What began as a trickle of rumors that Facebook would release a version of its Timeline feature for Pages is now a virtual flood. In fact, many Facebook watchers are predicting an announcement by the social network on February 29 at its first-ever conference for marketers.
With the certainty of Timeline for Pages being, well, ever more certain, you might be wondering if this will be a good thing. From my perspective, you bet.
This is a dream update for brand managers. Finally, we have the ability to create a much more integrated and cohesive portrait of our brands in the Facebook environment. Thus, giving our customers an even more connected experience.
How will Timeline allow us to create this connected experience? First and foremost, the feature’s visual design allows for a more distinctive and impactful brand presentation. Take a look at the difference. Here’s Nike’s current page:
Here’s a mock-up of what Nike’s Timeline page could look like as imagined by SimplyZesty.
A significant difference. In fact, SimplyZestly has mocked up several brand Pages and talks about the marketing potential of each in a great blog on what Brand Pages will look like with Timeline. Further, if you’re wondering if the new Timeline design has an impact on Page visitors, check out this interesting study on how eyes look at the the new Timeline design differently from the current design.
Timeline will also give you the opportunity to tell a much more compelling brand story both visually and in narrative by building a record of memory and experience with your brand that can go back to its very beginning. And, as always, you’ll have the ability to invite others to share their memories and experiences of that time or that event, and all those reflections will be connected to that specific time.
Here’s an example of what that can look like in this post by Coca-Cola about how Coke brought two people together back in 1951:
I didn’t make this up BTW. Facebook guru Mari Smith mentioned in her blog that it appears that Coca-Cola has had access to a beta version of Timeline and has been testing. This post was seen on Coke’s wall by one eagle-eyed fan before it was quickly deleted.
Another attractive feature of Timeline is the ability to record milestone events in a much more prominent and very visual way. For example, here’s how a university might record a win at the Rose Bowl differently with the new Timeline milestone feature. Let’s take the University of Oregon’s 2012 Rose Bowl win. On the current version of Pages, this milestone event is recorded no differently than any other post on the Ducks wall as seen below and it will soon disappear into the obscurity of “older posts” that are difficult to find.
With Timeline milestones, the first advantage is that the post itself can be much more prominent. Here’s a mock-up of how this post could look based on what Profile Timeline Life Event posts look like:
Secondly, milestone posts are also documented in a “History by Year” box in the “About” section of the Timeline. This makes it easy to create a visual record of important events that have occurred at your institution. Finally, Timeline makes it far easier to delve into past posts of any kind by including a feature that allows you to jump back in time to a specific year.
Other expected features include turning tabs and apps on your current Page into boxes on the Timeline. There is also some speculation that Facebook will put more onus on brands to develop their own apps. While this might sound daunting, a potential positive of this is that Facebook will allow you to create your own custom verb for these apps, rather than have to use the ubiquitous “Like.” This presents all sorts of possibilities to create ownership around a verb you already use, or create one that can take on life of its own, not only on Facebook, but off of Facebook as well…much as “Like” has done.
So get ready to build your Timeline. Prepare yourself by checking out this helpful blog by SimplyZesty on things to begin considering in preparation for the conversion to Timeline, including imagery, Page admins, editorial process, and more. It’s definitely worth a read.
Facebook is expected to give it to a handful of brand partners to start and then give all Page owners access. Timing could be as soon as April or May for all Pages. Maybe sooner!
It’s a good thing.