Facebook Timeline for Brands?

Mar 2012

Despite the protest and dread from many users, the Facebook Timeline is on its way, and it is here to stay. Facebook made the Timeline announcement back in September, but turns out the rollout seemed too hasty, and it’s been months since Facebook claimed it was going to convert every profile to the Timeline format.  Fear not (or yet), the Facebook Timeline is coming, slowly but surely.

Since the initial Timeline announcement, I had been wondering about the fate of Facebook fan pages—were they to undergo the same cosmetic changes as personal profiles, or would Facebook keep them the same?  Facebook showed no sign of converting brand pages to the Timeline format (to my relief), but this week I was confronted by a notice on all of my clients’ pages announcing that they too will soon be changing to the Timeline format.

I’m not much of a fan of the Timeline profile for personal pages. I consider myself a relatively private person, and the Timeline and privacy setting changes threaten the elusive approach I take with my social media profiles and expose too much for comfort.  In addition to that, I don’t find the Timeline profile to be aesthetically logical; the two-column format is too distracting to follow, throwing off the flow of the entire profile.

So naturally, I felt disappointed when my hopes of Facebook brand pages adhering to the old format went out the window. Of course, I don’t have much of a choice but to accept the Facebook Timeline change, so I did my best to experiment around and find the advantages of this new format change.

Turns out, I think I actually like the Facebook format for brand pages. Here are the top three features of the Timeline profile that I think will be advantageous to companies, businesses and organizations.

Cover Photo: The allotted space for a cover photo will give companies an opportunity to showcase their brand in a graphic format. It’s the first thing users will see (since Facebook has also decided to eradicate the default landing page feature), so companies will have a chance to “wow” their audience and make a good first impression with a graphic. Since the cover photo can be changed out, companies can also use this as their own billboard to advertise new products or deliver announcements.

Scrollable Two-Column Format: Although I still don’t like this feature on personal Timelines, the scrollable two-column format works well with brand pages. The scrapbook-style layout gives brands a chance to tell their story; Companies can configure and edit their Timeline to chronologically add in events and dates that are significant to their history. At KWSM, we’re all about telling a brand’s story, so this layout will help us to build our clients’ narratives on their Timelines.  The scrapbook-style layout ensures that people will be able to easily navigate and maneuver through a brand’s story and history.

Featuring Content: The Timeline format has two new ways of featuring content on a brand page. Brands can now feature content that they want to highlight by clicking a star icon. In doing so, the chosen content will appear bigger than the rest of the content on the Timeline. Brands can also “pin” posts that they find important; Pinned posts will be featured for seven days in the top-left section of a brand’s page.

I’m still not a fan of the Timeline for personal pages, but for brand pages and for my clients, I think I’ll learn to appreciate it.


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