Apr 10, 2012

Why the New Facebook Timeline for Pages is Worth the Work

Why the New Facebook Timeline for Pages is Worth the Work
BY Peggy Nordeen

SFBJ | Social

Reprinted from South Florida Business Journal

Just when you thought your Facebook brand pages were under control, Facebook launched its new Timeline design. With it, another set of decisions looms in how and why to integrate this powerful new set of features with the rest of your organization’s integrated marketing communications plan.

The fact that more than 162 million people post on Facebook daily is enough to say, “yes, the work must be done.” However, the other major factor in why you should do this is the contextual power this move offers your brand.

Tap into the contextual power of Facebook Timeline

In its beginning, the Internet leveled the playing field for all brands. A great brandmark and impressive website made a small, new company look as substantial as a large, established firm. There was little context offered for Web surfers to evaluate an online company, since the entire Internet was new.

The advent of Google allowed us to do research on a company and its activities, but that took a concerted interest and effort on the part of the consumer and the majority of information is not yet searchable by Google.

With Facebook Timeline, the opportunity to show the history and progression of a company and/or its brand at a glance is worth the work of admission. While we all know fond memories are not as motivational as bright prospects for the future, there is comfort in knowing that the brand you are considering dealing with has the credibility of a proud past. The Facebook Timeline design helps well-established, reputable brands tell their story quickly and in an entertaining way.

Private messages, prioritize posts

And, it offers several other very valuable features that enhance your brand communications impact. One very important feature is the ability for page visitors to send a private message to your organization, instead of publicly posting on your timeline. You have to monitor these messages, but it offers the ability to address users’ concerns and solve their problems without public discussion.

Another important feature allows you to “pin” page posts to the top left spot of the Timeline design for up to seven days. This allows you to direct users to an important promotion, prominently show a photo, give a status update on an event and the like. While you can highlight especially positive posts, you can also hide or delete posts that were timely when published, but no longer make sense or aren’t especially positive.

It takes time and effort to navigate through all of these changes, but there is the ability to enhance the power of your brand and use the power of Facebook to integrate the messaging of your communications strategy.

The exceptional ability to track what’s happening adds even more control, and an admin panel is built into the new design, so your social media manager need not leave the page to find out its current metrics. An activity log shows every post that has ever been published. Here you can determine how they should be viewed or hide them from view.

A timetable for Facebook Timeline

Between now and March 30, companies/brands that wish to build their new Facebook Timeline content can do so behind the scenes on the Timeline for Pages preview manager, where you can select to add Timeline to your Pages. Once the Pages are ready, page administrators can push the Publish Now button atop the page and start showing Timeline publicly. On March 30, all Timeline pages under construction will be published publicly by Facebook.

Facebook has rules and regulations about what can be shown on the new Timeline pages, such as “no calls to action” on the cover (first section) of the Timeline. “Hard sell” is generally not considered effective in the world of social communities, and most brands find compliance of this and other regulations within the parameters of the tone they wish to convey on Facebook.