What Businesses Need to Know About The New Facebook Timeline for Brands

Facebook is changing the game again.  The anticipated Timeline for Brands has arrived along with Facebook’s vision of how brands should market online.  While everyone is digesting the new Brand Page features, a  few strategic considerations come to mind:

One: Marketing on Facebook will become more subtle and visual.  Facebook will disallow any page that uses profile photos and timelines for typical call to actions like “40% off” and “Click here to…”

Two: Action speak louder than words.  Facebook wants businesses to tell their story through relevant content and posting history.  Social Media managers will need to pay attention to how and when their company shares content online.

Three: Customer Service comes to Facebook.  Facebook will allow anyone to ask send questions to brands OFFLINE.  We’ll talk more about this in a moment, but for now, get prepared for a much busier customer service department.

On a day-to-day tactical level get prepared to adjust to several key interface changes.

They include:

Profile Photos: Timeline takes the old thumbnail image and photo strip and updates it to a cover photo and a square thumbnail. The cover image dominates the top of the page and can be creatively incorporated with the thumbnail to create stunning visuals.

Hiding and Highlighting Content: Timeline automatically adds every Facebook post a brand has ever made to the new Timeline wall. Because there is more content than ever before on a single screen, a content review is highly recommended to hide out of date or irrelevant content while highlighting popular posts. Brands can go through each post and click “hide” or “highlight” to create a streamlined experience for fans.

Build Your Brand Story Through Milestones: Brands can add milestones to Timeline, calling out notable dates in a company’s history and adding rich media to tell the brand story. The day a company was founded, product releases, awards – all of this information can be added to Timeline to build a compelling brand story like a rich media Wikipedia page.

Pin Your Important Posts: Brands will have the ability to pin their featured post at the top of the page where it will remain static for seven days, staying on top of any content added after it’s anchored. This feature is helpful for campaigns that brands want to draw attention to as well as highlighting particularly compelling content that brands want to ensure gets as many views as it deserves.

Private Messaging: The only way fans could communicate with brands in the old layout was to write on the wall. Now, anyone on Facebook – fan or otherwise – can privately message a brand to ask questions offline. How this new option will alter the customer service dynamic on Facebook remains unclear, but it’s a step forward for brands who’d rather handle customer service matters discreetly rather than publicly on the brand’s wall.

Brands can work in preview mode from now until March 30 and launch the new Timeline at any time.

We recommend that brands address their profile photos first.  Next sit down with your team and evaluate your content strategy with Facebook’s changes in mind.

The clock is ticking on these changes.  We recommend immediately addressing your Timeline and taking the necessary steps to go live before the March 30 deadline. As more and more pages jump to Timeline, brands who lag may gain a perception of being behind the curve.

Timeline for Brands gives organizations a chance to highlight themselves with larger photos, richer content and more engaging brand stories. Brands with photo and video assets can create an incredibly compelling experience on Facebook, while using the platform to create a rich-media Wikipedia experience telling the story through the years. It’s a brave and beautiful new world on Facebook where content and story are more important than ever.

What Do You Think?

Do you think the Timeline for Brand changes will help or hurt your branding and engagement efforts?  Let us know what you think in the comments below.