


8. Posting Larger Images: If you have an image you want to really show off, star it to double its width on your Timeline. Starring especially vivid photos will make them stand out even more.


9. New “About” Section: The section that used to be somewhat hidden on brand pages is now front and center on Timeline. Since this is where users will be learning what your company does, it’s important to update this section before launching Timeline.


10. New Admin Panel: All of your page’s activity will now be trackable from one spot. A new admin panel will display your page’s notifications,”likes,” messages, insights, and recommendations.


While these 10 pointers will have you well on your way to creating a Timeline for your brand, keep in mind that the advertising model for Facebook is changing along with its new look.  We’ll keep you posted as these changes begin to take effect!


Have any questions about the look of Facebook brand pages?  Let us know – tweet to us @451Heat or contact a 451 Marketing social media specialist.


Associated Problems: Five Mistakes PR Professionals Make on Twitter

As public relations professionals, we all understand the need for brevity. We learn early on not to say “The person of the male sex strolled to the area that is not here but in another spot.” It’s better to say, “The man walked there.” Nice and easy to digest.

If clarity and simplicity are the pillars of PR, Twitter is the perfect challenge for  us. Limiting ourselves to 140 characters is the ultimate test of our slicing and dicing abilities. This challenge is welcomed and, for once, we have a MAXIMUM limit. Well, other than those nine or so characters we keep for re-tweeting (please retweet, please.)



What a perfect way for us to showcase our skills. No silly wording or need for fluff. It’s the Donner Party of characters per post… without the cannibalism.

However, many seem to think that with Twitter being a relatively new concept by limiting characters, requires an abandonment of Associate Press Style.



It doesn’t help that we have so much stacked against us.



The following is my little list of AP rules (or just general rules of thumb) we neglect on Twitter. Note: I am not using this information to go Emily Post-al on anyone. Use this list as a reminder to check your AP Style Book from time to time. We all commit these crimes of writing. I probably have broken countless rules in this article, and I have my style book right next to my computer.


1. Dates

-ALWAYS use the number form for dates

-Abbreviate the months for full dates. Examples: ‘Sept.’ for September, ‘Aug.’ for August, and ‘Dec.’ for December.

-And never use th, st, nd, rd, or any other form of date endings. These are a no-no.

@PRproLaura: “Wow! The event on Feb. 8 was amazing!”

@failAPintern: “I cannot believe I have to wait until the fourteenth for free burritos”


2. Commas – Commas are the Anne Hathaway of the writing world; they look great, but are not really good everywhere. And too many just ruins everything.

-Use commas to separate introductions or subordinate clauses.

-Don’t think that more commas better; that can just look as ridiculous as Charlie Sheen stand-up

-@PRproLaura: “Other than pizza, I don’t eat much Italian.”

-@failAPintern: “I really think, that, pending a firing, squad, my day can’t get, much, worse”


3. Abbreviations – A good abbrev. is always handy. In a 140 characters, it’s nice to shorten and save. But don’t go too crazy

-@PRproLaura: “I can’t wait 2 go 2 Lion King this evening!”

-@failAPintern:“I luv 2 wrt @ my nu dsk bc my job’s awsm. Cldnt we wrt @ FB 2day 2 get peeps?”


4. Active Voice

-Passive voice sounds silly!

-You can make the same point with more clarity and with fewer words.

-@PRproLaura: “I ate the best pizza today”

-@failAPintern: “The best pizza was eaten by me today” (That was harder to write than the “Abbreviations” tweet. Honestly)

-If something is hard to understand, you lose your audience. They’ve already moved on to Facebook or some hilarious YouTube video. Don’t let the funny hamster win. Use active voice.


5. Capitalization

-A common misconception is that the best way to grab someone’s attention is by being the loudest.

-All caps do not help your point

-If your message is good, don’t use annoying all-caps to ruin it.

-@PRproLaura: “Tickets go on-sale for the dinner with George Clooney tonight!”



What do you think? Is AP style necessary for Twitter? Or do we need to evolve to a new set of Twitter-friendly guidelines? Tweet us @451Heat or leave your comments below!


Thanks to Ryan Schreiner, 451 Marketing Public Relations Intern for this Fun Friday post!
-Ryan (@rschre) is a Junior at Boston University



How Social Media Enhanced the Academy Awards

The 84th annual Academy Awards was a chaotic event to say the least. Between Sacha Baron Cohen dumping “Kim Jong Il’s ashes” on Ryan Seacrest’s designer suit, the cast of “Bridesmaids” presenting their Martin Scorsese drinking game, and J.Lo’s debatable wardrobe malfunction, viewers gave up their regularly scheduled Sunday night programs to see what other vagaries might ensue. While I’d like to congratulate everyone who walked away with an Oscar on Sunday evening (congrats Meryl Streep!), we should also acknowledge one noteworthy contributor to the show’s success that made their “speech” through a different channel…social media!

