The day has come. Facebook’s Timeline profile format is finally available for brand pages after rolling out to consumers in waves since Timeline was announced in September.
The new page layout shares many features with the consumer version, such as the vertically oriented content timeline and addition of a widescreen image atop the page, but also adds features not previously available to brands. The new features look to satisfy marketers’ concerns that content posted to Facebook has a short shelf life before it becomes lost in the chronological abyss.
Companies can star posts to expand their appearance to widescreen or pin posts to appear in the Timeline’s top-left area for seven days. The latter feature is not unlike what Twitter has done with its enhanced profile pages that brands can use to dock a specific tweet atop their feed, regardless of when it was first posted. Companies can also add to their pages what Facebook refers to as “milestones.” These widescreen content boxes featuring photos and text can detail specific points in a brand’s history.
Beth McCabe, vp and director of social marketing and technology at Digitas, said that "brands that post a lot of engaging content are really going to win here." The influx of content, however, could also pose a challenge for marketers, she said. Brands should remember that the new Timeline can show all of a Page’s historical activity—both positive and negative. So, McCabe cautioned, as brands build out their Timelines, they should make sure that they understand what’s going to be shown and hide historical content that might reflect badly on the brand.
“God knows nobody wants bad times being rehashed again,” she said. “There are absolutely some cases where brands have embarrassing moments or crises in community management.”
A new friend activity feature continues the strategy of promoting specific content but removes the onus on a brand. Visitors to a brand’s page will be able to see Facebook friends’ interactions with that page, such as when a friend links to a page in Facebook post.
The new pages also feature an admin panel for page managers to view notifications and page analytics, respond to messages and edit page content. The feature makes more insights visible to brands. Previously, visitors to a brand page could see how many people liked or were talking about the brand. Now brands can see more of the page’s demographic breakdown—including age ranges, the most popular week for the brands and the cities driving the most visitor traffic.
Facebook will automatically update pages to the new format on March 30, but companies can push the update today. Walmart, Dove, Red Bull and Lexus are among the brands that have reformatted their pages with the Timeline profile.