Facebook announced this week that on March 30, all brand pages will be moved to the Timeline layout. While change is always good, some marketers are concerned about saying farewell to automated landing pages (which many businesses relied on for promotions to "like" the page) as well as the organization they've been used to since the last reformat. No change is without its shining beacons of advancement though, and the switch to Timeline is promising a lot of new ways for brands to interact with their fan base.
It's no secret that posts with photos receive more engagement. We live in the age of the image and a time when apps like Instagram can go from 0 to 10 million in a year. Brand pages are becoming more like scrapbooks and less like soapboxes for announcements thanks to Timeline's strong focus on highlighting a variety of content. Cover photos, improved photo album sharing, and the ability to "pin" featured posts to the top of the page are functionalities that are making this happen. Because of this shift, a sentence or a paragraph is no longer going to suffice. Brands will need to find their inner artist and bring out the high-quality visuals. As the saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words," and a page full of them is worth a million.
A brand's history is insurmountably important. Having easy access to the history of a brand will be (no pun intended) a milestone in the way we approach social media. Previously only living in sections like the Info tab, historic moments will now be displayed along the Timeline in a lush fashion as far back as a brand's life has spanned.
A beautiful example would be the kinds of events The New York Times has added to its page, illustrating things that not only affected their brand, but the world as well. For fans, having the ability to look into these archives will be a way to increase self-identification with their beloved brands - reminiscing, "I remember that" or "I was there!"
Being in a fan's head is one thing, but being in their heart, in their history, is invaluable. Having history means you have clout, and not that social metric with questionable formulas. Moxie, sauce, the good stuff. Brands with history will be meatier, and if they play their cards right, a healthier environment to continue fostering relationships.
Two new improvements in off-page interactions are also coming to brands thanks to Timeline. Brands will be able to message fans privately, giving them more streamlined customer service. Also, prior to the Timeline switch, fan expressions that did not @mention a brand in their post lived in monitoring and analytics seen only by the Community Managers. Now, Timeline will pull these fan statuses and posts about brands and have them displayed on brand pages. Some will stand alone visually, while older ones are aggregated into a "Recent Posts by Others" section living on the right side of the page.
This will allow brands to see these posts in real-time, furthering Facebook's goal to get insights up-to-date to the hour. While that kind of update is probably a few months away, these additions to brand pages heavily enrich the content.
Has your brand switched over to Timeline or will you wait until the March 30th automatic switch?