This post is part of a series written by zcomm interns. Be sure to check back each week for their take on the latest in the public relations industry. This week, Hailey discusses Facebook Timeline in preparation for the switch on March 30.
Facebook has been gradually forcing its users to switch over to the new timeline format and it’s now available for companies and brands, too. On March 30 every page will automatically become a timeline and rather than just letting it happen, I recommend preparing for the change in order to fully utilize all the new features. Here are a few things to know to get started:
- Pictures: The new layout has capability to create splashy, media-rich pages. Instead of clicking from tab to tab, photos are nicely laid out and easily accessible. Having pictures directly on the page makes it more aesthetically pleasing.
- Highlight: Not all stories are equal with the timeline. Brands can now highlight a story or picture by clicking the highlight button, which will make it much larger than regular stories.
- Story Telling: Timeline makes it easier to tell stories about your brand. It allows you to go back in time and talk about how the company was founded, its history, etc. It’s a great way to see how a company or brand has changed over time.
- Interaction: Brands can better interact with their audience using the new timeline. When Red Bull made the switch to a timeline, it created a scavenger hunt contest asking fans to navigate back to when the first product was sold to get the first clue.
Although Facebook Timeline has a lot of great new features, there are definitely some negative aspects. I was browsing through Coca-Cola’s timeline, impressed by their use of images, and I came across a post by one of my friends. However, his post was not about Coca-Cola; it was referring to an article that cited coke, as in the drug cocaine. I highly doubt this is the sort of story Coca-Cola would like to be associated with. These pages are personalized to show you stories about your friends, that are often influencers, but do companies have control over what its visitors see?
Another downside is that it really highlights how often or how little brands use Facebook. It’s blatantly obvious when things are rarely shared. Check out Facebook’s own timeline for a good example. I was quite surprised to see the timeline was bare. It’s mid-March and they haven’t shared a thing since early February. Years ago they were extremely active, but thanks to the timeline format, their recent lack of activity is very apparent. So if you’re not going to really use your timeline, don’t have one at all.
Time is running out: start planning your brand’s Facebook Timeline to capitalize on the format and the features it has to offer. Before making the switch, Facebook gives you seven days where the timeline is private, allowing you to update the content and delete what you don’t want before it goes public. For a little extra guidance, check out Facebook’s Help Center page about Timeline.