According to Bluefin Labs, the Hollywood, CA event generated some 3.8 million comments on Twitter, Facebook and other social media websites during its ABC broadcast (compared to last year’s 1 million). This statistic places the Academy Awards just above last year’s MTV Video Music Awards, which produced 3.1 million social media comments. The only award show having received more commentary through social media was this year’s telecast of the Grammy Awards, which had an astounding 13 million comments!

An estimated 57% of the Oscars’ comments were made by women, with the remaining 43% coming from men. Bluefin Labs further analyzed the results to determine that 22% were positive, 16% were negative, and 62% remained neutral.


High-traffic moments occurred somewhat predictably throughout the evening:


1. The most-talked about moment was the Best Picture announcement for the nearly silent film, “The Artist.”

Last year’s Best Picture: An English dude who couldn’t speak. This year’s: A French dude no one could hear.” – Andy Borowitz author/comedian

I am officially announcing that I am re-making THE ARTIST with sound.” – Alec Baldwin actor


2. The second peak of social media commentary took place when crowd-pleasing comedians, Tina Fey and Bradley Cooper presented three awards. Cooper’s mustache created a lot of buzz while fans encouraged The Academy to consider Fey as next year’s host.

Tina Fey should host next year.” – Kelly Oxford writer/famed tweeter

Bradley Cooper is just in from robbing a train. #Oscars” – Hulu online service for ad-sponsored video streaming

3.  Octavia Spencer’s emotional acceptance speech claimed the third most popular spot for social media discussion. Spencer’s comments additionally ranked highest in positivity ratings.

Congratulations to @OctaviaSpencer for her Oscar win! You truly deserve it! God bless!” – Kelly Rowland singer

Yes!!!! Welcome to the family Octavia !! Congrats!!! Amazing!!” – Jennifer Hudson singer/actress

Other unique moments during this year’s Oscars generated additional online discussions, and continues to prove how real-time social media platforms are changing the face of awards show commentary, as well as television watching in general. One such example was the somewhat controversial exposure of Angelina Jolie’s right leg. Viewers immediately shared opinions of Jolie’s wardrobe choice and, almost instantaneously, a Twitter account was created for “AngiesRightLeg.”  The Twitter account currently has close to 35,000 followers and about 30 tweets.

The above statistics and results only reinforce existing research in support of the effectiveness of social media. Clearly, with active individuals across such a broad spectrum, sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. can all assist in amplifying anything – whether that’s celebrity limbs or your brand. Celebrities who utilize social media for public relations’ benefits also have the opportunity to translate the increased popularity of their profiles and pages into potential business success. Advertisements cost $1.7 million per 30-second commercial, but given the popularity of the 2012 award show, it’s likely that this was money well spent.

Were you commenting on the Academy Awards via social media last Sunday?  What was your favorite part of the show?  Do you think social media is changing the face of television commentary? Tweet us @451Heat or share your comments below!

-Katie O’Brien, 451 Marketing Marketing Intern


Katie is a senior at Boston College majoring in Communication.

Thanks for the images:

1. www.gradley.net

2. www.laist.com

3. www.hollywoodreporter.com

4. www.blogcdn.com

5. www.cbswbbav.files.wordpress.com/

6. www.laist.com


The 411 on the New Facebook Timeline

A few weeks ago I began to notice some of my Facebook friend’s profiles were different. Immediately I began to worry because like most people I don’t like change, especially on Facebook!

Come to find out, this profile “upgrade” is the new Facebook Timeline. After doing some research, I discovered that on January 24, 2012 Facebook announced in their blog, that over the next few weeks everyone will be getting the new “Timeline”. Until recently, users were able to opt-in to Timeline which was originally announced in September 2010, however within a few weeks everyone will be switched over.

According to the social media giant, Timeline gives you the ability to browse through your entire Facebook, from your first friend to your most recent post. When I first saw it, it reminded me of an online scrapbook of your life because it shows all of your status updates, photos, friendships made, job history, marital status changes, and other information that you’ve recorded on your page since it launched.

As Paul McDonald, an engineering manager on Facebook’s Timeline said, “Timeline gives you an easy way to rediscover the things you shared, and collect your most important moments. It also lets you share new experiences, like the music you listen to or the miles you run.”

