Facebook Brand Timelines: 6 Big Changes Every Marketer Needs to Understand

Victoria Ransom is founder and CEO of Wildfire Interactive, the global leader in social media marketing software. Victoria and Wildfire will host a free webinar on March 2 at 10 a.m. PT, entitled “Timeline for Brands: How to Make the Switch,” further outlining best practices for brands in transitioning to Facebook’s new Timeline format.

Today Facebook announced to brand marketers the world over that, within the month, everything they knew about fan Pages on Facebook would be overturned. While you get your brand ready for the new Timeline format, here are six important changes to keep top-of-mind.


1. Updated Look and Feel


What’s new: The format of Timeline for brands is quite similar to Timeline for personal profiles. It employs a cover photo at the top of the Page, and the Page is separated into two main columns by a dividing line, which represents the passage of time. This format provides brands with new options for self-expression: They can outline their corporate history with milestones (such as product launches, store openings, etc.) to construct a narrative for their audience.

Recommendation: Milestones present an important and dramatic opportunity to educate the public, humanize the brand and remove a perception of corporate anonymity. Our analyses of Page engagement have continually shown that brands posting content that depicts behind-the-scenes activities, exclusive updates or promotions encourages user interactions and promotes higher engagement rates. Using interesting milestones to craft the story of the brand over time (and updating the Timeline with new milestones as they happen) can help to stimulate conversations around major achievements.


2. Reduced Tab Visibility


What’s new: The new Timeline format does not have the left-side panel of links, which could include hundreds of different tabs. While applications still exist, they’ll display differently, in rectangular panels underneath the cover photo. The width of the Timeline and the space allocated for native apps like Photos means that only three tab panels are viewable at any given time. To see more, users must expand the tab panel by clicking a drop-down box.

Recommendation: For marketers, this major change means that the three above-fold tab apps need to be considered carefully — this will be one of the first things users see when interacting with your brand on Facebook. Brands will want to switch up which tabs are visible “above the fold,” according to current company objectives or project popularity. A good Page analytics tool will be useful for determining which tab to promote on a day-to-day basis.

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