Facebook announced Wednesday morning that it will be implementing Timeline, the latest Facebook profile layout, on brand pages. The new layout is currently available to pages and will become mandatory for all pages on March 30, 2012.
Of course as with any change made to Facebook, people will have a wide array of reactions. However, for brands who have invested in their Facebook pages as a marketing strategy, these reactions may be more justifiable. Timeline completely changes the look, feel, and functionality of pages. As such, not only will brand page admins need to learn the new features, but they will also have to say goodbye to many features they had investigated time and money into.
Benefits of Facebook Timeline for Brand Pages
1. Tell your Brand’s Story
The most basic feature that Timeline offers both profiles and pages on Facebook is the ability to tell a story. Timeline was created specifically so users could tell their life story through Facebook.
Until now, most brands using Facebook had viewed it primarily as a means for advertising. However, marketing and social media experts have been advising brands for years to view social media not as a marketing tool, but as a social engagement tool.
The new Timeline layout makes it easier for brands to tell their story. The layout lends itself to display their history, a continuous story, rather than just a stream of unrelated advertisements.
This will certainly be an adjustment for brands, but the rewards could be tremendous.
2. Increase your branding and highlight your products with Timeline
One of the first thing most users noticed about Timeline is its emphasis on visuals. This emphasis is not surprising; People are drawn to images. They tend to generate the most interaction on Facebook and are highly sharable (just look at Pinterest).
Although Timeline reduces a brands profile picture to a 180 x 180 pixel square, it offers new visual opportunities. First is the cover image, a 850 x 315 pixel banner that appears at the top of the Timeline. This gives users much greater creative freedom than they had had with the old layout.
Further, Facebook has increased the visual appeal of posts containing images and photo albums. With Timeline, when you post a new photo or album, a large image appears on your post accompanied by large thumbnails of the other photos in the album. This layout gives brands an increased ability to showcase their products, employees, customers, and much more.
3. Connect directly with your fan base
Another interesting feature that Timeline is bringing to pages is a never before seen ability to connect directly with specific fans through private messaging. How brands will take advantage of this feature is yet to be determined, but it is sure to make communication easier and more efficient.
The downside of Facebook Timeline on brand pages
While Timeline offers several advantages for brand pages, it also comes with limitations.
1. Goodbye Landing Pages
Many page owners will be disappointed to discover that Timeline does not support designated landing pages. This means that everyone who spent time designing a custom landing page or hired a designer to create one will be out of luck. These pages may still appear under the Apps section, but at least as of yet, visitors will not be directed to these pages immediately.
2. Brand interaction on Facebook pages could take a dip
While the new Timeline layout is great for telling a brand’s story, it my result in lower engagement. Whereas the old layout cultivated conversation by mimicking the layout of a forum, the new layout does not highlight conversation. In fact, the new layout somewhat hides conversation. Instead of displaying comments on posts, Timeline simply displays the number of likes, shares, and comments a post has received; it is up to the user to expand these in order to join the conversation.
On the other hand, Timeline has highlighted content that specific users might be most interested in by displaying stories created by their Facebook friends on the page or about the brand.
So, overall, Timeline offers some great features that brands should be eager to take advantage of, but these features do come at a cost. What do you think of Timeline on Brand Pages? Let us know in the comments!