4 Ways Brands May Benefit from Facebook’s Timeline

This is a guest post by Lior Levin, if you want to guest post on this blog, please contact us.

It’s not even a certainty yet – whether or not the new feature from Facebook, called Timeline, will be even offered to brands for their commercial purposes. However, the buzz has already started about how and why brands – large and small – could benefit from the significant changes to the look, feel, and functionality of Facebook profiles that Timeline will bring.

Timeline is a new Facebook feature that allows profile owners to dramatically change the look of their profile, and in doing so, how they interact with their friends and profile visitors. If Facebook does deploy the same features to Facebook pages as they are planning to with profiles, brands may benefit from the change. Here are four ways the changes could help.

1. Timeline Tells a Story

Facebook Timeline Benefit

Image courtesy 123RF Stock Photos

From top to bottom, Timeline is all about building a story around an identity. For brands, this could mean a significant improvement to the existing Facebook Pages tool, which is basically like a restricted profile and not much more.

With Timeline, brands could have the opportunity to really focus on telling their brand’s story, starting with the extra large image at the top, which, by the way, is an improvement even over the existing custom welcome screen, because the extra large image will be seen all the time by everyone.

From there, the rest of the page tells a story via the updates, photos, activities, likes, and events that are displayed. The layout of Timeline aids in the story-telling, as the linear page dominated by time-stamped status updates is eliminated, and a more compelling, tied-together look (with a smaller box for updates) is displayed instead.

2. More Control Over Updates, Photos, and Activities

Facebook Timeline Benefit

Image courtesy 123RF Stock Photos

While the name “timeline” implies chronological order, the actual implementation of timeline is anything but restrictive in that sense. Timeline will allow users to pick out updates, photos, and activities that they want to highlight, giving them a lot of power over what gets displayed.

All too often with brand pages, the really significant things get pushed way down the page and eventually out of sight, especially if brands use Facebook to do a lot of customer service and communication. If brands have the opportunity to take advantage of Timeline’s new “highlight” feature, brand social media managers can pick and choose the photos, status updates, and activities that best tell the brand’s story.

3. More Opportunities for Branding

Facebook Timeline Benefit

Image courtesy 123RF Stock Photos

Features are only special if they are taken advantage of, so it should probably be said that brands would be missing out on a huge opportunity if the changes coming with Timeline were ignored. There are huge opportunities for branding – including the massive cover image, the profile image collage, cherry-picked activities and updates, and numerous other things that would be in total control of the page owner.

The key for brands, large and small, will be to not limit the features to what they are at face value, but to discover how they can be used to create one cohesive brand image, so that no feature goes ignored or underutilized.

4. Centralized Focus

Facebook Timeline Benefit

Image courtesy 123RF Stock Photos

Perhaps the single most important change coming with Timeline is that profiles – and hopefully brand pages – will have much more focus. Timeline is being developed for profile owners – people – to help them showcase more of themselves and what they love and who they love. If Timeline is deployed to brand pages, brands will benefit from this singular, centralized focus as well. With the existing page structure, the focus is clearly on one thing – updates. But if Timeline is made available to brands, updates will be just one part of the activity, allowing brands to draw attention to other things while still providing fans the opportunity to interact with them via the wall like before.

With Facebook, a change is inevitable and usually right around the corner. While some of the recent changes have been received less than enthusiastically, this is a change many brands would quickly welcome and adapt to. Whether they get the opportunity to do so, however, is still to be announced.

About the Author

Lior Levin, a marketing consultant for a web hosting company that details the top 10 website hosting companies available online. Lior also consults for the MA in political science department at the Tel Aviv University.

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