Facebook Timeline 101
After much speculation and anticipation, Facebook finally allowed brand pages to preview what their Timelines would look like on March 1st. Some brands implemented Timeline as soon as an hour after it was released. On the other hand, some brands have taken time to understand the new Facebook design and learn how they can utilize the new changes to their advantage. If your business falls into the latter group, fear not, HATHWAY will explain how you can leverage Timeline for your brand.
HATHWAY breaks down Facebook’s changes and their impact into four simple categories:
1. Utilize imagery to tell your brand’s story
The most noticeable distinction between Timeline and the past user profile is the introduction of cover photos. The cover photo appears at the top of the page as a banner and is the first thing that page visitors will see. Cover photos are an addition to the traditional profile picture and should be heralded as a branding opportunity for your Timeline. With its prominent placement, cover photos focus on the visual representation of your brand, whereas profile pictures should simply be your brand’s logo. Pick a cover photo that is not only visually captivating, but also embodies your brand’s story. Then, select a profile picture that exclusively features your brand’s logo. While the cover photo and profile picture complement one another, they should not be repetitive and should follow their two purposes stated above. Brands have already perfected the balanced relationship between cover photo and profile picture. Take a look for yourself by clicking on these examples: Modern Family, Starbucks, Ben & Jerry’s, Macy’s, Magnolia Bakery, etc.
2. Manage notifications, insights and fan interactions all in one place
Facebook Timeline has introduced a significant feature that will help track your brand’s activity: the Admin panel. As an administrator to a page, you now have access to view all page activity in one simple place. The admin panel condenses and gathers the significant information needed for assessment into four categories: notifications, messages, new likes, and insights. The admin panel was designed to provide administrators with information in a quick, easy to read format. Although the panel quickly summarizes activity into those four categories, administrators have the option to click and expand their knowledge by reading more. A new feature that falls under the admin panel is messages. Users can now send private messages to pages. Therefore, it is up to page administrators to monitor these messages and respond to fans in a timely manner.
3. Custom tabs have been transformed into prominent apps
The rollout of Timeline eliminated custom tabs and converted them to appear as apps. The most significant result of this was the removal of a landing page. Brands will no longer possess a landing page, and therefore must creatively think of how they want their page to be viewed by visitors. Despite the elimination of landing pages, this change provides apps with more visibility on your brand’s page. Now, apps will appear alongside your about, photos and likes. As you can see in the image below, four apps will be made visible, one of which is already dedicated to photos. Therefore, your brand has the opportunity to feature three apps in this prominent position. The rest of your apps (a maximum of 12) can be accessed through a drop down button that also appears in the bar. Since you can only feature three apps, select wisely. Some examples are likes, twitter feed, events, promotion, calls to action, etc. In addition to apps, this new bar will unveil a brand’s info section and place it in a highly visible location. In past profiles, a brand’s info was buried in a tab. Now, brands can utilize this placement to be more creative. A perfect example is Modern Family’s page, where the info section reads, “Sup, yo? It’s Phil Dunphy. Welcome to my virtual crib.” Essentially, while these changes may seem daunting at first, brands should view them as advantages to provide more value and personality to their pages.
4. Showcase and prioritize your content
The most beneficial advantage of Timeline is that information and content have become more prominent. Timeline’s design allows brands to highlight stories and create larger posts. With a heavy emphasis on images, Timeline records a brand’s history like a visual online scrapbook. And what’s the best part about that? Timeline enables page administrators to manage exactly what posts should be featured above others. Essentially, with every post on a page, administrators can choose to feature it, pin it to the top of the page, hide it, or delete it entirely. Administrators can feature a post by hovering over a story and clicking the star. By featuring a story, the post will expand to become wider and more prominent on the page. If an administrator would like to pin a story to the top of a brand page, one simply hovers over the story and clicks on the pencil icon. “Pinned” posts are perfect for promotions, special offers, and any other important information you want visitors to know about your brand. Likewise, administrators can add milestones to their brand. Milestones can include any event that you believe is important to your brand’s narrative (ie: when the company was founded, when an accolade was received, etc.) Adding to the idea of a visual online scrapbook, Timeline incorporates all of these features so that your brand can tell a story, become more personal and real, and have a platform that facilitates more interactions between fans and the actual brand itself.
All in all, we are big fans of Facebook’s Timeline and the potential it has already demonstrated. Once you have gone through these steps and are satisfied with your own brand’s Timeline, don’t be afraid to publish it! Facebook will be automatically converting all pages to Timeline on March 30th and you should be responsible for taking the time to select these changes, rather than being forced into it.
If you need more guidance, see what the Timeline inventors have to say for themselves by clicking here or feel free to post a comment below and we’d be happy to chime in!
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