Timeline for Brands: Quick Guide to the New Facebook Pages

Facebook launched new Facebook brand pages this morning – not on Facebook – but on the Today Show. The new pages take on the same look and similar features as individuals’ Timeline profiles. For instance, now on the social media site, brands can set milestones, star stories to highlight them within the timeline and upload a cover photo (but be sure to follow the rules).

The new format allows brands to not only pin important items at the top of their page, but to “rewind” and share details and photos from throughout their history.  This allows businesses and organizations to really tell their story. Journalists know storytelling is effective in capturing audiences, so if you haven’t already, follow their lead and personalize your brand.

One of the intriguing features is that your friend activity is highlighted on the new brand pages. For example, I went to the Coca-Cola page and my friend’s October 2011 status update, which included “Coke,” showed up near the top of Coca-Cola’s timeline. I left the page, went back, and a December status update from one of my other friends was highlighted. This sounds great in theory – but what if my friend had said something negative about Coke? Can Facebook weed those out? It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out on different pages.

The friend activity is one example of how Facebook is placing more prominence on engaging activity, such as conversation and community building, rather than simple “Likes” of a brand page. Along the same lines, the simple “like” buttons for status updates, photos, etc. are changing. Now, users can have the option to “read,” “watch,” and “listen to,” something.

One feature lacking from the new pages is the ability to set a landing tab, which has ruffled feathers for some businesses and organizations who feel landing tabs are effective. We at DVL are looking into ways for businesses to best utilize the new pages and will virtually attend Facebook’s first ever Marketing Conference, “FMC,” today to learn more.

Facebook says all pages will be forced to change to the Timeline format on March 30, 2012. Will you be ready? Below is a list of some brands who have switched to the new Facebook page Timeline format.

List of Brands Using the New Facebook Pages for Timeline

Products:

Stores/Retail:

Entertainment/Media:

Other:

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Changes to Google Search Could Give Google+ an Edge

Changes to the world’s most popular search engine could have marketers re-thinking, or at least expanding, their social media strategy. Company Facebook pages are widely considered to be the secondary branded destination outside of company websites, but new Google search features could challenge that trend.

Google+ content will now surface more prominently in Google web search results as the +1 button is now a factor in Google’s search algorithm. Google+ users who are logged-in will now see Google+ content among the normal search results, and also see featured Google+ profiles and pages, much like Facebook’s sponsored stories and ads.

While Google+ recently reached 62 million users, it’s believed activity and engagement has been slow to pick up since the platform launched in June 2011. However, the new search features can create a great scenario for Google+ to help boost the number of active users and amount of engagement.

Google+ brand pages were introduced in November 2011, but now, brands have more incentive to be active on Google+ as more engagement can help boost their Google search results. But to have more engagement, brands need their consumers to be active on the platform. This gives brands reason to promote Google+ to their consumers. As more brands promote Google+, there is likely to be much more buzz about the social network, which could lead to more users and activity.

So what does this all mean? With more than 800 million active users, Facebook still seems to have the advantage, at least from a numbers perspective. But will marketers jump on the opportunity to boost search results by driving consumers to Google+? Will we see brands shift from “Like us on Facebook” to “Add us to your circles?” And if brands shift focus, will the consumers follow suit? It will be interesting to see how this situation develops, and how it, or if, it will affect our social media habits.

Twitter Launches ‘Brand Pages’ for Marketers

Twitter recently dove a little deeper into the branding game with the announcement of a brand page program on the social media platform.

New brand pages will allow advertisers to customize page headers to include its logo and tagline prominently.

Brands can highlight their best content by controlling the message visitors see when they first come to the brand’s profile page by the brand’s ability to continuously promote a tweet to the top of the page’s timeline.

The “promoted tweet feature” on pages will also allow visitors to instantly see the photo or video content linked from a tweet.

Among launch partners for the new program are Disney, General Electric, JetBlue, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Paramount Pictures and Nike.

Company Facebook pages are widely considered to be the secondary branded destination outside of company websites. Twitter’s brand page launch could be seen as a way of challenging Facebook and a similar launch by Google+ last month.

In addition to the brand page launch, Twitter also announced a major site redesign.