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Facebook Timeline for Brands: The Good, The Bad, and the Promising

Danielle D Ali, Social Media Coordinator
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It’s here! Marketers have been destroying their manicures for months now in anticipation of Facebook Timeline for brands, and what that will mean for their social media strategies. Now that it’s arrived, we know the answer  – a whole lot, if you’re willing to do it right.

Changes Coming Sooner than Later

Brands can opt into Timeline now, but it will be rolled out permanently for all Pages on March 30 – pretty soon! The biggest changes are the addition of the large Cover Photo (like Timeline for personal pages), new ways to feature content, and the Private Message capability between brands and users. Some challenges we’re presented with are the reduced visibility of tabs and the elimination of default landing pages for new visitors. Of course, the head honchos at Facebook think these elements are worth eliminating in favor of an approach that brings content like the Info section, photos, and apps front and center. Not to mention the new ways that ads will allow Facebook admins to more easily get their content in front of their fans. For all the details, Mashable has the complete guide to what’s new and what to do with all of it.

Reinforce Creativity and Strategic Messaging

One of the greatest strengths of the new Timeline for brands is the potential it holds for brands to get creative and use both the Cover Photo and content on their Timeline to communicate strategic messages. For example, we love Captain Morgan’s cover photo, and how it merges with the Profile Picture perfectly. The brand has clearly taken the opportunity to use the new space in a way that they couldn’t have with the old Pages.

Likewise, Burberry is maximizing their entire Timeline with lots of large, beautiful images. While they were sharing this kind of content before, it’s easy to see how Timeline so seamlessly lends itself to this type of multimedia-heavy approach to Facebook engagement. It’s been transformed from just another Facebook page to a truly Burberry branded destination.

Storytelling

On the other hand, it’s evident that this change is not just another tweak. The Facebook folks made much ado in their announcement on the 28th about the new Timeline’s focus on storytelling. Timeline for Brands isn’t much different than Timeline for individual Facebook users, and there’s a reason for that. Facebook envisions a platform where brands interact with their customers just like people do with each other on Facebook – listening to each other, swapping stories, sharing content that they really think those that are tuned in will appreciate.

If you’re a business that embraces social media not just as a marketing tactic, but as a way for a business that already values their customers to scale that approach, this change should be exciting for you. But if that’s not you, Timeline isn’t going to revolutionize the way you market with Facebook. In fact, it could present challenges. Check out Macy’s – a brand with a solid social media approach and nearly 5 million likes. They’ve updated their Cover Photo, but it’s nothing exciting. It’s nothing that they haven’t already done before. So far, none of their content seems to be capitalizing on the new capabilities of Timeline.

Still, it’s worth noting that they did take advantage of the opportunity to tell the story of their brand, going back to 1858. One of the best things about Timeline for businesses is the opportunity to tell their “life story.” By showing how small Macy’s started, and how far it has come, Macy’s really reinforces their brand and allows Facebook fans to connect with that emotional sell. I’m excited to see if they will eventually bring more of that into their Cover Photo and their newer content.

Overall, we think that Timeline for business is a good move by Facebook. While it might take all of us a while to transition and get used to these changes, it’ll provide so many more opportunities to reach, converse, and interact with customers in a way that more strongly reinforces a brand identity as a whole.

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