Facebook Timeline for brands

6 minute read

It wasn’t that long ago Facebook forced its latest update onto the unsuspecting 800 million strong user base. I’m sure there were many tears and many hate groups started, but we learn to accept change and move on.

Now if you manage a Facebook page like I do, you probably saw that massive banner space and thought “What about my brand?”. Well it’s finally here, and I think they’ve done a cracking job on it.

On March 1st a preview mode of Timeline for pages was enabled. Admins have until the March 30th to get their pages ready before Facebook presses the go-live button for all accounts, globally.

So what do you need to know? The key points are:

  • New large format banner image for page headers (851×351 pixels)
  • Timeline format of page updates
  • Private messaging between the page and fans
  • A reworked admin section

So I’ve mentioned the large banner. This is the main attraction and should be an easy win for most. There are a couple of caveats from Facebook in that you can’t splash the space with ads, promos or call-outs – they want you to upload an image that really captures your brand.

Now I’m going to jump right to the juicy part now. The Timeline. This is going to be HUGE.

Not only will the changeover sort your existing updates into chronological order but you also have the ability to add brand milestones, right back to day one. You can have an interactive, media rich, brand biography; right on the world’s most popular social destination – Facebook. You can star updates and have them go full width; you can pin updates to the top of your page; you can hide updates from the Timeline, for those bits of history you’d rather forget; and if someone mentions your page in an update, you can have their posts appear as well (with the ability to moderate of course).

We have a client that I’m currently working with to pull in their entire back catalogue of albums, singles, tour schedules and media clippings from when they started 25 odd years ago. It’s going to be a walk down memory lane and the fans are going to love it!

I’m also working with another client whose venue has a rich history dating back to the 1800s. Imagine the treasure trove that could be their Facebook page.

Direct messaging is also sure to be a hit with those brands managing feedback (which is hopefully all of you). If you need to “take it offline” you can do so now with private messages. If you’ve ever wanted to handle a complaint or even contact a competition winner, this is certainly going to be a welcome feature. It’s not all green grass though, if you’re managing a page for a brand who has an established customer service system you’re probably still going to have to funnel the user through to them, but if you’re a small operator it’s going to cut down on the double handling.

Sadly not all changes are good for marketers. Default landing pages have gone the way of the ‘poke’, so you can no longer set a default page for your visitors to see. However you are able to directly link to the pages, so you can take advantage of this in your email marketing or advertising. The app tabs and sidebar items have been squeezed into 4 (3 use-able) boxes above the fold with a total of 12 once you expand the section. This may not be ideal, however Facebook are offering 2 sizes for apps now, 520 pixels and a huge 810 pixels, along with larger app icons which should make up for it.

There is a shift going on over at Facebook and it’s about interaction. Gone are the days of a fan count and making those interested in your brand jump through hoops to get that prized ‘like’.

If your page is interesting; if you post consistent, stimulating updates; updates that have your fans interacting with your page; you’re going to do well. The new Timeline is going to give your brand the opportunity to mark events and showcase those stand out updates.

Want to see what I’m on about? The Manchester United page is getting a lot of press but it’s worthwhile taking a look. Other honourable mentions have to go to Bulmers UK for being creative and Livestrong for really pulling at those heartstrings.

So if your brand page has been sitting there stagnating or you’ve tricked it out with the latest fan-gated custom app, it’s time to revisit as the game has changed again!

Have you seen any good Timeline examples? Let us know in the comments.

If you’re keen to make the switch but don’t know where to start, drop us a line – it’s kinda what we do.

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