It’s been a couple of months since Facebook rolled out its new Timeline for pages, and as always, they’re constantly updating, upgrading and tweaking its features. So, it’s time once again to pass along some of our insights and opinions about how food trucks and food stands can best utilize page features, and what they all mean.

Before you can benefit from Facebook’s Timeline for Pages, you’ll need your page “tuned in” to what you’re doing. There is a variety of options for setting up the page type, and it does make a difference. Food trucks and food stands should set their pages in the Local Businesses & Places category and Restaurant / Cafe sub-category. This will enable specific features that can be used to promote your business page more effectively as a street food vendor.

If you’re not sure how your business is categorized, or would like to change the current category, access the page settings from the page admin panel. Click “Edit Page” then select, “Update Info” to display your current settings.

Your page category is listed at the top of the page. It should look like the image shown below.

It’s also really important that you complete the entire form. Take the time to write about your business – it is your business after all… why just slap something together, or leave blank fields? Think of it this way, Facebook is a giant database, and as with any database, blank fields are ignored. They cannot be found – they aren’t listed in search results. Completing a profile establishes your business personality, and it’s as important as that “About Me” page on your website or blog. Tell the world your story – it’s your chance to step up on the soap box.

Complete all of the fields that describe your business, including the food styles, payment options, etc.

Install a few apps to your Facebook page to integrate your other social networks. I recommend that food truck and food stand owners install Menutab for Restaurants, Pinterest for Facebook by Woobox, Twitter for Facebook by Woobox, and Youtube for Facebook by Involver. I’m not going to cover the specifics about setting up each of these tabs in this article. Look for some step by step instructions in an upcoming post.

Create a photo album, and upload photos regularly. In fact, it’s a very good idea to attach an image, a link or a video to every post. These rank the highest in Facebook’s proprietary “Edgerank” algorithm. This little piece of programming is responsible for analyzing every single post from every user on Facebook. 3500 photos are uploaded to Facebook every second. Imagine how many status updates, videos, etc are posted.

This status update with an image of an event map attached reached the news feeds of 22% of Wicked Wich fans within an hour after posting. Wicked Wich has highlighted this post, so it's spread across the timeline, and it has an engaged fan base that shares its content, giving it even greater Edgerank weight and reaching more fans.

Edgerank is a powerful program that sorts through everyone’s ramblings, and prioritizes them to display on your news feed.

What gets displayed, and where it gets displayed on a person’s timeline will vary with each user. Stories with the most weight are placed on top, and it updates constantly. This means that your status updates will only reach a small percentage of your fans. One very important note: Facebook gives much LESS weight to status updates posted by third-parties. While applications like Hootsuite are excellent tools for managing status updates for multiple social networks all in one screen, there is a trade-off – your posts will have less weight, thus will appear on a lower percentage of your fans’ news feeds.

Rule of Thumb: Post status updates directly in Facebook as much as possible.

The majority of users interact with pages from their news feeds, not on the pages themselves. So, it’s vital that you create status updates that encourage people to engage. Updates with attachments are given more weight than text alone.

Events, Questions and Offers – An Older New Feature

With the Restaurant / Cafe sub-category came a new feature that enables a food truck or food stand to create special offers directly from the Status bar. This feature is still in beta testing at Facebook, so it’s not functional yet.  In the meantime, click on the Offer, Event + button to post an event, milestone or question to your Facebook Timeline directly from the Status Bar.

Promoted Posts / Sponsored Stories: Another not-so-new, new feature

As a story (status update) ages, it loses weight and drops on the news feeds. Wicked Wich’s post above may reach 30% or more of his fans before it “dies on the vine,” so to speak. But, Chris, the chef/owner at Wicked Wich can give his Edgerank an octane boost by promoting it.

After a Status Update is posted, click “Promote” in the bottom, right corner of the update.

Select the currency drop-down menu to select the amount of money you’d like to spend, then adjust the duration and payment method, as needed. The concept is simple, the more money you pay, the greater the weight, and the wider the exposure. The promoted Status Update will appear as a Sponsored Story on your fans’ news feeds.

Scheduled Status Updates and Posts: The Newest, New Feature

Scheduled updates allow you to plan status updates in advance, and schedule them down to the minute for up to six months in the future.  Look for the clock button in the bottom, left corner when you click inside the status box, then follow the series of drop-down menus to schedule. It’s a bit cumbersome, and you can only schedule one update at a time, but it’s a step in the right direction.

The main point to never forget or deviate from is to always focus on engagement. The more engaged you are with your fans, the more weight your updates will carry in the news feeds. Consequently, the more engaged you are with your fans, the more effective these new features will be for you.

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About the Author

Chris Ford is the founder of Stitches 'n Dishes and editor in chief with a passion for food, photography and travel. Chris is a Media Correspondent for the Food Network TV show, Eat St, a syndicated blogger, seasoned event organizer and promoter, a food critic, a marketing consultant and Social Media Marketing expert. Chris is also a fashion and entertainment photographer. When he's not dining on the sidewalk, he's snapping photos on the catwalk.