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Facebook Launches Timeline for Pages – Or ‘Operation: Facebook’
Facebook is probably the single most effective social media marketing tool available to brands and, as you may have heard, they are due to roll out Timeline to Pages very soon, potentially increasing that effectiveness further.
Timeline is going to have a huge impact on companies and marketers as they adjust to the new view, new features, new tools and, most importantly, the loss of certain features.
You can preview and publish Timeline on your Page right now if you wish, but if you don’t you should be aware that Facebook will do it for you on March 30th so you may as well familiarise yourself with it now and get ahead of the game.
The Fluid Creativity Page has been given its Timeline makeover and we’ve toyed around with the new features so we can begin the roll out on behalf of our clients too. Here’s what we think is good…and bad.
NO Landing Tabs
The first feature most companies are going to notice missing is that beautifully crafted ‘Like’ magnet known as the landing tab. It’s gone. And it’s not coming back. So you’re going to have to think of more innovative ways to grab those likes.
As you can see from the image at the top of this post, this is a very nice area that sits atop your Page and allows you to display a photo or graphic of your choice. Many of you will have seen them on your personal profiles already.
“A-ha,” you’re thinking. “I can use the Cover Photo to point to the Like button and stick some marketing or incentive up there.”
No. You can’t. Facebook has expressly forbidden any kind of marketing in the Cover Photo, instead it should be used to represent your company, product or service. It is NOT a marketing channel within a marketing channel.
That said, it can be used to great effect and the more innovative you get, the more your Page will stand out from the competition.
The location of your App links has changed too. While it used to be down the left, they are now partially hidden under your Cover Photo to the right. You can display three (such as Photos, Likes and others) in any order you wish, but the rest will remain hidden under a dropdown, indicated only by a small arrow. You’re going to have to put some thought into which you want to show most, though they can be swapped around to suit your current campaign.
The apps themselves may well require some work and this could prove to be expensive. They’ll work ‘as is’ in the new Timeline but you won’t be getting the most out of the increased width (810px versus 520px) that’s available. You’ll need new Application icons too (111 x 74).
Now’s the time to do it though, as you could also sort out your OpenGraph integration and make use of those verbs – “[name] bought/wants/loves [product]” is a simple and effective means of getting your products into individual’s Timelines via apps!
Timeline gives you the ability to lay out your whole company history – so USE it! Especially if you have a long and impressive history. From date founded, through company moves, expansion, new premises, awards won…get it all on there.
Brands now get the opportunity to pin a post to the top of their Timeline, extending the life of a particularly informative or successful post. This is something that’s been called for a lot over recent months so it’s a happy day now it’s here.
Much like on personal Timeline’s brands can highlight a post, making it go full width. This is particularly effective for posts containing photographs. Use it sparingly and choose your posts well and you’ll see a marked increase in interaction and reach.
On the new Timeline for Pages when a user posts on your ‘Wall’ (a term soon to be consigned to history) they are all lumped together in one box. This will take some time for Page admins to get used to, but should prove to be a timesaver in the end.
The box expands when you click on it so you can view all the posts and respond where necessary but it’s not as obvious as the old Wall. It should be noted that you can change the Timeline view to just Posts by Others with a little drop down at the top of the Timeline in the middle. That should make it easier for admins if they need it.
The Admin Panel
Brand new and very useful is the admin panel which, for admins (obviously), displays a lot of useful information.
First of all, you get a list of recent Notifications, including new Likes and new comments. This allows admins to stay on top of what is happening on their Page, responding appropriately.
Secondly, there is a panel for Insights. It’s only a graph which you can click through for more information, but it’s a handy little thing for a snapshot of interactions.
Thirdly, and without doubt the most useful new feature, is a Messages panel. Yes, Facebookers can FINALLY message you directly, without posting on the Wall. The benefits of this are many. You can take disputes out of the public eye, you can sort out queries directly without other users cluttering up the conversation with misleading or wrong information and you can build personal relationships.
As a brand you can’t message users directly, but the ability for them to contact you is going to prove very useful to most brands, I’m sure.
The admin panel can be hidden too, so you don’t have to scroll down to see what’s going on in your Timeline.
People Don’t Like Change
Especially Facebook people. The introduction of Timeline for Pages is likely to upset some people, customers and Page admins alike. The former will get used to it, especially if you do a very good job. The latter shouldn’t be afraid of it, Timeline represents some fantastic opportunities for marketing and should be embraced.
What Facebook Isn’t Saying
The removal of landing tabs has just one purpose behind it – to push you into using Facebook Ads. They won’t admit it though. That said, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be using the powerful ad platform in your marketing, especially now. Consider a budget, give it a try and see how it works for your brand.
Coupled with Timeline you could well see a significant boost in brand awareness and Page interaction and that is only good for business.
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