Facebook Announces New Brand Timelines

Yesterday was a big day in the social media world. Facebook announced brand pages would be taking on a design change, moving from their current profiles to new Timeline profiles like the ones we’ve seen for Facebook users since the end of last year. The changes will be effective for all brands March 31st, but brands can choose to release their new profiles anytime before then.

The goal by Facebook was to make brand pages more social and interactive.

What do the new Timeline pages mean for brands?

1. Clean Design

The new Timeline pages allows brands more free range with their profile designs. The new cover photo creates a splash on the top of the profiles, and brands can easily use this for brand messaging or promotional material.

2. Increased (and yet Decreased) Tab Visibility

With the adoption of the Timeline ribbon, brands are able to make important tabs more visible than others. The previous page designs allowed brands to listed all of their tabs and apps on the left-hand side of their profiles. Now, brands can choose up to three of their tabs to display as square photos within the Timeline ribbon. To see the other tabs available, users have to click down on the arrow button at the very right-hand side of the Timeline ribbon. Given this, brands will have to ensure their tabs are properly organized based on their strategies. For example, if they are running a promotion, brands should place this promotion on top of the other tabs so that it displays in the ribbon without being hidden below the “fold”. A brand’s summary is also more prominently displayed on the left-hand side of the ribbon.

3. Increased Social Capabilities

Now when users see a Timeline page, they’ll see social stories at the top of the brand’s content. They’ll be able to see which friends like the page, stories of friends interacting with the page, and recent posts by others on the page. In the previous page designs, users had to find this content on the left-hand side of the page underneath the page’s tabs.

For brands, this means improved social interaction, as users will see friends interacting, gain better brand favorability (people love to hear things from people they know), and possibly further action by the user to then interact with the brand.

4. “Pinning” Content

Brands will now be able to pin important content at the top of their pages. This feature can already be used on user’s profiles, but it has much more use by brands, who may want to pin a promotion, interesting news release, or social engagements such as the winners of contests.

5. No Landing Pages

In the previous pages design, brands could choose a landing page for users to land on when first entering the brand’s profile. Brands no longer have these capabilities. It is one of the downfalls of the new Timeline. Brands will now have to be aware of how their cover photos, pinned content, and tabs relate to their overall strategies and affect a user’s flow throughout the profile.

6. Time

The new Timeline provides insight into -you guessed it- time. Users can click on different years on the very right-hand side of the page to see past content by the brand. Now more than ever will brands want to post content often, otherwise it will become very clear to users if there were times when brands faltered on sharing content and making posts.

7. Private Messages

Brands and users will now be able to send private messages to one another. This will hopefully solve the problem of users posting inquiries or complaints on the brands’ Timelines like the often do on a brand’s wall currently.

Overall, I think the new Timeline pages for brands will prove successful in terms of increasing social interacting with Facebook users. However, I am disappointed that brands will no longer be able to choose their landing pages, and I’m hopeful that this will change in the future.

-Bryan Nagy