Just when you were getting used to Facebook, it’s changing…  Yet with the Timeline interface, financial institutions can leverage a number of new features to increase engagement with customers. Here are a few practical tips you can easily put into action.

1.  Increase engagement for hot topics.

With the new “Pin to Top” feature, you can keep specific posts positioned at the top of your Facebook Wall for up to 7 days. It’s a great way to increase visibility for topics that can attract attention and interaction. Simply hover your mouse over the upper right corner of a post until you see the editing tool buttons, then click Edit (the pencil), and select Pin to Top.

Want to grab even more attention? Spread your post across the two-column layout with the “Highlight” feature (click the star button on a post). Use this approach to showcase important content such as contests, or details about a charitable giving campaign.

2. Create visual impact to express the spirit of your brand.

As a highly visual interface, Facebook Timeline reflects the increasing trend for customer experiences to be entertaining as well as helpful. By exploring new visual ways to engage audiences, financial institutions can help build a stronger emotional connection to their brand. A few examples include:

  • Create a high impact cover photo that reflects the spirit of your brand.
  • Post photos that highlight your organization’s involvement in local community events, or tap into seasonal sentiment (as shown here by American Express). As Timeline displays photos much larger than before, you can create greater visual appeal and attract attention more easily.
  • Share videos that offer tips to help new homebuyers or young adults opening their first accounts.

Be careful: For both your cover photo and posted images, do not include sales promotions or marketing calls to action in these visuals. That may violate the Terms of Service as Facebook tries to further develop paid advertising.

3. Drive traffic to key content with customized tabs.

With Timeline, access to custom landing pages is more visually prominent –but it’s also more limited. You’ll need to plan carefully about which special features you highlight on the tabs visible below your cover photo. Although you can add up to 12 custom tabs, only four tabs will display until a user clicks to view the rest. Because you cannot move or remove the Photos tab, and many users may not click to see your additional custom pages, target your three visible tabs to drive traffic to important content such as sponsored events, compelling videos, and campaigns such as the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge.

To get started quickly with Timeline, consider adding content to the readily available default tabs such as Events and Videos. You can arrange tabs in any order (except Photos), and add custom images to draw attention to your tabs.

To maximize engagement, offer a layered experience using custom tabs that provide access to special pages dedicated to promotions and other key content. You can even embed your website or blog within Facebook (made easier as Timeline allows a much wider display). This enables consumers to seamlessly learn about your products and services while interacting with you in social media.

Whether your company is already active in Facebook or just diving into social media, the Timeline platform provides incentive to boost the creativity of your content strategy. Increasing visual appeal can increase emotional appeal –and that emotional connection to your brand is a key factor in building customer loyalty and growing the business.