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Using the New Facebook Timeline to Drive Email Opt-ins

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by: Richard Austin (@biggestof)
27 April 2012

The recent Facebook decision to make brand profiles use the timeline view has caused some companies to lose traction on the volume of new email contacts gained through the social network.

The timeline, as the name suggests, is a dynamic element that changes over time, with older posts moving down the page and becoming “invisible” unless the visitor chooses to look at that particular week, month or year in the timeline.

Fortunately, a few quick updates are all that’s required to continue using Facebook as a high source of new opt-ins to your email database.

So, what can be done? First of all, above the timeline there’s a header that never changes position. Within this area is the “Views & Apps” banner, which can contain up to 12 items, distributed in three rows of four.

This is the first opportunity to highlight important items such as your email opt-in link. To ensure that the timeline change doesn’t reduce your list growth, put a visual link to your email programme here. Remember to include a “source” field on your form so that you can keep track of where new customers have come from.

Here’s how Silverpop client Teletext Holidays has highlighted email sign-ups on its Facebook page:

For those of you in the B2B space, when you include an item in the banner such as “Solutions” that links to a “Request more information” page, remember to score this action and continue to rank prospects through all their interactions with you.

[caption id="attachment_3991" align="alignright" width="221" caption="The "Pin to Top" option in Facebook can help increase the visibility of key posts."][/caption]

As for the timeline, there are several ways to maintain visibility. The first is to “pin” a post. This option keeps that post at the top of the timeline for seven days. It’s a great option for competitions and email opt-ins, especially when you’re running a sign-up promotion, since it will help keep the post front and center on your Facebook page.

Additionally, when posting email content to your wall, always include a highly visible image to grab visitors’ attention. If you’re seeing a lot of activity on specific dates in your timeline, include a link to your email opt-in page in these posts so that you can capitalise on the interest shown.

Taking a few simple steps to strengthen the link between Facebook and your email programme by implementing the recommendations above will minimize any disruptions to the great ROI your email programme is experiencing through its integration with Facebook.

For those Silverpop customers attending Amplify 2012, be sure to catch the “Taking Advantage of Engage Webforms” seminar to learn how easy it is to create an opt-in page on Facebook.

Related Resources:
1) Tip Sheet: “8 Tips for Turning Facebook ‘Likes’ into Customers
2) Blog: “Email Opt-ins: Be Where Your Customers Are
3) Infographic: “Using Mobile, Social and Local to Build Your Email Database


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