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Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The Facebook Timeline – What it Means for Fan Page Owners

The timeline feature on Facebook is rolling out for regular users as of mid to late December 2011. For regular users of the website, the timeline is a convenient way to view all of the activities they have recorded on Facebook since they created their account. Additionally, there are features added to make the profile page more attractive and better express the personality of the user.

However, the timeline feature is not ready to roll out for brand pages quite yet. Facebook is currently focused on rolling out the feature to its non-branded user base. In many ways, this is a good thing. It gives you the chance to see the timeline concept in action and decide how it will work with your own internal marketing plans. With any luck, the timeline will be available soon, because it looks to be an excellent way to increase brand awareness on a Facebook “about” page.

This is the most noticeable part of the new timeline concept. The cover photo can be nearly any Facebook-legal photo or image, allowing for the ability to personalize the experience. On the current rollout that is available to regular users, advertising banners are not allowed, but it is assumed that branded photos will be acceptable when the timeline is opened to business users.

The cover photo size is 850×315. This size really dominates the screen, without overwhelming the viewer. It would be the perfect place to improve brand recognition and tie your entire page together. Since it is easy to switch the cover photo, you could conceivably change this picture seasonally, monthly or even more often to encourage repeat visitors. A company with a skilled internal artist could consider regularly changing the image, while retaining the brand recognition, the way Google does each day with its logo.

Instead of simply listing the stories in a long senseless stream, stories are now organized and sortable. It is possible to click on a certain year or month and see the stories from this month. The page owner can highlight certain stories to make them appear larger, and can easily remove stories they don’t want to appear.This will be especially useful for page owners because they can constantly keep promotional information highlighted and easy to read.

The interface of the timeline makes it especially easy for fans and customers to learn more about you. If the setup is similar to how it is for regular users, there is an easy link to more information about you, other fans things you like and maps or other data. The timeline concept, when it is available for brand pages, will encourage longer views of your page and more user interaction.

While not as important for brand users as it may be for regular users, the timeline is designed to work well with many popular apps. Depending on your business this can be a fun way to connect with your customers. The connectivity with popular music and media sites can easily allow you to share some of your personality with your customers. As time goes by there will certainly be even more apps included, many of which may make your social networking tasks even easier.

The timeline is one of Facebook’s biggest changes to date. Even though it is still under works for use by brand pages, it is never too early to start planning how this will affect your Facebook marketing strategy. View this as a new way to connect with those who stop by your page, and take advantage of the chance to build your brand recognition using these free tools that Facebook provides.

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