Has the Timeline Improved Facebook for Brands?

The new Facebook logo rolling out with Timeline.


It has – dramatically – if you’re Facebook.

For brands, the switch to the Timeline format spells big changes – both good and bad.

First the good news.  Facebook is placing a premium on storytelling.  As my colleague Ben Rissman notes:

“This means that brands (more than ever) now need to be storytellers – not marketers – on Facebook, as the Timeline format turns the brand Page into a true storytelling canvas.”

Facebook has created a more robust platform to do just that.  The Timeline has depth and emphasizes multimedia – images, videos and applications. Information will be easier to find as the user interface is focused on a brand’s wall – rather than spread across different tabs and applications.

Stories will be larger – and they can be hidden and rated as well (and even pinned to the top of the page for up to a week).  Milestones can be highlighted – even those that happened decades ago.  Users will also see the content and interactions that their friends had with the brands displayed prominently.

Facebook wants to be the online social hub for brands – a place to hold contests and sweepstakes, share news and information and even sell products and services – and the Timeline moves them closer to that goal.

Now for the bad news.

The changes are going to mean brands will need to invest more in Facebook if they want to maximize and optimize the platform.  Timeline demands more content, especially interactive and visual content.  It will also need consistency – so dipping in and out of platform will penalize brands.

This, of course, means dedicating more resources to content creation and community management.

No longer will quick two sentence status updates and links be good drivers for interaction and fan acquisition.  In other words, brands will need more staff and larger budgets dedicated to the platform.

The changes also mean more advertising dollars for Facebook.  Wall posts and content only touch about 16 percent of a brand’s followers (an algorithm figures out which fans are served up the content and which are not.  It is based on lots of different factors, including the profiles and habits of the individual fans).

Brands can increase this penetration – up to 75 percent – using Facebook advertising. So brands will need to buy Facebook ads in order to maximize their reach and penetration to their fans.

Cynics can argue whether advertising was the main driver for the changes.  But regardless, storytelling in an intersected environment of paid, earned and owned is now Facebook.

As Weber Shandwick Digital Communications President Chris Perry explained in his Forbes blog Social*ID:

“The more something is buzzed, linked and shared the better chance views, ratings and value of the content will follow. Facebook is creating a more dynamic environment for social tune-in, sharing and interactions around content to happen – whether it comes from big media, brands or emerging players vying for our attention.”

True enough.

But it is very early yet.  Facebook only announced the changes last week and brands will have 30 days before they have to rollover to the Timeline format.

What are you thoughts on Timeline?  Like it?  Hate it?


Mashable’s Facebook Timeline for Brands

Ben Rissman’s post on Facebook Timeline on Social Studies blog

Chris Perry’s post on Facebook Timeline on Forbes


  1. Can Your Printing Company Improve with Facebook Timeline? - Printing Hub - March 5, 2012

    […] Has the Timeline Improved Facebook for Brands? [HighTalk] 0 Comments […]

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