The new Facebook Timeline feature for businesses signals a sea change in the way businesses will present themselves on Facebook.
Now, more than ever, customers will see a better, brighter format, have more opportunities to directly engage with the sponsoring business via Facebook, and see more information presented in a fuller, more user-friendly format.
Perhaps the best new feature is what Facebook is labeling the cover photo, which is a wide, banner photo at the top of the page. The thinking here is it is the first thing you see when arriving on the page, and, similar to a cover on a book or magazine, sets the tone for the rest of the space.
This provides opportunities for some attention-grabbing graphics via photographs or artwork. Facebook is keeping a myriad of restrictions for the cover photo, not allowing price or purchase information such as references to discounts, contact information in that space, or references to the ubiquitous “Like” and “Share” interface elements. Also banned are calls to action such as “Get it now” or ‘Tell your friends.” The idea is for the cover photo to be catchy, not cluttered.
Some other restrictions include how your customers will reach you; contact information is only allowed in the “About” section of the page. Depending on your type of page, either an electronic link is available or a telephone number – but, not both.
Facebook has a lengthy list of other restrictions and “suggestions” as to how the pages work. But, the bottom line is the new Facebook Timeline feature offers many new opportunities for savvy users who wish to display large amounts of coordinated and pre-planned information on a page and seek interaction with the millions of Facebook current and future users.
The most important aspect of using the new Facebook Timeline is going to be the page management. Once the page content is determined and designed – no slight tasks – page maintenance and continuous updating will be necessary to keep it relevant and useful. This new feature can quickly render a page stale if not updated with some foresight.
Facebook Timelines move the Facebook concept into a new era of power for Facebook to define the online marketplace. Those taking full advantage of Facebook Timelines, with appropriate target marketing discretion will experience more interaction with their customers and potential customers and will have greater opportunity to measure usefulness of information as it’s presented.