“Brands are people too” apparently, well according to Facebook at least, whose controversial Timeline feature was rolled out to all brand pages towards the end of last month. The new pages have received a mixed reception, largely because the redesign removes the ability for brands to create landing tabs to incentivise fans to interact and engage with them. The removal of these gateways, where fans were forced to “Like” the page in order to access richer content, means that now, all visitors will be directed to a permanent universal landing page, regardless of whether they have liked the page or not and hence the ability to establish a unique experience has gone.
Facebook’s introduction of Timeline has increased the need for brands to demonstrate innovative online marketing like never before. Simple quick fire statements will no longer suffice. Brands now have to be seen to be maximising the facilities social
media is throwing their way. As a result, brands will need more staff, which means bigger budgets and companies are not necessarily queuing up to recruit newbies!
Facebook’s Timeline does still deliver a rather striking and effective package, with the new configuration making it far easier for Facebook users to share material, a key asset to brands. Many people have praised the aesthetic appeal of Facebook’s Timeline, with its unique, yet fairly easy to follow presentation of apps and photos.
Another perk of the new format is that brand page owners can highlight what’s important-such as a post, or a story. The new layout also allows the brand to control who can post on their timeline or add tags to your page.
There is also the rather unmissable addition of the cover photo. It will be interesting to see how creative types will utilise the new cover photo. Moreover, Facebook’s Timeline assists brands in telling a story, which can immediately make a brand more personable to a consumer. Users can gain more of an in-depth understanding of a brand’s history, whilst enjoying the aesthetic appeal of bigger, bolder imagery. The timeline takes users on a journey that transpires their original perception of a brand. One can see the appeal of taking a trip down memory lane with the Facebook Timeline, and for brands this personifies them, in a way they haven’t been able to before, or at least in a pre-Pinterest world, but will brands truly benefit from the creative refurbishment of the Facebook profile?
There is clearly a demand from brands for new ways to interact with their fans through social media, as in recent weeks both Twitter and Google have similarly introduced brand pages. However it appears we are still in a period of transition to an ultimate perfect solution.
That said Timeline’s brand pages are definitely a great asset for brands such as Coke and Red Bull to showcase their work, purpose and history. Timeline is continually evolving and soon brands will be able to post coupons onto there, for users to share them with friends. While the new Facebook format does mean that people will be required to invest more time and effort in maintaining the general upkeep of brand pages, Facebook Timeline is a very promising offering to brands. Brands should maximise the opportunity to showcase themselves in an interesting and easily accessible way for consumers and therefore use social media to widen the audience and boost engagement and brand association.