With Facebook timeline, brands finally have a way to bring their business to social media rather than just adding social media to their businesses, opening the door to real and meaningful interactions with consumers.
The key things that make this possible are:
- A new format that incorporates design thinking;
- The ability for brands to customize their pages to fit their message; and most importantly,
- The ability for brands to make their pages personalized and relevant to consumers.
It is no secret that visualization is now the driving force behind social media. This is evidenced by the meteoric rise of Pinterest, Instagram and other outlets that let people express their lives, their passions, and their pursuits, in a highly visual and creative way.
Timeline capitalizes on this trend by allowing the brand to display stunning images “at the doorstep” to draw consumers in, and then ply them with more content and visuals as they peruse the page.
The old, thumbnail size pictures, underscored with lines of text are gone, and posts with photos are now actually showcase the photo and allow consumers to consume and interact in a much more intuitive and visual way.
The timeline page reflects and showcases the brand, helping to drive differentiation.
Since some brands have switched over to the Facebook timeline and some have not, you can see the perfect example of the difference by checking out the Facebook pages of Coca-Cola versus Diet Coke.
The Coca-Cola page has great branded imagery at top and easy to see info about the brand and what it is doing on Facebook. It also has easy to understand “like” info, and links to what the brand thinks is important to consumers.
This level of customization, while it may not seem like much, is critical for the brand to be able to express its personality and point of view. This expression is what will drive consumer loyalty for one brand or another, and allows the brand to carve out its own special niche within the consumers’ lives.
Meanwhile, on the Diet Coke page, the entire image is focused on getting the like and showcases very little about the brand.
You have to scroll down to see likes and other things that demonstrate brand credibility (and presented in non-consumer friendly way – i.e. 1,680,242 likes versus 1.7 million likes and consumers are forced to leave Facebook to get any additional info, leaving the experience feeling forced and empty.
Diet Coke wasn’t able to customize the page to fit their brand, so they opted to have all relevant content outside of Facebook. This destroys the entire point of having a Facebook page because the brand loses the rich customer context that marketers dream about.
Connect With Consumers And Their Friends
Facebook timeline allows you to see brand posts side-by-side with posts from your friends about the brand, without the clutter of pages of posts from strangers and people outside your circle of influence.
The new Facebook timeline helps bring the brand to life in a way that the old Facebook format could never do.
With a glance, consumers can see what the brand is talking about and how that relates to how their friends are talking about the brand as well, making the message and story being communicated instantly more accessible and relevant
There are comments from the brand, comments from friends about the brand, a timeline to let consumers tap into the history of the brand, and even a way for the brand to communicate directly with each consumer, building advocacy through transparency and trust in a way that wasn’t possible before.
What needs to be kept in mind is that the new Facebook timeline, as well as other social mediums like Pinterest, Twitter, and even old-fashioned blogs, is only as important as your brand’s actual interactions with customers.
While new technology is letting brands tap even deeper into the consumer’s lives, giving a rare opportunity to turn everyday consumers in to brand advocates, how your brand ultimately delivers value to the consumer through your products and services will always ultimately be how your brand is judged.
Guest writer Raj Gupta is engagement manager at Vivaldi Partners Group.