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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Business Review: Five Things You Should Know About The New Facebook Timeline

Hello dear readers!

I am so sorry for being away. I got busy with work and school stuff that I haven't had time to update my blog with good content. Anyway, I'm pretty sure a lot of you already heard that Facebook is obligatorily rolling out the Timeline format for all business pages. And I'm sure a lot of you (specially fan page administrators) have already Googled how to turn it on and what to tweak for your pages. 

I'm writing today just to give a different perspective on how you can maximize the new format for your business. Whether you're a big or small company, these tips can help you pump up your fan pages in order to meet your individual business objectives.

Branding 101 - What Makes The New Format Good For Brand Building

One of the notable changes in this new format is the adaptation of the "scrapbook" feel of the personal profiles. Facebook managed to maximized the use of the header by incorporating a 200px X 399px cover photo. What's good with this new feature is the ability of the page to showcase what their brand/company/product is all about. With this much space, you can be as creative as you can be and incorporate your main message to your cover page.

Another great thing is that cover photos are public, they are not hidden from anyone and it's 'above-the-fold' - meaning: that's the first thing you'll see without scrolling down. Main benefit is for smaller screen computers who can't display a bigger image of the webpage due to screen limitations, they can immediately see the cover photo and as what other people say - first impression lasts. So make it count!

Here's a good example of two competing products. As of right now while doing this blog (Let's document the time and day: March 10, 2012 - 7:38PM GMT+8), this is how these two pages looked like. One already migrated to the new format while the other is still using the old one. 

Which do you think would give immediate impact to the page visitor?

Pepsi using the old format
Coca-cola using the new format

Highlight or Pin?

Another feature you should be able to take advantage for business purposes is the ability to feature a certain post. You can do this two ways, it's either you Highlight it or Pin it in you fanpages wall. What's the difference?

Before the new look, the page's wall was just a one-columned wall and if you want to look for something posted a long time ago, you need to scroll down and click on "more" until Facebook can only show you the things it can pull from it's database. In the new format, wall posts are shown in two columns. The benefit of this new format is that more posts can be shown without scrolling down. Now, the purpose of Highlighting something is to cut through the clutter and make a certain post stand out from the rest.

How Facebook does it? By highlighting a post, it immediately consumes the space meant for two columned posts and dedicates an entire space for this highlighted post. 

The benefit is that when a visitor browses the page, the highlighted post will immediately be seen and not be associated with the rest of the post - therefore meeting the objective of getting the visitor's attention. Here's a good example of a before and after post taken from the non-profit fanpage I am managing - Bayer Young Environmental Envoy

Before the Highlight. Click on the Star to activate this feature. 

Post is now highlighted. It now consumes the entire width of the post making it stand out from the rest. 
As you can see, the highlighted post is now noticeable compared to the other posts stacked up above and below it. The only downside of this feature is that you can't move the highlighted post. If the post is at the bottom, it can't be moved up on the page so that it is immediately seen. If you have something you want to feature and it's located at the bottom - the only thing I can suggest is you pray that the target audience scrolls down at the bottom and see it. 

To bypass that limitation when using Highlights, there's another option that you can take advantage to feature a post. We call it "Pin". The difference is that you will be able to pin a certain post and it immediately assumes the upper left slot of the wall. Therefore it is immediately seen by your target market since they don't need to scroll down.

Here's how you execute it:



As you can see, the post went immediately to the upper left corner of the page's two-columned wall. If you are an admin, you'll see the bookmark icon indicating that the post is pinned.

The only downside of this feature (yes there is a downside to every upside LOL) is that you can only pin a post for 7 days. After that, the pin disappears and the post goes back to where it should be located. 

Tip: Make sure to combine the two - Highlight and Pin - in order to maximize the posts you want your fans to see. 

Timeline as a Tool for Corporate Communications and Public Relations 

There is another Timeline feature you should complete, it's the Milestones. This feature will enable you to showcase the Big Events happened to your company - whether it's showcasing a new product, or the time you entered the market, or the time you donated to help a certain cause or non-profit organization. This will help you inculcate the image you want your target audience to see when they think about your brand or company. 

Add a Milestone to feature a historical event of your company or product or brand!

CRM - Every Fanpage Owner's Dream Come True

I'm sure all fanpage owners experienced this - people posting customer service related complaints to their fanpage's wall. What's worst is that these people wait for an answer and uses this channel as a legit way of asking their inquiries instead of calling the company's call center. In the new format, Facebook enabled the private message feature of the fanpages. Therefore, fans can now send their inquiries privately to the fanpage administrators and it'll be stored in one central messaging center.

The good thing about this is that you will no longer fear of bypassing a complaint posted on your wall that has been buried by other people's posts.Ergo - avoiding any follow up complaints stating that you are not listening to your customers. 

Good feature right? But this is yet to be tested. Not everyone knows how to use this and it hasn't been broadcasted yet. So if I were you, think this through. Do you really want your fanpage to be used as another channel for CRM? If you ask me, i've always believed that we are now in the customer-driven era therefore listening to them is essential and this new feature will help you improve that skill. 

Well, there you have it. The five things you should know about when it comes to maximizing your fanpage's brand building capabilities. Whether you like it or not, this new look is going to be mandatory for all pages and will be forced to other pages who haven't converted yet by March 30, 2012. 

Okay, that's all for now. Feel free to post your comments and questions below.

-The Consumer Communications Strategist-

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing Interesting post. Thanks for taking this opportunity to discuss this, I appreciate with this and I like learning about this subject. If possible, as you gain information, please update this blog with more information. I have found it really useful.
    Neeti Biz
    Brand Building