When it comes to Facebook, users have learned that one of the only constants is change. The site’s most recent change was a big one – making the switch from profile pages to the Facebook Timeline.

With the timeline, a Facebook brand page now provides much more than just exterior information such as the who, what and where, and actually goes deeper into a business’ story.

For restaurants, the timeline offers a great opportunity to present their culture, food, atmosphere and history, all while continuing to engage customers.

Below are tips for making the most of Facebook Timeline for your restaurant.

Choose the right cover and profile picture.

The new timeline is set up much differently than the old layout, with a large banner image (or cover) at the top, and a timeline of events and stories that follow as the visitor scrolls down the page. Your cover image is the first thing people see when viewing your Facebook page, so it’s important to make sure it clearly conveys your restaurant’s image (so to speak).

The sandwich shop Which Wich, for example, uses a large, enticing image of one if its sandwiches, while Bar Louie displays a collage that presents the restaurant’s food, cocktails and atmosphere. Both pages use the restaurant logo as its profile picture.

Keep important info at the top.

Below your cover photo and profile picture is a brief “About” section alongside a bar of thumbnails that displays your photos and apps, or “Favorites.” The “About” section is short and sweet; visitors can click through to read a more detailed summary, but it’s important to be able to convey your restaurant’s message concisely to assure those passing through are also able to assess what your brand is about.

Because the apps section is at the top, you can use it as a type of navigation that drives visitors to a landing page for further action – for example, installing a customized app that allows them to view your menu or order online.

Show your restaurant’s history.

With the timeline, you can add milestones and events to the past and enrich your restaurant’s story.

Chick Fil A Facebook

Chick-fil-A’s Facebook Timeline goes back to 1946, when it was founded, and displays an image of the very first restaurant. It then goes on to highlight milestones in the restaurant’s history, such as the invention of the Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich and the establishment of the restaurant’s Team Member Scholarship Program.

Bringing attention to these high points shows how your restaurant has changed (or hasn’t changed), grown and withstood the test of time.

Build your brand.

This part of your Facebook page remains the same as before – you still can (and should!) utilize the timeline to build brand awareness by posting relevant, interesting content. If your restaurant focuses on whole, organic, local ingredients, post content that educates your readers about sustainable foods. If you want to convey your restaurant’s commitment to customer service, post content that shows a behind-the-scenes look at how your staff goes above and beyond to serve customers.

Be creative – Facebook, after all, is supposed to be fun.

Use images to promote your restaurant.

The new Facebook Timeline is extremely visual. Use quality images to promote your restaurant’s food, atmosphere and events. You can highlight, or “star,” certain images to make them widescreen, which is perfect for drawing attention to timely food and drink specials.

If you provide catering or wedding services at your restaurant, be sure to include images of events that let your customers see exactly what you are capable of. If a celebrity recently ate your restaurant, take a photo and post it on your timeline!

Keep followers engaged.

Facebook’s main purpose is to connect and socialize with others. Keep your visitors and your customers constantly engaged through conversations, polls, questions and contests. Let them know what’s new in your kitchens, and get feedback on new foods and drinks on the menu. Invite them to share their stories and photos on your timeline. The more people are connecting with and talking about your restaurant on Facebook, the better.

This guest post was contributed by Jacqui MacKenzie. Jazqui is a writer for Straight North, an Internet marketing Chicago firm that specializes in social media, SEO, Web design and more. She writes for a wide range of clients, from podiatry website template providers to specialists in custom food manufacturing. Check out the Straight North Blog, or follow @StraightNorth on Twitter. 

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