Facebook hasn’t specified how long the change-over will take, but as you prepare to be switched to the new Timeline design here are some helpful tips you should know:

  • There is a 7 day preview period during which you can review everything that will appear on your Timeline. Take this time to delete anything that you don’t want on your timeline, such as silly pictures or posts from high school when you first had your Facebook, because after the 7 days you won’t be able to delete them!


  • In addition to a profile picture, you now have a “Cover Image”, which is a large splash photo that you can change at any time. You can pick any photo to represent you or your life without it being the picture people see of you. Keep in mind that it is a very large space to fill so higher-resolution pictures look best! 

  • A new tool being introduced with Timeline is the Activity Log where you can see all of your posts from today all the way back to where you activated your account. You are the only one that can see your activity log, and you have the option to hide the posts you’d rather not share for privacy. 

  • You can edit individual posts so only certain people can see them and also separate your Facebook friends into groups and showcase only certain items to those groups. Surprisingly this a good privacy feature of the Timeline!


My hope is that after reading this you feel a bit more relaxed about the new Facebook Timeline and now have some helpful hints when it becomes your time to “switch over”! Because according to Facebook, whether we are ready for the change or not – it’s coming! Tweet us @451Heat to share your thoughts!


-Melissa Garabedian, 451 Marketing PR Intern


Melissa is a senior at Merrimack College majoring in Business Marketing


Is the Early Release of Super Bowl Commercials Beneficial?

With the big game on Sunday, it’s almost impossible to go online without seeing something pertaining to the Super Bowl. While I enjoy hearing about the Patriots, one thing that really caught my attention has been all the talk regarding the widely anticipated Super Bowl commercials. I like Super Bowl commercials just as much as the next person, but I was surprised that I am already seeing the full commercials before the game has even happened. Did I miss something? Isn’t the point of paying 3 million dollars so the commercial will have its big debut during the Super Bowl, not weeks before on the internet? Well I really thought about this and tried to figure out the reasoning behind this new marketing strategy. While at first I was rather confused by this approach I do think it can have a positive impact for some companies, but definitely not all.

I just recently saw Chevy’s 2012 Super Bowl ad “Happy Grad,” a simple yet memorable commercial. Although it was posted early on the internet, it is greatly entertaining, which puts Chevy in a good position for when it does air. People are already talking about the commercial, which adds to the anticipation of other viewers. Instead of just being viewed during and after the Super Bowl, Chevy’s ad is being seen before the game has even started. The “Happy Grad” ad has already had 905,921 views on the popular site YouTube. The commercial will have a much longer lifespan than ads that are waiting to air on Super Bowl Sunday. This strategy has also given Chevy the advantage of having a larger return on investment by allowing their commercial to circulate for a longer amount of time on the internet and television. People will constantly be seeing the Chevy brand, giving them more incentive to buy from them. While this is a risky strategy, it works for Chevy because they have a good commercial that viewers find desirable.

While Chevy will most likely see a positive impact from releasing their commercial early, not all companies will get the same outcome. Another 2012 Super Bowl ad done by Lexus is called “The Beast.” Sounds pretty cool, huh? Well don’t let the name fool you because this commercial isn’t that special. When I began watching it, I was pretty interested, but then it became rather predictable and unexciting. I really didn’t find it entertaining and wouldn’t be too excited to see it again during the Super Bowl. While this may be my personal opinion on the ad, I think many people would feel the same way about seeing a commercial in the future that they didn’t even enjoy the first time. For me, now that I have already seen this commercial, I really don’t feel a need to pay attention to it again during the Super Bowl. I think this is a great downside to companies posting commercials that aren’t very entertaining and enjoyable before they are supposed to air. People already know what the ads are like and may not have an interest in them the second time around. Now that this Lexus ad has been around for over a week, people might even be sick of it by the time it actually airs.

YouTube Preview Image

Overall I think it’s a pretty risky strategy to post your Super Bowl commercial before the actual game. You really have no idea how people will react to your ad and once it’s out, it’s out.  Viewers like the element of surprise and seeing Super Bowls ads before the game just doesn’t have that same effect. While some companies like Chevy may see a positive outcome from posting their ad, not all will get the same response. I was really surprised to see this happen this year and while I may understand the reasoning a little better, nothing beats seeing new commercials on Super Bowl Sunday.

Do you think releasing Super Bowl ads early is a good strategy? Will it detract from watching on game day? Tweet us @451Heat to share your thoughts!

Thanks to @bonnielester530 for this week’s post!

Bonnie is a 451 Marketing Marketing Intern. She is a senior at Worcester State University majoring in Business Administration.