February 29 positioned brands for a leap of a whole new variety – to Facebook Timeline.
The change was a voluntary and long-awaited one, having come late on the heels of Timeline’s debut for individual users last year. But unlike individuals, who had ample time to make the Timeline upgrade, brands are on a tighter schedule:
Like it or not, all brand pages must migrate to the new Facebook Timeline by March 30.
While early adopters like Coca Cola, Wendy’s, and even President Obama have already switched, the time crunch may be a squeeze for small to mid-sized companies whose lack of time or staff put them in a pinch, or so says @JayBaer.
Challenges aside, I think that Timeline offers a whole new spectrum of opportunities for brands – big and small. But I’m a sucker for storytelling, which is exactly what this new model is designed to do.
Rather than making Facebook a conduit for over-promotion (which it specifically forbids on cover photos), Timeline has created a time capsule of content that tells the brand’s story. That story, if crafted carefully, can inspire truly sincere connections with followers.
Brands have already begun cataloguing their life stories into ‘milestones’ – like, say The New York Times and the US Military – which can go back as far as 1800. The cover photo has further unleashed a rush of creativity, with these brands taking the cake.
But the new design is more than a cover photo and milestones. Other highlights include:
- No landing page. Timeline did away with the need for a central landing page, a feature previously used to encourage likes or other calls-to-action. With that gone, the first thing page visitors will now see is the Timeline itself.
- Pinned posts. Facebook must have anticipated that scrapping the landing page might concern brands, so they designed another way to showcase important content. Brands can ‘pin’ status updates, event details, photos and more to keep them constantly visible for page viewers.
- Private messages. Brands and consumers can now exchange private messages, taking the conversation to a private space where customer service or other issues can be resolved out of the public eye of the brand’s Facebook wall.
The clock’s a ticking and March 30 will be here before you know it. Regardless of size or sector, the change is mandatory. Are you ready? Need help getting started? Try these resources: