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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Guide to the New Facebook Timeline

Facebook seems to roll out new features quite frequently, like the new Ticker and Subscribe features. However, there is possibly nothing more talked about than Timeline, recently announced at Facebook’s f8 conference by CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The new format encompasses all of your stories and apps and, in Zuckerberg’s words, is “a new way to express who you are.”

Timeline is basically a revamped profile format that allows you to customize what’s visible from your Facebook history.  Thus, older items don’t have to disappear when you create new actions. You will also be able to highlight certain actions, so they stand out in your timeline.

It’s no secret Zuckerberg believes in a “web where the default is social.” Timeline will allow users even more chances to share information and experiences of all kinds with their friends.

Timeline has been in beta since Sept. 22, and although it was originally scheduled for public release at the end of September, the current ‘go-live’ date is Oct. 21. We’d like to give you a little preview of what your new Facebook profile will look like.

  1. Cover: The first thing people will see on your Timeline. It’s a panoramic, original portrait that represents who you are. For some examples, Mashable has highlighted 10 creative Timeline Design Covers. Your profile photo will still be visible in the bottom left corner of the Cover.
  2. Scrollbar: On the right side of the timeline, the scrollbar allows users to quickly locate a specific time in someone’s life and view Facebook activity during that period.
  3. Shortcuts: This includes the entire user’s “anchor” information, such as bio info, friends, photo albums, “Likes,” apps, notes and more in one central place.
  4. Updates: Facebook still asks “What’s on your mind?,” but now you can detail specific life events in different categories, including Work and Education; Family and Relationships; Living; Health and Wellness; and Milestones and Experiences.
    • You can even back date events and milestones. Some events are pre-set, like getting a tattoo, having a child or adopting a pet, but you can also create a custom life event or milestone.
    • Let’s say you got a pet. You can include its name, type of animal, breed, location, date, story, a photo, and also tag who you were with when you got it.
  5. Activity Log: A ticker of sorts, this highlights your recent Facebook actions; whether your write on a wall, comment on a photo, update a job, add a life event, friend someone new, “Like” something or perform some other activity. Which brings us to…
  6. Applications: With Timeline, the notorious “Like” button will have to share its page space with new verbs. Users will also have the option to “read,” “watch,” “listen to,” “cook,” or “high five” something, among a myriad of other actions. These actions can come from various company applications, such as the increasingly popular, Spotify music sharing service.

In Timeline, applications will be a primary way for companies to better integrate their brands with Facebook users. Businesses will be able to offer more opportunities for their fans to share their products, information, services, etc., in more creative ways.

Originally a site to help college students to connect, Facebook is ever evolving and becoming more business and marketing friendly. Organizations with a social media presence will need to keep up with the new Facebook interface, but as each organization is unique, it’s imperative to evaluate and strategize to ensure the best return on engagement.