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If Facebook is a marketing tool that your restaurant uses, you're probably quite aware of the mandatory change over to the new Facebook layout, Facebook Timeline. Whether you like it or not, it seems to be here to stay. For now.

So, what's the big deal? With Facebook Timeline, online marketing on this social network will begin to shift and become more personal. Here's how:

1.) Admin Panel is different

When you first go to your brand's page, you will notice there is a dashboard for the page's insights on top, above the cover photo. This may be hidden, but you can open it by simply clicking on the button, "Admin Panel," to the right. You can use these tools shown in the dashboard daily to get a good idea of how your page is working. Check out to see the new people liking your page and when they liked it, manage posts and see the traction each new interaction got and more. With insights, you can also click in to dig deeper into your pages' results.

Once you click in, you'll be able to see how many people you could potentially reach on a viral level and more. That number is pretty big, huh? Time to get cracking on awesome ways your brand can reach as many of those people as possible.

2.) Your page now has a cover photo

After you get through checking out the Admin Panel, scroll down to find the cover photo. Different concepts are doing different things with this new horizontal, large photo display. You can use it as a banner to introduce your new products. Or, perhaps you can put a welcome message here. Maybe you want to display your other social networks in the image so people can follow you wherever you are. Whatever you'd like to add to your page and make sure it gets attention, put it here.

The size for the Facebook cover photo is 850 pixels wide by 315 pixels high. If you're not into graphically designing the cover photo yourself, or choosing a photo that you currently have to fit the space, companies are popping up to help you with that. Simply do a Google search for "Facebook cover photo creation" to find dozens ready to help you create the perfect Timeline introduction.

3.) You can message brands privately

Facebook is helping brands have more of a personality with their new private message feature. Now, instead of your Facebook fans having to post on your wall to interact with you, they can send you private messages if they choose to do so. This will help eliminate the need to gather e-mail addresses for customer service issues, or to hope that Facebook fans will check your page later on to see the message you left on their post.

With the private message feature, they can send you messages which will be held in your Admin Panel dashboard for you to respond with. Be sure to have someone checking messages daily. There is nothing worse than having a fan leave you a message and not replying to it.

Remember, social media is about being social. Always treat it as an extension of your customer service.

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Latest posts by Lisa DiVirgilio
Lisa DiVirgilio
DiVirgilio is the marketing manager for WyckWyre, the restaurant recruiting system that helps focus on quality employees quicker. She is also a social media consultant with proven experience in growing brands' followings on different social networks.
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