Facebook Timeline Has Made Brands More Social

By Justin Lafferty 

Facebook celebrated an anniversary Monday, but you didn’t see this kind of life event appear on the top-right corner of your page. Six months ago, the site rolled out timeline for businesses. As Roger Katz, CEO of social media solutions company Friend2Friend, explained to AllFacebook, timeline has been a game-changer for brands. Now companies have to foster engagement in order to compete and keep their customers happy, but where will brands go in the future?

When Facebook introduced timeline for brands, Katz said it forced businesses to change the way they interact with customers and potential customers. Before, companies had Facebook pages, but they didn’t really foster much engagement, or allow brands to really express who they were. Thanks to the advances of timeline, brands have the ability to customize their page (to a degree) and create an inviting experience. Similar to how stores want their entrances to look clean, organized, and eye-catching, brands should have a similar aim for their Facebook pages. Essentially, timeline motivated brands to get more creative with their online marketing tactics.

Katz — whose company has helped brands such as Universal Studios, New Belgium Brewing, DreamWorks Pictures, and Volkswagen — notes that the days of simply sending users to a static website are dead:

One of the most important shifts is getting away from the default landing page. I think that’s really a message that says you’re not going to funnel users into a page that’s not living. You’re going to bring them onto your home base on Facebook. That was a really big shift. I think what it did, certainly for players like Friend2Friend and others, is say, “This isn’t going to be served up in an easy fashion.” You just can’t drop all users to come to a page into your application or your landing page — you’re going to bring them on to the page, and they’re going to see if this a community that (they) want to be a part of, based on posts that the brand makes and the interaction on the page.

The big challenge for brands on Facebook, as well as the social network itself, is translating their services into mobile. Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has claimed that smartphones (and monetizing the usage of them) has been the site’s biggest hurdle. It’s a tough task for brands, too, as more and more people access Facebook via mobile. Katz said that many times, a company’s Facebook page doesn’t look well or is too clunky on phones’ browsers. Companies will have to find some way to shore this up to continue the wave of social commerce.

Additionally, as people flock to social media sites such as Pinterest and Instagram, brands have to figure out a way to bring buzz that those sites generate about their products and find some way to move it to Facebook and motivate people to buy the product:

This environment today on Facebook is very well-tuned around brand awareness and engagement to create brand awareness, but as this area continues to evolve and as users are more and more comfortable making purchases in the Facebook environment … there will be more of a move to take this interaction and make it more about social commerce.

Readers: If you manage a page on Facebook, how did timeline change the way you operate?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.