Facebook Timeline Takeaways for Brands

Deep breaths"¦ everything is going to be okay.  Yes Facebook changed things up a bit, but it is far from unmanageable.  The new look and feel of "Timeline" has a lot to offer brands and the customers they are trying to reach.  Below is a quick list of takeaways that should have you ahead of the pack in no time.

Timelines Per Brand "“ If you are a company with multiple brands, you will have multiple timelines to update, one by one.  So far, the new timelines have not done anything to consolidate your diverse brand presences.

Profile Picture "“ The recommendation here is to choose a consistent brand image and stick to it.  If you have an official brand logo, this probably makes the most sense.  Keep in mind this image will be adjacent to all of your brand"™s posts and comments.  Ensuring that this logo is also discernable in this smaller 30 by 30 pixel format is key.

Cover Image "“ This is a better place for branded expression than the profile picture.  It is meant to be dynamic, so we recommend a strategy around changing this graphic as your social initiatives and campaigns dictate.  Keep in mind that Facebook will be diligent about protecting this space from "call outs" and solicitations.  They like the idea of clean pictures and non-text laden images here.

Spredfast Facebook Timeline Cover

Company Description "“ Facebook refers to this area as a simple "elevator pitch."  We recommend 2 sentences that encapsulate who you are and what you do.  There is a small "about" link below this area where you can include even more company information "“ similar to the old "info" tab.

Traditional Tabs & Apps "“ Regardless of Facebook's intentions with Tabs going forward, they can no longer serve as the brand"™s default landing page.  Instead, search results for a brand"™s Page (or post/comment clicks on the brand name/icon) take the user directly to the brand"™s Timeline.  Rest assured you can still access these Tab products via the apps panel and via posts with direct links.  That means "like gates" on the brand"™s home page will soon be a thing of the past as well.  Additionally, tabs are no longer subject to the old width restriction of 520 pixels.  The new range is from 520 to 810, and we are recommending 775 as optimal.

Apps Panel "“ Instead of Tabs & Apps navigation along the left side, users can navigate from Timeline using the apps panel.  Here, brands can house up to 12 app panels, featuring 4 at any given time.  One of the 4 will default to "photos," but the other 3 are configurable by the brand - including events, maps, custom tabs, etc.

Timeline Curation "“ The new format enables brands to curate content using both new and old functionality "“ including post (new & backdate), pin, star, and hide.  Great post today in AdAge on how this gives brands a fresh chance to market their history to millenials.  Backdated posts give brands the ability to add company "milestones" that may have occurred in times past (think company founding, product launches, awards, accomplishments).  The pin function allows brands to keep a post at the top of their timeline for 7 consecutive days.  Facebook described this as a "post of the week" type capability that allows brands to highlight events, promotions, deals, etc.  The star function allows the brand the ability to further emphasize a Timeline post by expanding the image to fill the full width of the Timeline.  This works great for photographs, slides, and infographics.  Similar to the old format, the hide function allows brands to prevent certain posts from showing up in their public Timeline.

Spredfast Facebook Timeline Pin

Private Messages "“ With this new feature, Facebook has provided brands the ability to communicate directly and privately with users.  This is a massive development for brands conducting customer care operations via Facebook.  From experience, however, we can safely say that this will get incredibly complex for brands almost overnight.  See our blog post detailing how the marketing department can instantly turn into the accidental customer care team.  Several of Spredfast"™s customers have hundreds of reps handling thousands of questions/problems across tons of Facebook help-focused Pages.  This feature will certainly help these reps escalate issues without leaving Facebook.  Needless to say, we can"™t wait to see this available via API!  Note: private messages will need to be initiated by users"¦ i.e. brands won"™t be allowed to turn this into a proactive marketing channel.

Offers "“ This is a new type of post that could potentially bridge the gap between Facebook generated "sales" or "deals" and offline or .com redemption.  Users will have the ability to accept these offers in the form of an email or mobile coupon / message.

Admin Capabilities "“ Facebook admitted today that "not all admins are created equal" and announced basic admin controls for Page access.  If you are a Spredfast user, you are familiar with access controls by role, customized workflow, and audit trails; so this particular feature isn"™t necessarily applicable.  However, if you are managing a brand presence with others directly on Facebook, these basic controls give super-admins the ability to designate other contributors into one of five predetermined roles.

User-Controlled Default Views "“ The appearance of a brand"™s Timeline is to be controlled by the user instead of the brand.  The default view (when a user lands on your brand"™s Timeline) is referred to as highlights.  This means that Facebook will algorithmically determine which posts/activities/conversations are most pronounced.  It is probably safe to assume that the most engaging content will be surfaced most prominently, yet still in chronological order of course.  The user can choose to view the brand"™s Timeline by friend activity, posts by page, or posts by others.  Viewing by friend activity is a very engaging way for a user to see how their friends have interacted with the brand"™s Page "“ but, again, the user has to manually switch to this every time they arrive at the Page.

Admittedly the list above doesn"™t cover everything, but it is a great start to getting comfortable with Facebook"™s latest facelift.  These announcements tend to make "experts" out of a handful of people that have rushed to share their assumptions and predictions based on a very limited interaction with the actual product.  The important thing is to gather the facts and understand the implications as they pertain to your particular social media objectives.  As always, Spredfast is here to help.  So don"™t hesitate to reach out with questions!

 

 

Dan Doman's picture

Dan Doman

@d_doman
Dan is responsible for managing Spredfast's partner relationships and corporate business development efforts. Prior to joining Spredfast, Dan most recently served as Director of Business Development at venture capital firm, Austin Ventures. In this capacity, he focused on early-stage investments in the new media, Internet and social software industries. He has previous experience in the early-stage venture capital business, as well as investment banking. Dan received a B.A. in Economics from Northwestern University and an MBA from Boston College.