If there’s one moment that Facebook users are dreading and anticipating at the same time, it’s the inevitable shift to Facebook Timeline. Like all past changes, Facebook’s March 30th transition to Timeline pages for all users presents yet another step in the evolution of social media. Love it or hate it, Timeline will not only revolutionize social media, but it will shift how individuals, businesses, and sports teams tell their story.
So what is your story? This is the question that Timeline allows brands to answer. The new format creates a user experience like never before that not only tells a particular Facebooker’s life story, but allows users to see all past activities and interests in a much more visual fashion. Here’s an in-depth look at some of the new features that Timeline has to offer.
You can’t just simply set up a Facebook page with Timeline, you have to express yourself in a fun, creative, and engaging way. The cover photo, an 851 x 315 pixel image, is the first thing that visitors see when they arrive on Timeline, which unfortunately makes landing tabs obsolete. Much like the first paragraph of a news article, the cover photo must draw the visitor in to find out more. More often than regular individuals, brands will be tested with their ability to make their cover photo both an expression of what they do as well as a captivating image to lure the viewer further into their Timeline.
Promotions and other apps will now become even more important for engaging audiences on Facebook. Users are now able to customize the images for their apps and will be able to use the larger custom app icon to bring attention to the four applications, which can be reordered, posted below the cover photo.
For those specific brands running Votigo-powered apps, promotions and tabs will transition to the enlarged page layout. Promotions will be complemented by a much wider (810 pixels) page layout, allowing for a cleaner, more optimized look.
Timeline’s functional capabilities help users not only tell their story, but highlight and star their favorite parts. Users can pin their most important posts for up to a week at the top of their page. They also have the option to delete or hide their least favorite parts of their story. Likewise, users can set milestones to bookmark their favorite parts of their story. These milestones usually represent a significant moment in time, which users can assign an image (843 x 403 pixels) to. The Timeline feature also emphasizes friend activity by highlighting how many of someone’s friends like a page and what they’re saying about it.
Facebook has learned from its mistakes in past transitions, and this time they’ve done a better job of giving users plenty of options to learn more about Timeline with the ‘Help’ menu. Users can easily change the name for their page if they want to. The ‘Build Audience’ menu makes it easier for users to market their Timeline to friends and it even allows users to make their own advertisements. A very useful new development that comes with the Timeline switch is that information on other people’s pages is much easier to access. When users click on the ‘Likes’ box of a certain Timeline, a graph that outlines people that are talking about the trend, and the page’s most popular week.
Whether you like it or not, if your page has not yet become a Timeline, it will on Friday. This change represents a shift in the advertiser-consumer dynamic as Facebook becomes “a big, fat, storytelling canvas,” says Mike Hoefflinger, Facebook Director of Global Business Marketing. The new Timeline view has created a storyteller in everyone from businesses to the average Joe on the street. This also means that businesses are now pressured to engage their audience by drawing them to their new Timeline page and creating long term relationships with their customers.
As for advertisers, the Timeline page presents a new challenge as Facebook shifts from just a social network to a network of storytellers. So for those Facebook junkies ready to jump to the next level of self-branding, brace yourselves for a user experience that truly revolves around your story. As for those who are reluctant to switch from their regular page, sorry, but this can only be the beginning of the Facebook Timeline evolution…