Facebook Timeline for Businesses

Facebook Timeline debuted in 2011 and is now available worldwide for personal pages but word is that Timeline for business pages will be launched at the invitation-only Facebook Marketers Council event on February 29 in New York.  Social media managers and brands have been following news of Timeline’s integration for business pages but few details have surfaced, making a lot of people nervous.

What will happen to tabs and landing pages? How will the About and Like information look on the new pages? Is the sky, in fact, falling?

It’s my opinion that Timeline is a positive step forward for business pages. Aesthetically, Timeline is superior to the current layout with its bold cover photo and full use of the page for the activity stream, not to mention opportunities to creatively incorporate profile pictures with the cover photo.

If celebrity pages are any indication of what’s to come for businesses, then Timeline also offers brands a chance to showcase more information about themselves such as location, affiliations and partners which is currently relegated to a small, rotating box below the fold on the left rail.

What Timeline should help with the most is bringing people back to a Facebook business page. In the current format, fans don’t have much reason to click back to a page once they’ve liked the brand and explored the content, since the majority of the brand’s activity is viewed in the user’s news stream. In Timeline, businesses can now insert posts into the Timeline that pre-date Facebook, building the brand’s story.

For personal pages these are called Life Events but for business pages these will likely be milestones in a company’s history. Product launches, innovations and awards are just a few pieces of content that brands can add to their Timeline to tell the story of the brand. For businesses with a rich history, Facebook Timeline could act as a rich-media page more engaging that Wikipedia, full of photos, video and compelling information about the brand. New and returning visitors will be able to navigate the Timeline bar on the right rail to explore the history of each brand.

Timeline focuses on content, engagement and storytelling, which is what the team at Facebook has been focused on all along. With a good strategy, businesses can harness Timeline to build beautiful pages that offer a more compelling brand story for their fans.

What do you think the major impact on businesses will be when pages switch to Timeline?