Saskamodie Jones | @saskamodie The new Facebook Timeline format for business pages changes more than just the look of your company's Facebook page. Along with visual update, Facebook rolled out several functional changes as well, all of which change the way your fans, customers, and connections interact with your brand on Facebook. Here are 5 ways the timeline will affect your relationship with your fans and what it means for you.
1. The new Facebook timeline makes fan interaction a bit more tedious now. Fan posts are now lumped into one area that must be expanded to see how your fans are interacting with you. Since the posts are less prominent, it's important to remember to check them so you don't miss any important messages or feedback from potential customers. Brands can, however, star/pin/highlight certain posts to bring attention to engaging or visually appealing content from fans and keep that content relevant for a few days.
2. One of the biggest feature changes is the removal of a default landing tab. The option was one of the primary ways to control the first (branded) impression a user encountered. This will drastically change user impressions when they first visit a brand’s timeline Page. The idea now is to make good use of the cover image: the Facebook timeline is a visually driven platform, giving a particular emphasis to sharing and re-sharing pictures and videos.
3. Unlike fan/customer posts, video and pictures will be displayed quite prominently within your timeline. This provides a unique opportunity for businesses to interface with their audience in a new way. For example, the new timeline will allow businesses to go back in time to add business milestones on their timeline, giving visitors a visual roadmap of where their company has been and where it might be headed.
4. Although pictures and videos will receive more emphasis within the new Facebook timeline, cover images will NOT allow: calls to action, sales terms, contact data, banner ads, or promotional or commercial material on the cover photo. Facebook has been generous by giving business such a large piece of real estate, however, the company does not want to give adspace away for free. Those come at a price and are called Facebook ads!
5. Fans/Customers will now be able to message your brand directly, so get ready to interact with them. This allows for much deeper consumer interaction, and will also enable page administrators to take extended customer inquiries off the timeline and into a private message. ??This newest feature could be a double edged sword, though. Responding to direct messages gives businesses the interpersonal relationship building blocks that make up the foundation of social media itself. On the other hand, now that everyone is able to reach you, administrators will need to prioritize which messages get responses and which go on the back burner. This is due in part to the fact that Facebook does not have an auto responder feature...yet.
Brands that consistently create engaging updates and share important milestones will stay at the forefront of users’ attention. Create and rotate new apps for engagement, post relevant and timely content, and update the feed with user-friendly dialogues to stay relevant in this new space. ??Facebook is really pushing to make brand integration a community based experience.