Starting March 30, 2012 all Facebook Fan Pages will be switching over to the Timeline format for personal pages. Is your brand ready?
Here are some ways that brands can prepare for Timeline without throwing away everything we’ve come to learn and love about our pages thus far.
THE PLAN. The layout of your page is going to change once Timeline for pages is enabled. What has not changed is the purpose of Facebook and its role in your social media plan. At its core, Facebook is still a communication tool.
Ultimately Timeline should be used as a way to create two-way communication between your brand and your audience. The capabilities still will be the same, no matter what the design or layout of the new Timeline ends up being.
From a design perspective, pages will be more aesthetically pleasing, but Timeline for pages is just an enhancement to an existing product. The rules are the same or possibly even better.
THE IMAGE. Facebook has given a lot of real estate to one of the most exciting features of Timeline: The large image featured at the top of the page. That image is an opportunity to feature something powerful and captivating.
Brands can leverage the image by changing it frequently, featuring a weekly special or a reason for people to like your page. The possibilities are endless, so start thinking of what you want people to see when they visit your page.
THE PAST. With Timeline, fan page owners will be able to reference events that preceded Facebook itself. Go through your company’s history and take this opportunity to tell your story, add personality, let people know how it all began and talk about how you got to where you are today.
THE POST. Brands can now post to Facebook as brands. This is huge. The most important change is that administrators can now post throughout Facebook, on both other pages and on profiles, as the brand.
To use this feature, administrators can toggle between posting as themselves and as the brand simply by using a drop down menu at the top of the page under “account.”
THE CATEGORY. Many companies set up their fan pages using either the wrong category or one that no longer is a good fit for their growing brand. For example, a business might have been local but has grown to be regional or national. Or, a group of college students set up their indie film production page under community group, and it’s now a large studio with 100 employees in the Loop.
For the first time, business pages can now change their category.
This changes the fields under the info link.
If a person wants to be a local business, changing categories will allow him to enter store hours and location along with details on parking. If a local business wants to become a consultant, the new fields will provide spaces to share product offerings and packages.
What it all means for you the user, is that the tough decisions of presenting yourself as you are or how you will be, but not just yet — don’t have to keep you from starting at all. This new feature allows you to grow and bring your fans and most loyal supporters with you.
THE LIKE. The new Subscribe button allows any user to subscribe to your public updates in their News Feeds.
The concept of subscribing pages is similar to following someone/a business on Twitter or adding them to a Google+ circle.
Fans will be able to indicate on your page whether they “love”, “want”, or “own” a product, along with a selection of other verbs.
This will give you a much better idea of what your users really mean when they traditionally ‘like’ an activity. This is a pretty smart answer to the ongoing “why can’t we dislike something”. A neutral political answer, yes. But a step in the right direction.
Jacob Young has a decade of experience in cutting edge web development, online reputation management, search engine optimization, viral and organic optimization, branding, marketing, promoting and business consulting. Reach him at JacobYoung@ReelChicago.com.