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Five things your company needs to know about Facebook Timeline for Brands

Five things your company needs to know about Facebook Timeline for Brands

The time has finally arrived for brands to make the complete switch to Facebook's new profile, timeline. Here are five things you ought to know about the new layout.

Facebook Timeline Cover Photo

The Cover Photo

Visually, the biggest change to the new layout is the cover photo. Fans are automatically directed to a large (851x315 pixels) banner-like photo resting on top of the page. This is the perfect way to brand your product or service to its maximum capabilities. The cover photo is also an excellent opportunity for brands to showcase their personality and creativity through imagery. Facebook has its restrictions though – no contact information, call to action, pricing or products are allowed to be featured in the cover photo. Facebook is making clear that they want the user to have an organic experience that is authentic, transparent and unique to the brand.

Look's Who's Talking

Recent ActivityA some-what controversial feature of timeline is a module that allows anybody to see who's saying what about a brand. "Recent activity by other people" sits in the right column of your timeline and shows the most recent posts made by friends and fans. The good, the bad, or the ugly experiences will be made public. Never fear though – the feature can be turned off allowing posts, tags and comments to be screened before approval.

No Landing Pages

One of the biggest changes in terms of social media strategy is the elimination of landing pages. Previously, landing pages (which could also be an application) encouraged new users to like a brand or enter a competition. Now, all users are taken directly to the timeline once clicking a brand's name. The removal of landing pages is aimed at allowing users to have a clean, more transparent interaction with brands, rather than a bill board experience. The user can see directly what the brand is about via the cover photo. This further highlights the importance of a creative, engaging image that draws people to interact with your brand. You can still use custom applications to display more detailed information or run competitions and link directly to these via marketing campaigns however you cannot set one as your default landing page. View an example Facebook application.

Private Messaging

Timeline for brands has also created the ability for fans and non-fans to message brands privately. On the plus side, this is considered a great way for users to interact with brands on a more personal level, specifically in regards to personal information (refunds, exchanges, credit card information). This also gives brands the opportunity to showcase their great (or not so great) customer support skills which in turn, leads to loyal customers and a dedicated fan base. However, if your brand has over 50,000 fans and is constantly receiving an overwhelming amount of messages that nobody can constantly monitor (i.e social media manager) it may be wise to turn private messages off.

Tell Your Brand's Story

MilestonesFacebook use to be about chronology, having the most recent stories first. With timeline, fans have the ability to connect with brands on a deeper, biographical level. Timeline has the capability to tell your brands story from the moment it was established to today's accomplishments. The beauty in this feature is that brands can craft their story any way they wish. Brands can create their own persona via timeline. This could be a formal theme such as listing logos and product changes throughout time or it could be a more casual theme like funny news stories that happened that same year your company won an award. This is all made possible by milestones, which works similarly to “life event" on a regular Facebook profile. When an important event occurs within your company, simply click “milestone" which is in the same box as update status, share a photo or ask a question.

Some Other Quick Hints and Changes

  • Profile picture is now a small image (180 x180 pixels) that sits underneath the cover photo.
  • An 'about' description which works similar to a mission statement is cited underneath your profile picture (This only applies if your profile is set to a company, otherwise your contact information is shown).
  • Applications that use to sit on the left side of a profile now rest directly underneath the brand's title. There are four apps that are visible, any additional applications can be found by clicking a drop down menu. The photo app (which shows the most recent company photo) is the only app that cannot be moved. Brands are able to change the order of apps, so that fans can see what matters to your company first.
  • Ability to "pin posts" : Your brand can now place the most important story at the top of your profile for up to seven days.
  • Timeline also provides a date selector which allows anyone (Fans and non-fans) to navigate to different dates of your timeline.
  • Admin panel: Use the admin panel to view page insights, stay up to date with new activity and respond to personal messages.

All in all, Facebook Timeline for brands provides a cleaner, more sophisticated and visually appealing page for fans to engage with. The changes not only encourage interaction with fans but share important moments in your brand's history. This in turn, creates a stronger more personal relationship with your customers. Start reaping all the benefits of the Facebook timeline by switching to the new profile today or wait until March 30 rolls round and Facebook will automatically convert your page for you.

View an example Facebook Timeline Page

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Tags: Facebook, Social Media, Timeline, Marketing

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