Facebook’s Timeline Update

Facebook is increasingly being viewed as a way organisations can develop a dialogue with potential consumers and build their brands. Many Australian companies have spotted this and have put up a page for their brand. On the 30th of March a new format means that all of these pages will change forever. So to be sure that your company is not left behind let’s review what’s happening and how to prepare.

The new format for Facebook brand pages is called the Facebook “Timeline”. It fundamentally changes the way your brand page works. To date, the content on a brand page has been ordered chronologically. The new format takes this a big step further. It makes it possible to create a complete visual and interactive history of your brand – from the time it started out until now.

Above this new timeline organisations can now add the main visual representation of the page. It is referred to as a cover image. This is a large image that can be used to create a story or brand the page. To see what can be done with the cover image have a look at Nike’s livestrong page or check out the Fanta page.

The new format now provides ways to construct a time-based narrative for your brand. You can choose to highlight key milestones and events such as new product launches and expansion events. Pictures and videos have always attracted more attention on Facebook than other forms of content. This will only increase with the roll out of Timeline. The combination of highlighting milestones and images gives you an opportunity to create ‘behind-the-scenes’ stories and generate a new type of connection with your audience.

If you have apps embedded on your Facebook page you may need to review these as well. The old tabs on the left hand side of the page are now gone. They will still be visible but will be displayed differently. This means marketers need to spend time thinking carefully about how to use and display apps. Gathering data on page analytics will help determine what work and what doesn’t.

The new formant ushers in a major change for stakeholder engagement. Brands can now send and receive messages to and from fans. This means that conversations can be taken off the visual timeline. This will reduce clutter and allow conversations to be ‘private’ – if you wish them to be.

You will now also have analytics embedded on the page once you log in as an administrator. The analytic tools can help you construct and manage your page. They can also help organisations analyse the ‘return on investment’ from activity on your Facebook page.

Facebook’s influence and reach in the world of consumers and brands will continue to grow – and be boosted by the forthcoming IPO. Staying across the changes and opportunities in the ‘platform’ is the best way for organisations to remain relevant.

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