A few weeks ago, Facebook announced its new Timeline feature, which in a nutshell is about, as ZDNet notes, “rediscovery of content already on Facebook and of course putting more emphasis on new content.” When it’s released in a few weeks, it will let you pick which of your updates are the most important, rather than just basing your profile on showing all of the latest updates.
The Timeline is wider than the existing profile and is based on a much more visual platform – it will feature a giant cover photo at the top of the page, and it allows users to highlight or hide photos and other information to make certain things stand out more. In short, it puts a little more control into the hands of the users.
And while these announced changes sparked quite a bit of debate and commentary from people regarding how they will use their personal Facebook pages, the Timeline also impacts another facet of Facebook users – Facebook Brand Pages.
Although Facebook hasn’t exactly confirmed that brand pages will employ the new Timeline, most experts believe that the changes will come shortly after they are made available to the rest of the Facebook community at large. Zeny Huang noted on Mashable that the brand benefits of Timeline could be huge, mainly by allowing companies to customize their brand pages to be more engaging. The fact that Facebook has over 800 million active users is really the main reason that companies should be on Facebook, but the Timeline changes will make it easier for companies to “be themselves.”
The two main areas where companies should be able to utilize the new Timeline to the most positive outcome are pictures and the “info” section.
More Pictures: Currently, brand pages on Facebook can only show a profile picture and five small customizable thumbnail pictures. All photo albums and tagged photos are hidden beneath the wall. With the new Facebook Timeline, a brand could use a “cover”, which is a large-size 849 by 312 pixel image that fills the entire top of a profile page. And, now, instead of just the small thumbnails that used to show at the top of the page, a brand would be able to highlight a particular image, expanding its size and making it stand out from the other photos on the site.
New “Info” Section: The info tab on Facebook is currently often used as a catch-all location on brand pages, where companies put various pieces of information about their brand. The format is typically all-text, and often not very interesting. The new Timeline completely reorganizes this information, pushing it, along with photos, apps, and maps to a navigation bar at the top of the page in a kind of “scroll” format. This allows brands to constantly keep their content available to new visitors to their site, rather than having it be buried in older wall posts or, worse, on the old info tab.
All of these changes will make it easier for brands to create a more customized and genuine experience for consumers on Facebook, perhaps even eventually replacing the multitude of other online options brands, especially small businesses, currently use to interact with their customers.
For some examples of some theoretical new brand pages utilizing the new Timeline and Cover capabilities, click here. These are unofficial examples that are not approved by the brands represented – remember, Facebook hasn’t officially announced that brand pages will be able to take advantage of the new Timeline… yet. But, they do show a lot of creative ways and companies with brand pages on Facebook would be wise to start thinking about how they plan to change their pages to capitalize on the new options. We here at AOC are already going through our past status updates to look at what to highlight, and looking through our past photos to select our new cover.