What You Need to Know about Facebook Timeline

As you’re no doubt aware, every change Facebook makes to its features or layout, whether big or small, results in lots of chatter and hand-wringing among the core users and the social media-focused blogs, such as Mashable. The most recent one is Timeline, and it was slowly rolled out throughout Q1 2012. So what do you need to know? Glad you asked.

  1. You’ve got more space to personalize the page visually. The most immediate change you’ll notice is the Cover Photo, a large horizontal format image you’ll see at the very top of the page, in addition to your existing Profile Photo. Lots of creative ways to utilize this space have been created – see a few of them here.
  2. You’ve got a new way to tell your company’s history. Say you’ve been around for over 150 years, like The Wolf Organization. Or you’ve got a great history of innovation, like Therma-Tru with fiberglass doors. You can utilize the Milestone feature to showcase those events in chronological order with both visual and written support. In addition to Wolf (a great example), Captain Morgan USA has perhaps the most fun usage of it I’ve seen, and it supports their broadcast and other marketing tactics perfectly.
  3. You’ve got a new way to control what messages are seen first. Using the Highlight feature, the most important or valuable posts made to your page by either you or people that like your page will stay at the top if you highlight them. This could be used for great testimonials or important product or service news, for example.
  4. You’ve got a better way to communicate with those that like your page. Company pages can now exchange private messages with people, which can be a great way to take something you don’t want public into a more private arena. This can also be used to give a more personal feel to someone that likes your page.
  5. Those tabs you spent money developing are harder to find. Tabs are used for custom functionality developed by the company for their page, such as a product catalog, sweepstakes registration or other tools. They used to be shown on the left side but are now featured towards the right side, just below the cover photo. Only 3 are visible at a time, though you can still click to expand more, so you’ll need to be careful about what goes there and what doesn’t.

Of course, these new changes have immediately been embraced by the biggest consumer brands, like Coca-Cola and Ford Motor Company, as well as B2B giants like GE and Aon Hewitt. However, that doesn’t alter our belief that not every brand needs to be on Facebook. Just because your customers are on Facebook to see pictures of their grandkids or keep up with their own children, doesn’t mean they want to hear from you in that space. New research from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute shows that 99.5% of people who like a page on Facebook don’t ever interact with that brand page, for a variety of reasons. That’s why it’s so important to first determine if there’s a business reason for your brand to be on there, and then determine what your expectations are…before you ever have your team spending time figuring out how to use these new features.

Further Reading

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  1. The Mayor of Hardware on April 17, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    This is a very helpful post! Great advice.. I am still struggling with my apps showing up.

  2. […] this year Elton discussed the new Facebook timeline and if it matters for the building products industry. With more than a billion people subscribed to […]

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