Leap Day marked the arrival of the new Facebook format – Timeline - for brands. Yes, Timeline has been available to individual consumers for a few months, but at the end of March, all Pages will be required to make the switch. For brands, the change is much more important.
For the first time ever, Facebook will be addressing the problem that haunts the dreams of so many social media marketers: The Death of the Important Facebook Post. How, you ask? Timeline cleverly allows brands to extend the “shelf-life” of their Facebook announcements by utilizing the super easy scroll-through setup. Now, users can seamlessly browse a brand’s entire Facebook “life.” Timeline does this ALL while alerting the user of important “milestones.” This layout creates a storytelling feel, much like a user reading the book from beginning to end, rather than just being presented with current information. What’s more, brands are able to integrate, chronologically, histories and stories that predate the existence of Facebook.
Timeline is more about design and visual experience than Facebook Pages have ever been in the past. Some are calling it a “digital canvas” that allows for more creativity. Wisely taking a cue from Pinterest and Twitter’s new enhanced profiles, Timeline allows brands to “pin” posts so that they appear in the top-left area of the page for seven days, guiding the users’ eyes to the headlines and information that marketers deem top priority. All of these new features limit the obstructiveness of advertising by allowing the consumer to feel a more genuine connection with the brands that they follow.
The layout also makes it easier for Page administrators to view notifications, messages, analytics, and edit content. Brands are provided with a more comprehensive breakdown of activity and demographics than ever before (age, cities, high traffic times, etc.).
But even with all these innovative features, there are some mixed reviews about Timeline. Some experts caution that if brands do not understand how to manage all of the new content options, hide posts that reflect badly on the brand and guide users to see relevant content, they will not benefit from the new format whatsoever.
Timeline is available to Facebook Pages now and will be mandated on March 30th. While the inevitable use of Timeline may be a nuisance to individual Facebook users who may see it as a stalker’s dream tool, Timeline will prove to be a dream social media platform for brands if they enthusiastically pursue the new marketing options enabled by Timeline’s content management features.