Rest assured! We’ve got you covered with Facebook’s ‘Timeline’ shift
For those of you that may have noticed, the Facebook layout for brand pages has been changing dramatically. Facebook rolled out their new ‘Timeline’ layout to all brand accounts – making what used to be a layout option for personal pages, a mandatory change for brand pages. Recently, Facebook mandated that all brand pages will be shifting to the new Timeline layout by tomorrow, March 30. This new format will provide brands with an exciting opportunity, as the layout is much more visual, vibrant and interactive.
I chatted with Liz Steinhardt Pollock, our PR and Social Media Manager here at GY&K, who has been in the process of transitioning our clients to this new Timeline layout. Below are some of her thoughts on the shift:
What part of Timeline do you think will be most beneficial to brands and why?
Overall, the new Timeline brand page layout allows businesses, brands and organizations to express themselves in a much more visual way to boost the amount of time people spend looking at the pages, and hopefully, the time they spend engaging with the brand.
In this recent post on Mashable (http://mashable.com/2012/03/27/facebook-timeline-brands-engagement/), “a researcher reports that brands are getting an average of 46% more engagement with Timeline.” Although these are preliminary results, this research does indicate what’s to come.
With this shift taking place under a ‘deadline’ mandated by Facebook, proactively upgrading to the new layout has been key. While creating a cover photo is the most time-intensive part of switching to a timeline profile, it’s also the most worth-while tactic as it offers a marketing opportunity on the page. Brands really want to make sure the Cover Photo is reflective of their company and their branding.
What do you think will be the biggest obstacle for brands to adjust to during this shift?
With any change, there is surprise, sometimes resistance, but hopefully also acceptance. Some Facebook users have outwardly expressed their dislike for the new layout, but I feel confident that this a positive shift for most companies to promote their brand via Facebook. As Facebook has said since announcing the shift to Timeline pages for brands, visitor experience is key and so is organic interaction. The Timeline pages will give organizations a greater capability to engage with their audience, rather than the billboard effect of the former brand pages.
What is your favorite brand page that has already adopted the new Timeline feature?
I think there are a number of brands that are using the features of the Timeline layout really well, but a few that stand out are Old Spice (http://www.facebook.com/#!/OldSpice), Kate Spade (http://www.facebook.com/katespade), Nike (http://www.facebook.com/#!/nike), etc. These brands have done a tremendous job of taking advantage of the key features of the page – adding engaging key milestones to the timeline, pinning and starring posts to draw attention to key updates, and of course, paying a lot of attention to detail on the Cover Photos!
As the transition quickly approaches, brands must be sure to utilize all of the new and exciting features that Facebook’s Timeline has to offer! Using these features to your full advantage will serve as a great resource for your brand as well as a great opportunity to boost engagement with new and existing fans.
Before Timeline strikes your Facebook account, there are a few key things you should know.
Here’s the checklist:
- 1. Cover Photo
A large, 851 x 315 pixel banner photo will be displayed at the top of your page. This photo gives your brand an opportunity to visually display what you’re all about. For example, this photo can show customer interaction with your brand’s product as shown below by Coca Cola:
Photos can’t however, display calls to action, pricing/promotional information or contact information. Also, it’s crucial for your brand to choose a visually appealing, high-resolution photo that will intrigue visitors, making them want to scroll down and view the rest of your page.
- 2. About Section
Below the cover photo will be your standard profile picture – which stays the same – and will be flanked by your brand name, and two Insights metrics (total likes and the number of people “talking about this”). Additionally, a 150-character ‘About’ section will be featured above-the-fold and offers visitors a succinct “reason to believe” before they dive further into the brand’s story. Be sure to fill out this section so visitors can get a feel for your brand. This includes a company overview, basic information section, and a section for contact information.
- 3. Page Apps
To the right of the ‘About’ section (relocated from the left navigation sidebar) will be where your brand’s apps (formerly ‘tabs’ will be located). These can include anything from photos, videos, and events, to your brand’s custom apps. It is important to note that only three Custom Views will be allowed ‘above the fold’ (photos will be ‘locked’ into that first App View spot), while the rest of the apps will be featured through a drop-down menu. You’ll want to choose the four key apps to feature on this App View bar.
- 4. Messages
Another feature of Timeline allows users to send direct messages to your brand’s page. It is important to note that fans can only proactively message the brand, so the brand will never be able to reach out to fans with a direct message. However, this new feature provides you with the ability to address particular user concerns and questions without having them appear on your wall.
- 5. Milestones
Setting up milestones on your brand’s Facebook page provides fans with background information and allows you share your brand’s story with them. The Milestone feature makes storytelling easier than it ever was before! Brands can use this tool to craft their story, and can update the Timeline with new milestones as they happen to help to stimulate conversations around major achievements.
- 6. Pinned and Starred Posts
Two important features surrounding the Timeline’s content is having the option to ‘pin’ a posts, old or new, to the page, as well as ‘star’ posts. If you pin a post, it will automatically appear in the top left spot of your Timeline feed, making it the first post visitors see, for up to seven days. This feature allows your brand to have control over what important information you want your visitors to see first. Starring posts allows brands to highlight important posts visually. When a post is starred, it expands to widescreen (or ‘double wide,’ stretching to the width of both Timeline columns) and is always visible.
- 7. Friend Activity
Another new feature is the ‘friend feed’ section which will now be displayed on the top right of the page – under your page’s apps. This feature allows your visitors to see which of their friends also like your page, and it also displays updates from other Facebook ‘fans’ who have mentioned your brand in a status update. This content will rotate, again putting emphasis on the user experience, ensuring that no two visits will be exactly the same.
How are you utilizing your Timeline page?
Kelsey Benjamin is an Account Coordinator at Griffin York & Krause.