By Meghan Gargan Over the last week, there’s been a lot of talk about the Facebook Timeline: the new features that come with it and what this update means for brands. We’ve already seen some great posts on this blog that introduce the new changes and also posts that help to put Timeline into a strategy perspective.
If there’s one thing that Facebook has made abundantly clear with its new layout, it's that Pages are no longer about promotion, but that they'll have a stronger focus on storytelling. Putting pixels and pinning aside, here are three ways through which you can really put the Timeline to use for telling your brand’s story.
With the addition of pinning and starring content, Facebook has given brands a content-wakeup call. For years, businesses have used social media for outbound marketing messages, but Facebook now wants brands to tone down promotional efforts and instead aim for the inspirational. Encourage your fans to engage with your brand's content, participate in discussion, and impact your brand’s story by taking advantage of the new layout as well as embracing the beauty of multimedia. Timeline was made for uploading Instagram photos, sharing YouTube videos, and displaying your most engaging content - front and center.
Sharing personal anecdotes, photos, and videos that demonstrate the essence of your brand will, in turn, deliver bigger results. If there’s one thing that Facebook’s changes have made clear, it’s that “likes” are on the way out and that "engagement" (measured through People Talking About This) is the hip new kid in town. Use your brand’s content to focus on engaging the community you have, transitioning idle watchers into engaged fans, and eventually transitioning those fans into loyal consumers.
Yes, cover photos are awesome, and we’re seeing brands do really innovative things with the creative space. But the profile picture and tab icons are equally as important. When fans do visit your page, you'll want to give them a five-second snapshot of your business and why it’s worthwhile for them to come back. That means creating an overall, brand consistent story with every image, icon, and photo displayed; telling your story using visuals can be one of the most powerful and effective marketing techniques to excite, entice, and enthuse your community.
Go beyond the logo and the lifestyle image to give fans a visual glimpse into your company and why they should be a fan. Additionally, don’t be afraid to change it up and switch out cover photos, tab icons, and profile pictures with new colors, design elements, and fonts; your brand's story is ongoing and your visual story-telling should be the same. You can walk fans through different moments in time as well as reveal new and unknown things about your brand to keep things interesting and intriguing through engaging icons and photos.
As we all know by now, the landing page is gone. For marketers, this may be the hardest challenge yet, as we’ve grown accustom to directing new fans to a fan-gate: Welcome pages were a great way to encourage likes and give fans a quick brand snapshot. However, while fans will now be directed to the Timeline, Facebook's new layout also gives brands and marketers a chance to focus on creating really great applications that can better service your fans' needs.
Going beyond the welcome image and information, brands can focus on creating applications that attempt to integrate fans and consumers into your brand's story in completely immersive and amazing ways. Invest the time, money, and man-hours to create something unique and customized for your audience. Satisfy fan appetites with applications that provide brand education, awareness, loyalty, and sales in a fun, creative, and ultimately Likeable way. Think big and be bold; you'll see rewards, I promise.
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So, tell us in the comments below - how are you using Facebook Timeline to tell your brand story?