Editor’s Note: I (Jeanette) just had the pleasure and honor of meeting Amber McCann face-to-face at the LCinPP conference. She’s one of our top go-to-girls for social media in the breastfeeding world. We asked her to share her insights on the coming Facebook changes – here’s her take on making the most of this important platform for reaching moms.
Change is coming, my friends! Facebook just launched their new Timeline for Facebook Pages. I know that for many of you, the thought of it makes you want to crawl in bed, throw the covers over your head and wait out the storm. But I also know that you value communication with the mothers and their families that you encounter online so I’m here to help walk you through the changes to your Facebook Pages.
The goal of all social media communication is conversation! Many mothers having babies today have spent much of their adult lives engaging their peers online on Facebook and Twitter. They are very accustomed to sending out their thoughts and ideas to the world. As those that serve mothers (and mothers-to-be), we want to be a part of that conversation.
Since Facebook is built upon the idea that connecting online is important, they are making changes to the structure of business Facebook pages. The goal? Increasing interactions on your page. Too often in the past, people were “liking” your page and not returning to engage. Now, getting the information you think is important (for example, a link to the new American Academy of Pediatrics statement on Breastfeeding) to the eyes of others is even more efficient. The changes were rolled out last week and will go into effect for all pages on March 30.
There are several major changes that will help you to connect with the moms who are seeking your support:
The most obvious change to Pages is the large photo at the top of the page. What a great opportunity to give those interested in your business a big “WOW” when they come to your page. I encourage businesses to either put a photo in this space that really shows the essence of who you are OR use the space to highlight a graphic image that gives a quick “This is what we are all about!”
While this space gives us a chance to be wildly creative, there are four rules that must be followed:
It may not include price or purchase information like “20% off services for those on our Facebook page” or “Purchase products on our website.”
It may not contain contact info. Your phone number, website, etc. should be in your page’s ABOUT section, not on your photo.
It may not contain a Call to Action. You can not have words like “Please like our page” or “Tell Your Friends.”
It can’t have language that references any of the “actions” you would take on Facebook like “like” or “share.”
But when you understand these parameters, you’ll recognize that there is still so much you can do with your Cover Photo. Here are some great examples from doulas and lactation consultants who are already using their Cover Photos well! (Check these folks out on their blogs, too at Breastfeeding Support (Dublin, Ireland); Breastfeeding Arts (Rockland Co., NY); and the Breastfeeding Center of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA))
Facebook pages will now be able to receive messages from those who have liked their page. At first, you might think “Oh my! One more place where I have to retrieve messages!” I understand! But, this makes it so much easier for those who might be potential clients! Instead of having to go our our “About” section, finding our email address or website, and then taking that information over to their email, now they shoot you a message with a single click.
On a related note, this would be a great time to develop a Social Media Policy (editor’s note – watch here for more on this soon!) so that you have clearly communicated to your clients how you will and will not use social media. By deciding how you will deal with these new Facebook messages BEFORE they arrive, you make your life much easier!
Another great feature of the new pages is that YOU control what those visiting your pages see. This is especially relevant for those pages who regularly have members of their community ask questions and provide conversation. With the new pages, you can “pin” statuses, pictures or articles to the top of your page. For example, you could share a post from a former client with a recommendation of your services! What is it that you’d like to be the first thing people see? You are in control!
There’s more to learn about what Facebook Pages offer, but this is what’s most useful to the birth and lactation community. I think it is vitally important that we acknowledge how our moms are communicating – but speaking with our own voice is the most important thing! Make your new Facebook Page tell those you encounter exactly who you are.
If all of this seems overwhelming and you’d like some Facebook coaching, Amber offers consultation for those who work with pregnant and new mothers. She will help you set up a Facebook page for your birth or breastfeeding related business for $50 ($30 if you already have a page and want to convert now to the new Timeline for Facebook Pages) and walk you through how to connect better with your community. Find out more ~ email her at amber [at] nourishbreastfeeding.com.