Facebook love to mix things up, but if it ain’t broke why fix it? They seem to make major changes very often, once you think you know how to use it they throw in a totally new way of doing things. Come March 30, 2012 your personal Facebook pages will be switched over to a Timeline, so it wont be too long until the business pages are made to make the switch to. We may as well suss out what we need to do and what benefits there are… **EDIT At the end of March all Business pages will be switched over to Facebook Timelines.
There will be an updated look and feel
Brands will have a very similar Timeline as personal profiles now have. It will display a cover photo at the top of the page, then the page will be separated into two main columns by the dividing line, representing the passage of time. Brands can outline corporate history with milestones, product launches, openings and other events which will create a narrative for audiences.
Recommendation: Milestones present an important and dramatic opportunity to educate the public, humanize the brand and remove a perception of corporate anonymity. Our analyses of Page engagement have continually shown that brands posting content that depicts behind-the-scenes activities, exclusive updates or promotions encourages user interactions and promotes higher engagement rates. Using interesting milestones to craft the story of the brand over time (and updating the Timeline with new milestones as they happen) can help to stimulate conversations around major achievements. – MASHABLE
They will reduce the tab visibility
Remember when the tab links were at the top of the page? Then they moved to the left, well on a timeline they are gone. Applications for your page will still exist and will be shown under the cover photo, sort of a pictorial version of the old tabs that showed at the top of the page. However only three tabs will be viewable without the user expanding the drop down box.
Recommendation: For marketers, this major change means that the three above-fold tab apps need to be considered carefully — this will be one of the first things users see when interacting with your brand on Facebook. Brands will want to switch up which tabs are visible “above the fold,” according to current company objectives or project popularity. A good Page analytics tool will be useful for determining which tab to promote on a day-to-day basis. – MASHABLE
No longer will there be a default landing page
No more pretty picture with an arrow pointing to the LIKE button… Everyone will initially see the timeline when visiting a page. Is this a way Facebook is increasing the value of Facebook ads?
Recommendation: You will need to apply new and careful attention to all the top messages in the Timeline, as they will be the first objects seen by visiting users. Likewise, Facebook ads for brands will become ever important, as ads will be one of the major ways brands on Facebook can control a user’s experience. Setting up an advertising campaign for a Facebook promotion or new application will be the only way to guide new and clicking users directly to that application (as landing on this Page cannot be achieved by default). – MASHABLE
There will be a new way to feature content
To place importance and feature certain content, Facebook have taken a feature used in many a fashion social network. The Pin. Any content Pinned will appear at the top, flagged with a small orange flag. Only one Pin can be used at any point in time, the Pin will drop off after 7 days, or when new content is Pinned.
Recommendation: Since you can no longer create a default landing Page, pinning items to the top of the Timeline will become every marketer’s go-to strategy for highlighting new and interesting content. We will begin to see savvy brands design posts specifically to be pinned, whether images, a well-designed call-to-action, a statement about brand value, or a message calling for the user to click one of the tab panels under the cover photo. – MASHABLE
Your current tab content and applications will become outdated
The old 520px wide tabs will sit in a new 810px space, existing content will just be centered.
Recommendation: The most pressing updates for brands will be to update the images and tab functionality of the above-fold two apps. As these are the first tabs users will see, they will likely be the first to be interacted with, or entirely ignored if not optimized for the new experience. – MASHABLE
You will finally be able to private message between brands and users
Simple really, brands can send and recieve messages with people. Customer service type enquiries can now be dealt with in private on Facebook.
Recommendation: Be mindful of noise in the Timeline. Since the real estate allocated to each post depends on how engaging it is or how much interaction it has received, it can be easy to clutter your Timeline with customer inquiries. When these inquiries can be better serviced in a more one-on-one manner, reach out to the consumer with a private message and resolve her question. It’s a good opportunity to yield both a happy user and a clean Timeline. – MASHABLE
So what are your plans for the new Facebook pages? Will you fully redesign and change the way you use Facebook? Or will you just leave it and deal with it down the track? Leave a comment below.
If you want some advise or help with Facebook Timelines, get in touch with me over here… That’s kind of what I do…