The ‘new’ timeline layout that Facebook users have recently had to get used to is now being rolled out to Facebook Pages too. Along with new real-time Facebook insights, brands really have an opportunity to develop their Facebook marketing strategy and create added value for users. The new timeline for brands will automatically update to all pages on 30th March 2012. Some innovative brands have already adopted this new layout and are beginning to utilise it to their advantage. I’m going to present some ideas on how you as a brand can take advantage of the new features on your Facebook page.
Let’s look at the new features:
Brands now have more than a thumbnail image to express their identity. The large cover photo is the first thing that people will see on your page, so it is essential that it represents the brand values. It can’t contain information that references purchases, prices, liking the page, contact information or contain a call to action. Use a strong image that clearly depicts what the brand is about. Harley Davidson have done a great job with their cover photo: it clearly represents their brand, their iconic bikes and the open road. Another good example is Starbucks Coffee.
Customisable Tabs + Apps
You can now choose what tabs or apps you want people to see instead of them all being visible under the profile picture. Up to twelve apps or tabs are available, but only four will be visible at any one time, with photos being constant. This is where brands have the opportunity to promote apps that are beneficial to the achievement of business goals. If a brand has a video channel that it wants to promote then make it a tab. If a brand wants to prominently display the number of people that like its page then make it a tab. Promote Twitter, the blog, events… whatever is important to the brand’s current marketing objectives.
Choose What Posts Your Users See
Highlighting important posts that exist on a brand’s page will make them more prominent. Each week a Page can ‘pin’ a post which will catapult that post to the top of the timeline, making it the first thing users will see. This could be useful if a brand is trying to promote new products, recent press clippings or other important company news. While this pinned post will remain for 7 days, it can be unpinned at any time, which will relegate it to its original position in the page’s timeline. Brands are able to create a feature out of important content.
There are more ways to optimise content. Four types of content can be placed higher within the timeline:
The way content is ordered will affect people’s perception of your brand. Users might miss really engaging content that is relevant to them if it appears low down on the page. Being able to see how friends have interacted with a page – whether they have liked it, visited it or tagged it in a post – is the most relevant, as it creates a connection with other users. If you saw your friend’s name on a brand page, would you be more interested in what the brand had to say?
Facebook have created a new ‘admin panel’, which provides admins with an overview of how people are interacting with the page, any new likes and recent insights. This provides admins with a clear way to stay up-to-date with Page developments and gives greater visibility when tracking interactions with the page.
Real Time Facebook Page Insights
Page Insights no longer have a two day delay; all data is now real-time, meaning marketers can see what is happening behind the scenes at any time. This will give better insight into what content is performing well and will allow admins to amend content that isn’t being received well. It allows companies to be more flexible; they can respond quicker and will gain timely insight into when to action changes to a campaign.
Users can now privately message a Facebook Page directly. The opportunity for Pages to engage with users on a one-to-one basis has never been possible on Facebook before, giving brands the opportunity to make their relationship with a consumer closer and more intimate. This feature can, however, be turned off should a brand page not want to communicate with users.
The new layout gives Pages better control over the content they publish. I believe that brand ethos and values can be better expressed through the new ways to manipulate content. There is more of an emphasis on photography and video, which not only adds to a brand’s personality but it also makes content more engaging. Admins can now see what content is working and what is not. Brilliant content can be highlighted and pinned, promoting it up to the top of the timeline while real-time insights will allow admins to change/edit/manipulate content that is performing poorly. I think a great addition to the new Facebook Page developments is the way a user can see how a friend has interacted with a brand. How friends interact not only with brands but with other sites on the internet is becoming a huge focus of SEO, and this change further confirms the fact that consumers trust peer recommendations.