There may not be paparazzi sneaking about, but here’s an event you won’t want to miss. A week from today, Facebook is expected to debut its Timeline (not Time line or timeline) feature for brands at the first fMC—a Facebook marketing event—on February 29. No longer will this scrapbook-like format be available only to individual users, but soon many of the brands you “like” will be able to make the switch.
With Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest making headlines as of late, it’s easy to get caught up in the glitz and glam of “what’s hot” in the social media world. So what do Facebook Brand Timelines mean for companies’ future social engagement? Well for one thing, more pictures. From cover photos to tagged images to profile pictures, the new layout is laden with visuals and, let’s face it, people love visuals. The more personal a page is, the more likely fans and customers are to interact with that brand—which is ultimately more compelling to marketers, according to AdAge.
In addition to the collage of pictures, Timeline will allow for brands to go back in time—that is to say events that occurred prior to a company’s presence on Facebook can be added in retrospect, to present a more comprehensive view. Similar to when this feature was introduced to individual users, there will most likely be a “grace period” to clean up what appears on a brand’s Timeline. In fact, I came across a checklist of sorts for brands to get started with the crossover on “All Facebook: The Unofficial Facebook Resource,” which includes the following:
- Start planning which material in your archives you’ll want to feature on the timeline.
- Determine whether to add more administrators to the page, and whom, since the workload may increase.
- Plan a cover image in advance.
- Determine a new editorial process for timeline.
I’d like to take this advice a step further and say take advantage of the grace period. Seriously. Perhaps a little “spring cleaning” of your photos is in order? (Thanks, Tina). Out with the old and in with the new! Just hired a new CEO? Make sure your page reflects that. Nasty comments on the page? Take ‘em off. The Internet doesn’t forget, but you can control what you’re pushing live on your Timeline. And another thing, if you’ve got third-party apps linked to your company’s Facebook page (like Twitter), make sure you check the settings before you start bombarding faithful followers with excessive updates—that’s one way to lose fans quickly.
What it boils down to, is you need to do your homework before making the switch. In a contributed article on Forbes, Reggie Bradford, CEO of Vitrue, said, “Investing time in understanding how this shift impacts the way your brand’s story is presented to your social community is vital to any organization’s success.” It sounds like common sense, but it’s an obvious piece of advice that often gets lost in the hype of shiny newness.