Facebook Timeline for Brands
A few months ago, Facebook decided to freshen up and rolled out timelines along with a new set of metrics for brands: users were now able to record literally everything that happens in their life from Had Surgery to Overcame an Illness and much more. Facebook is now releasing Timeline for brands too, and it’s going to be a rather big change for marketers and community managers.
More room for identity, (somehow) less for customization
Probably the most visual element of the timeline is the cover, this large banner resting on top of the page allows much more branding and reinforces visual identity. The image below from Allfacebook.com gives a better idea of the difference before/after timeline between Coca-Cola and Diet Coke’s pages.
Timeline was designed to make Facebook a better medium for individuals to tell stories that create their identities, and Facebook wanted to provide brands with the same tool. As timeline product manager Sam Lessin said “Organizations have identities too”.
The new pages also introduces nifty capabilities such as the ability to sticky selected pieces of content for seven days. Brands can also use Facebook Apps to create their own customizable actions like Listening to, Wearing or Watching which adds a layer of interaction instead of just Liking. Finally the new pages give much more room for image assets: images will be much more larger on walls, and when brands Highlight content, those images will stretch to fit the entire width of the page. But the introduction of timelines -and the end of classic brand pages by March 30th will also have its drawbacks: it will force brands to recenter their efforts on walls as tabs will get even less room, and organizations will lose the ability to set a default landing tab.
More Social, Less Business
Most importantly, timeline will allow brands to get more social and really connect with users. “The goal is to make Pages more engaging and more social” said Gokul Rajaram, Facebook’s product director for ads, and it’s the overall feeling that emerges from the new pages. Milestones for example give a little bit of background about the company and tell a story that personifies the brand. Ben & Jerry’s is a perfect example of how this space can be used to highlight the heritage of the brand. Users can also rapidly see which of their friends are talking about the brand and what are they saying, adding credibility to the page.
But as Raj Gupta from Vivaldi Partners Group concludes:
While new technology is letting brands tap even deeper into the consumer’s lives, giving a rare opportunity to turn everyday consumers in to brand advocates, how your brand ultimately delivers value to the consumer through your products and services will always ultimately be how your brand is judged.
Want to see some great examples before taking the leap? Have a look at the coolest Facebook Timelines!