How Facebook Timeline Can Help You Tell a Better Brand Story

In late April 2012, brand pages on Facebook were migrated to the new Timeline layout, making most social media plans for the year redundant. Authority social media websites like Mashable, Read Write Web, and many others ran a series of posts on making the best of the Timeline layout.

What benefit does Timeline have for brands then? For starters, it pulls the plug on landing tabs that brands used to increase the number of page likes and increases the value of visually appealing content through powerful cover images. Many brands have already created drool worthy Timeline profiles and are using them to increase customer engagement.

Here are three brands that’ve changed the way Facebook pages work with their well crafted branding strategies:

Coca-Cola

Coca Cola Facebook

There is no doubt that Coca-Cola is a globally recognized brand that doesn’t need to work too hard to build a strong, engaged community, but their social media efforts resonate with their target audience through the young, upbeat cover image.

Notice that the “About” section doesn’t say anything about the brand, rather it’s about the “you” or the user. It’s a way of thanking the community for making Coke an integral part of our lives.

The key takeaways here:

  • Use a powerful cover image – The cover image is among the most dominating features of Facebook Timeline. It’s also the first thing a user sees when they land on a page. Choose an image that reflects the USP of your brand. A high resolution image with clean graphics is the key to creating a statement with your cover image.
  • All about the user – One of the key mistakes brands and businesses make is creating an “About” page that is only about the brand. Understandably, this is because they want to provide information about the business, but are your users even interested in knowing about the business? Or, are they interested in knowing what you can do for them? When creating an about page, make it more about the user and less about you.

For more great cover images, check out Sharpie and Ben & Jerry’s on Facebook.

Livestrong

Livestrong Facebook

The Livestrong Facebook page is a wonderful example for uniting the community by following the organization’s core work – empowering people to fight against cancer. By including important tabs below the header, users can head on over to view events, blog, and also share their story with the rest of the community. This not only saves time, but also helps build user engagement.

Another great example of Livestrong’s use of Facebook Timeline is the post starring feature, as shown in the following screen shot:

Livestrong Facebook2

Starring a post makes it larger than standard posts, thus increasing their visibility. Starred posts are also likely to receive more attention and higher engagement than standard posts. The above post is a great example of how the community is helping a cancer patient fight the disease.

The key takeaways here:

  • List the important stuff where your fans can see it – By choosing what tabs to display, you make it easier for fans to find information they need. They don’t need to spend time in finding it on your page. For an e-commerce website, these tabs could include a link to the e-store, customer recommendations or reviews, the company blog, or even sale events.
  • Star important posts to increase visibility – Starred posts are nearly double the size of a standard post. Use this feature to increase engagement on a specific post.

Magnolia Bakery

Magnolia Bakery Facebook

If you can take your eyes away from the mouth watering display of cakes in their cover image, Magnolia Bakery’s use of Facebook Timeline should be an inspiration for local businesses!

First, the business information such as phone number is listed clearly in the “About” section, making it easier for users to contact the bakery, if needed. Second, notice how they’ve used Facebook apps such as the map feature, again making it convenient for users to get directions to the bakery without visiting an external application.

Another brilliant feature of Facebook Timeline is milestones. Brands can use it to highlight information such as foundation dates, important dates in the history of the brand, and so on, like Magnolia Bakery has done:

Magnolia Bakery Facebook2

Use this feature to interact with fans and personalize their experience on your brand’s page.

The key takeaways here:

  • Use apps that are relevant to your business – By including important information about your business below the cover image, you reduce customer effort and increase customer satisfaction rates. Think about why users are visiting your page and what they expect from the brand.
  • Use milestones to highlight important events – Important events in your business’s history may be available on your website, but Facebook makes it way cooler with the scroll feature, where users can see these by clicking on a particular year. Personalize your brand for your customers!

Post the mandatory Facebook Timeline rollout, these simple strategies should now become a core component of your social media marketing plan.

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