For digital marketers, Facebooks recent announcement of major to brand fan pages / business pages / brand pages, and has caused a bit of nervous shake up with digital marketers and social media experts.
Just as you think you caught up to-date with launching and marketing your Facebook business page, Facebook has made a major shift on how you present your brand, and users interact with it.
Gone will be the days of using your business page as a landing page with high call to action to 'like' it to click thru to your destination side. Even recent policy changes from Facebook describe what you can and cannot do with your brand page...perhaps its a foreshadow of what's to come.
There are a lot of changes that have arrived in Facebook business timeline pages, and to help you understand what these changes are, how it will impact your business and brand on Facebook, and how to make the adjust your Facebook marketing strategy, then read one.
What is Facebook Timelines for Brands?
All the changes Facebook has made to Facebook business pages moves towards telling the story about your brand. Yep. Seems simple enough, but its not.
Gone will be the days of using your Facebook business or fan page to just show everyone what's happening right now....the latest information, breaking news, latest promotion, etc. Yes you can still publish this type of content, but how its presented and how its social interactions will influence your brand on Facebook will be much different.
The Facebook brand timelines provides fans AND users a much deeper, intimate view, experience and understanding of your brand 'over time'. Key word 'over time'.
Fans and users will now be able to look at your history and not just what your doing 'right now'. That is the biggest difference. But what exactly did Facebook change with business pages, and how can marketers and brands take advantage of it?
Before I can get into how you can take advantage of it in your social media or Facebook strategy, you first should understand what changed.
To best describe some of these Facebook changes, let's look at view of the new Facebook timeline below for futbol team Manchester United, and below it the major changes or view our Internet Marketing Facebook timeline page here.
As you go through this, you'll begin to see what you can and cannot do, and the branding opportunities to promote your brand above the Facebook timeline fold line.
For those who prefer the coles notes, a brief summary of the key Facebook timelines for business tips and takeaways.
Facebook Timeline Business Tips
- Banners & branding
- Take advantage of the larger banner opportunity and be aware of the visual content limitations Facebook policies have established (see below). No pricing, no CTA buttons, no arrows pointing to 'Like' etc.
- Consider the real-estate in the timeline page that is positioned above the foldline, and how it can be best used for your marketing, branding and latest campaign.
- Local Business
- Local businesses can use multiple locations via the Facebook places, which display the map locations above the fold line.
- No Landing Page
- Consider how you use your Facebook brand page as a landing page when executing ad. campaigns, inbound link advertising, etc. No longer can you use high CTA's and use the page similar to a traditional landing page.
- Custom Applications
- Tab applications didn't change much other than allowing an est. 50% larger view.
- Competitor Social Analysis
- Take advantage of the competitive analysis feature to view the social engagement and interactions performance of the brand. Yes, you first need to 'like' the brand, but once you do, you can some decent transparency on how their timeline is performing, and what your competitors are doing to encourage social interactions and engagement.
- For example, check out their 'Likes' and look at the charts for any spikes of social engagement. Then use the timeline to scroll back to that time period to see what the brand did to stimulate and encourage this social interaction.
Facebook Brand Pages & Timeline Changes
- Different Views
- Every friend and user to your Facebook timeline page could see a slightly different view of the brand page, since every Facebook user has a different number of friends, and different number of photos, which can display within the page.
- Current view of all your friends who also like this brand. So if your already a fan of MJA Impressions on Facebook, you'll also see all your friends who have joined us on Facebook.
- Positioned just below your friends list, you'll see constantly changing updates from interactions and activities your friends and brand fans perform.
- Brand Photo
- The main brand photo we're accustom too in the top left of the page, is now be presented as a large cross page banner. While the larger in-your-face branding may appeal to marketers, this visual impact is now lost as the visitor scrolls down the new timeline page.
- Brand Banner
- The first branding to be seen on the page, this 850x315 pixel banner provides a much more stimulating and larger impact when fans and friends visit the brand timeline page.
- Limitations: According to Facebook's terms of service, brands have certain limitations with the brand banner. These limitations include no pricing or purchase information displayed in the banner, no contact information, no calls to action (bye bye landing page) and no references to Facebook features such as 'Like' or 'Share' (ex. no arrows pointing to the 'Like' button). The likely reason behind these policies is to prevent the brand banner from becoming another billboard for blatant advertising.
