Facebook Timeline – The Good, the Bad & the Ugly for Businesses

Apr 6, 2012 by     No Comments    Posted under: Featured Articles, For Your Business, Social Media


After reading the title of this post, you’re asking yourself one of three questions:

1.      How will Timeline change how I use my branded page?
2.      Is that why my company’s page looks different now?
3.      What the heck is Timeline?

As of March 30, all Facebook pages have been automatically switched to the new Timeline layout. Although it has been getting mixed reviews since the changeover, it seems Timeline is here to stay. According to studies conducted by Simply Measured and Mashable, Timeline has been great for companies who have already made the transition. The new format’s advocates point to powerhouse brands like Coke, Toyota and Livestrong as champions of the emerging Timeline era.

But what about the thousands of small businesses on Facebook who suffer the disadvantage of not being Coke, Toyota or Livestrong? No more default landing pages and customizable tabs – Facebook is positioning Timeline as pure content and genuine interaction. We’ve provided you with a full breakdown from a small business perspective. More importantly, we will highlight how you can effectively use Facebook’s new layout to help your business.

The Good

  • Timeline has a very modern look, with the cover photo dominating the layout. This real estate is designed for brands to showcase their personality.
  • It is now easier for admins to reach a company’s page insights: your latest likes, who liked which posts, and basic demographic info.
  • Facebook now allows businesses to send private messages to individuals as well as other companies. This opens up the potential for direct B2B or B2C interactions through social media.
  • You can now chronicle your company’s entire history via the Timeline feature. This is great from a recruitment standpoint and to give your followers a deeper look into who you are as a brand.
  • Timeline encourages content generation, as older posts will drop further below the fold. This new format rewards consistent posters and user interaction.
  • The new “pinned post” feature lets you pin important content to the top of your wall. Rotate this content often, though – pinned posts only stay at the top for seven days. You can only pin one post at a time.

The Bad

  • Visualize or die. The new image-heavy layout is great if you post a lot of photos and videos, but regular status updates can get lost in the new format.
  • We’re still not sure what the dual-column format brings to the table, or why the convenient Timeline navigation is inconveniently located to the right of the wall content.
  • Without recent posts or pinned content, the left portion of your Timeline will now remain empty. This could lead to content overload as brands desperately try to stay above the fold.
  • What about the young startup company? You’re making your history now, so your Timeline is largely unwritten.
  • While brands can now send messages directly to users and company profiles, it’s unclear how Timeline helps businesses interact and network with other companies any more than the previous format.

The Ugly

  • Can Facebook be intentionally trying to boost their revenue by strategically placing ads where they’ll attract more attention? Makes sense. According to one eye-tracking study, users are more likely to notice ads with the new Timeline layout (although they’re still spending the same amount of time looking at them).
  • Facebook has not completely taken away the ability to create customized tabs, but because of their Timeline placement they are often overlooked (based on preliminary studies). This gives Facebook more control over what content is seen most often.

Key Takeaways How can my small business use Timeline effectively?

1.      Center content around engagement. Pay attention to how much you’re posting vs. how much your followers are responding. You need consistent, relevant content to get users interested and keep them coming back.

2.      Pin, pin pin! Keep your most relevant content pinned to the top of your wall, and change it out regularly. If you manage your Facebook page daily, you may want to save your featured posts for important events or promotions you’re running. If you update less often (2-3 times per week), pin the posts that are attracting the most attention: likes, shares, comments, etc.

3.      Showcase special projects. Renovating the office? Planning a company event? Keep your followers updated with pictures that show your progress. It creates a story they can come back to. Consistent content + images = Facebook gold.

4.      Build a timeline. Whether you’ve been in business for two years or 20, take the time to go back and mark important milestones in your company’s history. It allows you a creative, visual way to show your followers who you are today and how you got here.



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