What Business Owners Need to Know Now about Timeline for Facebook Pages

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The much-anticipated launch of Timeline for Brands is coming soon to a Facebook Page near you.  Last September, when Facebook launched its “Timeline” initiative for personal profiles, speculation began about when this change would be available for Facebook Pages as well.

During today’s Facebook Conference for Marketers, the company announced their plans for Timeline for Brands.

What do business owners need to do now to prepare for this switch?Facebook Timeline for Business

One of the most obvious things that will happen is Pages will get a new look and feel.  They will adopt the over-sized graphic (known as the “Cover”) on the Wall with a small inset profile graphic intended for your company logo.

“While the obvious first instinct for this space will be a huge promotional message from brands, it’s important to remember that a strong sales push is not the way to go with social media,” says Social Media Strategist Caroline Melberg.  “It’s still about creating a relationship with your visitors and generating word of mouth – now companies have a larger space to tell our story in a branded way, and that’s a good thing.”

Pages are known as “Mission Control” in the Facebook world.  The “Cover” space on your page is designed to be the voice of your page, and your “visual status update.”  This sets the tone for your page, and is designed to be changed frequently.

Your posts will also have larger image areas attached to them, so each post will have the ability to generate increased engagement (as posts with photos attached get twice or more the engagement of plain text status updates, according to average figures from internal Facebook research studies).

Less obvious will be the way that companies will need to change how they manage and interact on their Facebook Pages with the launch of Timeline for Brands.

As it’s name suggests, “Timeline” gives companies the opportunity to tell your entire company history (compared with just the history of your company since Facebook came to be).  “This is in line with Facebook’s goal of encouraging engagement and interaction,” says Melberg.  “The more a company has the opportunity to tell their whole story, the more interaction can be fostered.”

Because of the increase in focus on interaction and engagement, “blast posts” to the masses on your Page will have even less positive effect than they do currently.  It will become more important to watch your Page more frequently to engage in conversations happening there about your company, products and services or industry, and likely to post more frequently and with more relevance as a result.

“Gone will be the days that scheduled blast posts are effective,” says Melberg.  “Companies who succeed with Timeline for Brands will be those who can create a theme with content that is bigger than the products or services they sell and who create a strategy for helping build passion and engagement around that mission on Facebook and integrate that across their entire marketing strategy.”

Facebook is also giving companies the opportunity to become more creative with custom apps.  Similar to popular social media break-out site, Pinterest, companies can now create Facebook apps for their Pages using customized verbs for actions taken on the Page.  Instead of “Liked” for instance, Pinterest uses “Pinned”.  While existing apps will continue to work (with potentially some maintenance), it’s easy to see that a whole new world is opening up for companies ready to take advantage of this exciting new phase of marketing on Facebook.

 

 

 

02.29.2012

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