- Brand banners present two versions. The large branding banner across the page as described above, and the smaller profile photo (ex. spokesperson photo) from the profile in the bottom left of the banner.
- Brand Bar
- While you lose the brand photo as fans scroll your brand timeline, you gain a global brand bar across the top of the page. This is a thumbnail view of your brand logo and some short cut links to jump to specific interest areas of the brand.
- Posts and Updates
- No longer does the brand page show only posts made by the brand itself. As you experience the new timeline you'll get to see ALL posts made by fans of the brand.
- Tab View
- About Your Business - Customize
- In the content container below the brand banner, based on the category information you provide, the timeline page will offer different information to populate your page. For example, a regular business page offers up to 150 characters to describe the business, but when you change the category to a local business, it offers additional options to customize your 'about my business' section. Test it to see.
- As you apply new photos to your business timeline, the most recent photo will display in the timeline photo container.
- Photos are locked in place, allowing for only 3 custom views above the fold. Previously almost an unlimited number of page tabs were possible.
- Facebook Places & Local Maps
- Maps are only available to brands who are qualified for a places page. For example, if your business can be 'checked-into from Facebook' or places (physical addresses) that people can check into, will have the capability to display the map and include this custom application.
- Custom Apps
- Custom app views are 110x74 pix in size, and displays your applications associated to your brand timeline. This crates an opportunity to rebrand the tab with applications that support a current marketing campaign, such as photos, or a social game app., etc.
- No More Landing Pages
- One of the big changes Facebook Timelines is rolling out will probably have a few marketers squirming around the changes that prevents ability to use the Facebook business page, now the timeline page, as a landing page. There are current apps. you can apply to your Facebook business page to show different views to Fans and Non, with the intent to drive a high call to action. Gone. So your inbound link campaigns, PPC campaigns, Facebook advertising campaigns, TV ads., etc that promote your Facebook business page that is appropriately designed as a landing page for your CTA....well, that's now all going to change when Facebook converts business pages to brand timelines.
- Likes & Competitor Analysis
- Another new feature, if you've 'Liked' a business brand timeline, you'll now have option to view the 'Liked' version of the page along with some competitive analysis information on the brands page timeline performance. This information can be helpful when tracking competitors to see what they're doing to be engaging and how their social interactions are influencing the brand page performance.
- Custom Apps. & Tabs
- So how will your custom apps work? Not to worry, they apparently will still work the way they did worked before, however the only difference is the page real-estate . The new real-estate, or view, will be much wider with the Facebook timeline. For example the current app. tab view size is 520 pixel width, whereas the new application view will, where your current app. window view will be 'up to' 810 pixels wide. Remember, current apps. will stay the same, unless you update the width to the new timeline size of max. 810 pixels wide.
- Private Messaging: Customer Support
- Brands cannot proactively reach users via private messaging, but can be reactive to respond to fans and users messages.
- No longer would fans need to post to a brands wall to get a response from a brand. Fans and users can private message to the brand their comments, questions, etc.
- Highlight Content
- Highlight or 'pin it' specific content you want to stay highlighted at the top of the page for everyone to see...though when you pin the content, it only remains for 7 days.
Customizing & Managing Facebook Timeline Options
- Administration Panel
- See who recently joined your brand and see what is publicly available on their profile
- Custom Tabs: Currently you may have one or more tabs in your Facebook business page to promote different brands, messages, campaigns, etc. Now that these tab apps. are displayed above the fold line giving greater visibility to your fans, you also will have an easier time to edit and change them. To edit and customize the tab apps, log into your account, edit page for your business timeline and scroll down to your Apps. Pick your app. you want to edit, and change the information in the dialogue box.
- Manage Options
- Control who can post to your page
- Control where do the posts go such as others who post about your brand
- New: Screen and moderate posts. Similar to your Word Press blog comments management feature, you can moderate posts from other users to approve or decline if the posts will be published in your timeline.
- Private inbox: Define if you'll allow fans to message your brand privately. This can be good or bad...do you have someone managing this?
Yes, even the approach to Facebook advertising is undergoing changes. The most significant changes is with Facebooks premiums ads and mobile. You can learn more about the Facebook premium ads here as its a whole other subject that compliments the Facebook business timeline pages.
Have others to add that we missed or want to share how you plan to use the new Facebook timeline for your brand, drop a comment below. And if you found this helpful, create some karma and google +1 us above, Facebook 'Like' us or just Twitter it.