Today marked the launch of something we all knew was coming – Facebook Timeline for Pages. Just as Facebook switched all personal profiles over from the old news feed view into the newer, more visually-focused Timeline several months ago, the same is beginning to happen for brand pages. Some big names like Coca Cola and The New York Times have already switched their pages into the new format (utilizing it quite effectively, might we add). Those pages that have yet to switch have until March 30, when all pages will be converted to the new look.
The truth is, at this point its hard to know exactly how Timeline for Pages will affect brands’ Facebook initiatives. There’s going to be a lot of trial-and-error involved, but ultimately, we believe the end-result will be a more engaging and interactive experience between brands and consumers. “It’s an opportunity for brands to tell more engaging stories on Facebook than they can now. It puts them more in control of their content,” said Ian Schafer of Deep Focus in an article on Mashable posted earlier this morning.
Lots will be said in the social media space between now and March 30 about how brands should adapt to the changes. For now, here are a few things you should know:
- The Timeline image is the first thing users will see when visiting your page. Brands should start thinking about and creating this visual, as well as planning if and when it will be changed to highlight current promotions, special online-only opportunities, etc. Keep in mind that price or purchase information, contact info intended for the “About” section, calls to action, and references to “like” the page can not be included in your Timeline photo.
- The ability to reference company events that happened 10 or 20 or even 100 years ago is an opportunity to tell your brand’s story. Before March 30, brands should add important events to their Timeline, like when they were founded, when new employees were brought on, when a new product launched, etc.
- Fans will now be able to send private messages to brand pages. Now would be a good time to develop a strategy for responding to them, and to think about the kind of messages you may choose to not respond to.
- Your page’s custom tabs will still exist, though they’ll be larger than they are now (currently 520px, new tabs will be 810px wide). Also, brands will no longer have the option to set a default tab, as the Timeline will now be the default for all pages.
This may sound a bit overwhelming, but there’s really no need to worry. Remember, you have 30 days to get your page ready. Through proper research and advanced planning, brands can effectively adapt to and even leverage Facebook Timeline for Pages. Stay tuned for updates as we transition our clients’ pages to the new format!