Is Facebook's Timeline for You?
With the luanch of Timeline you may need to alter your webstrategy and definitely your Facebook site.
But what if you’re not a business; how can you use Timeline to help?
The brand benefits of Timeline. if well used, could be huge, and will let companies tell a more engaging and authentic story. But Facebook hasn’t yet confirmed that brand pages will employ Timeline.
We're visual aminals and so pictures tell a story better than anything else. We learn and remember best through pictures, not through written or spoken words. The popularity of infographics, photo apps like Instagram and visual blog platforms like Tumblr. People increasingly consume information through photos, from browsing friends’ Facebook albums to mobile Twitpics. Accordingly, Facebook has made photos a main focus of the new Timeline profile and this is a benefit to businesses.
Compared to the current Facebook brand page (which only allows the profile picture and five thumbnails to be customized, hiding photo albums and tagged photos beneath the Wall), Timeline unlocks new possibilities for branding, raising awareness and creativity. The “Cover,” an 849 by 312 pixel image spanning the top of your profile, can be changed at any time and is major real estate for a brand — perfect for a product shot or promotion push. In addition, brands could call out important photos on the Timeline by clicking a star on the post that expands the photo to widescreen.
Currently, the hidden “Info” tab on the Facebook brand page serves as a dumping ground for every bit of information about a brand in a boring text format.
When deciding whether to pay to get tyour potential consumers to view your Facebook or a specific branded website, we face the challenge of choosing between growing a Facebook community (but with a currently boring interface which makes all businesses seem the same) or providing a more informative and better user experience elsewhere on your own personalised website. With Timeline this decision tips a bit more in Facebook’s favour as Timeline makes it easier for people to find information by pushing the Info section, photos, apps and map to the top of the page in a clear navigation bar.
While personal conversations on Facebook still matter, information and content become prominent in the Timeline design.
If your focus is to move from a simple new media led awareness building plan to sharing content about your F&B business, the purpose of a Facebook brand page will be less about information (opening times, pictures of specials, address etc) and more about telling your businesses unique brand story.
You can express what makes your business unique and build an emotional connection with fans through for example behind-the-scenes photos, videos of events, real-time mobile pictures, sound clips and exclusive news and all this has greater prominence with Timeline. In addition to showing your business LIVE, you can utilize the Timeline to highlight the great times from the past as well.
Timeline thus lowers the cost of small businesses getting an effective branded website.
Before Facebook added this potential approach, businesses have felt confused as to how Facebook could fit into their marketing and promotion strategy as it tends to just mimic their website. And businesses often "forced" activities through Facebook to "make Facebook work" for them, for example having a gimmicky app or a facebook sampling incentive for people to “Like” or engage with their Facebook page.
According to ExactTarget, of the people who “Like” Facebook brand pages today, 40% are doing that to receive discounts and promotions only. Now with the larger post size and more prominent photos, Timeline can easily serve as a business blog, providing fans with frequent and engaging updates in a neatly packaged profile. As long as you keep the page active and up-to-date.
The same challenges of building a website to life still exist, but the design of Timeline will make content creation easier by providing a skeleton for brands to fill in rather than having to pay a webdesigner to create a website for you- it now click and play with facebook.
And with this application, Facebook has addressed may of the advantages Google's new "+" brand pages.
With Timeline, small businesses can forgo creating a blog or unique domain page, opting to use Facebook Timeline instead due to the massive number of active Facebook users and the simplicity of setting up a page- and also using targetted Facbook advertising to bring people to their page. All that facebook needs to add is better measurement tool to enable businesses to track performance.