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Over the last few weeks Facebook has been rolling out their timeline functionality onto brand pages and they are now available for all (though not all have chosen to move over yet). We've been watching with interest to see how these changes will affect the way you interact with your fans and how you attract new fans. Let's look at those changes together.No More 'Fan-Gating'The new brand pages have done away with the default landing tab for non-fans. Now everyone is directed to the main timeline view. This makes it a lot more difficult to convert non-fans to fans. The trick here will be to use posts and other channels to drive non-fans to fan-gate tabs or create a compelling Timeline that doesn’t need a fan-gate.Users Can Send Direct Messages To Brand PagesThis is a double-edged sword. Some customer communication is certainly more suited to the privacy of Direct Messages rather than wall posts and this addition will certainly help that. However, while a wall post can get lost in the crowd the public will EXPECT a response back from a Direct Message. This isn’t a problem as long as you are prepared to be reply to these messages in a timely fashion. If you can use this effectively it could be an excellent customer service tool for your business. We’d suggest that if you aren’t ready for it then take advantage of the “Off Button” for this feature for now.Cover PhotoThis is an excellent space that allows you to get really smart with branding your Facebook page. Some brand pages have thrown themselves into this already. Here are a few examples to get your juices flowing.
The New York Times Staff - They also utilize the timeline function brilliantly to highlight news throughout their history.
People Magazine did a great job of creating a cover photo thats fits their brand and is perfect for the space that Facebook provides.
I used this mainly because I love SportsCenter but also enjoyed the shot of their studio from behind the camera.
Using The Timeline
Another great opportunity to tell the story of your brand using Facebook is the new Timeline. Some companies like Coca-Cola and even Facebook themselves have gone back in time and filled in their Timelines back to when they were founded. Efforts like this should keep fans on your page longer and more engaged. If you have 5 minutes, I urge you to take a look at those 2 examples: Coca-Cola &Facebook.A negative here is that the two-column format of the Timeline seems to get in the way of natural conversation between fans and the brand. The wall certainly had the upper hand here.
This allows you to keep a post at the top of your Timeline for up to 7 days. Rather than be frustrated by the time limit on this function, try and use it to your advantage – Fan of the week, Employee of the week, Special offer of the week. The possibilities are endless!Although the Facebook Timeline for brands has been available for a few weeks now very few brands have activated it and even fewer are using it to its full potential.Remember that on March 30th everyone will be moved over to Timeline. We urge you to spend time moving over to the new format and taking advantage of it as soon as possible. If you don’t have the time then get in touch with the Screen Pilot team and we’ll see what we can do for you!