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Trend: Facebook Timeline for individuals is here. Learn now how to make it work for your business.

Back in September, Facebook unveiled their newest update, “Timeline”, poised to eventually replace users “Walls”. At that time, the update was only available to developers; but according to a Facebook spokesperson, the roll out should be completed to all users within the next few weeks. If you have yet to make the switch on your personal profile, it’s about that time. You must be rolling your eyes and sighing at the thought of yet another Facebook update. However, this one’s worth it. It’s going to be a game changer. Marketers need all the time they can get to acclimate themselves with the new interface before Timeline is launched for brand pages.

Takeaway: Tell the story of your business.

Facebook Timeline for businesses is unknown territory, but the question is not IF it will happen, but WHEN. According to a recent Mashable article, it’s a known fact that “consistency in both functionality and appearance is really important to Facebook” but logically, they need to have their base of personal users switched over before delving into business profiles. So for the time being, marketers need to do as much research and planning as possible. I have come up with a few notable predictions for when the Timeline rolls out to brand pages…

The “cover photo” will be the golden egg. It will allow marketers free reign to customize a billboard-like space above their page, essentially affording them prime real estate for free. The possibilities are endless. Additionally, it has been suggested that the new Timeline will create an increased emotional experience between brand and customer. It will no longer be a blasting of “check out this sale!” or “Like our page!” Customers and brands will now interact in a way that is more peer to peer. Sharing “life events” with each other via the Timeline will help solidify this. Finally, the switch from a “wall” view to a Timeline now allows page owners to change dates/times/places of past events, as well as add in new “life events”. I see this leading brands to post such “life events” within their timeline and challenging customers to engage in a scavenger hunt of sorts. A post embedded within the Timeline that includes a deal or special offer will not only drive traffic to the page but will increase engagement beyond the typical news feed skimming. I predict the Timeline change will alter the way customers interact with businesses. According to a Facebook representative, so far “very few people ever return to a Facebook brand’s page after liking it. People are 40-120x more likely to see your posts in their news feed.” The Timeline is like a brand’s own personal news feed. Marketers will need to make the most of this change and reward returning customers.

How To: Create a customer-centric narrative

As mentioned before, a key aspect of the Timeline will be a brands ability to tell a story to its customers. An interactive layout crowned with a cover photo that serves as a title page of sorts will most certainly increase their entertainment value. Consider the popularity of infographics. We as consumers experience a stronger connection to visuals than to the written word. The addition of the cover photo and increased prominence of posted photos will mirror this trend. Not only will marketers be able to show more within the same amount of space, they will deepen the relationship they share with their customers. Brands that make the most of this new framework and support it through other current mediums will reap the rewards. As with any marketing campaign, new efforts must always be backed by reliable existing methods. Email has already proved to be an excellent medium for encouraging certain actions, specifically social. This is where targeted email campaigns come in. Implementation of these will encourage customers to visit their Facebook page (once business Timelines are adopted) by way of contests, deals, scavenger hunts etc. Such campaigns will drive traffic that can help boost visibility, increase sales, and encourage engagement.
 

 

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