March 12, 2012
Brands Use Facebook Timeline to Tell Their Story
If you have not heard, Facebook’s Timeline for brand pages has arrived. If you are managing a brand page, you can already setup a Timeline-based page, previewing and editing it as much as you want before pushing it out “live” for the rest of the world to see. (If you have not started to do this yet, you might want to soon, as Facebook will automatically convert all brand pages to Timeline-based pages on March 30.)
Some brands are complaining about this change (just look at the comments on any article writing about this change). However, others have already embraced the new format. One that has really stood out (to a “news junkie” like me) is the new Facebook page of NBC’s Meet The Press. It lets visitors visually browse a 60-year timeline of the major news events that have defined three generations of US history—letting them delve deeper into items of interest by viewing, sharing and commenting on videos and read stories.
What struck me most while perusing Meet The Press’s new page is that the Facebook Timeline is a great format to connect to others by telling an interactive story. It combines elements of Facebook, Blogs, Twitter and Tumblr. You can scan across time, dive down into areas that attract your interest, watch videos, read stories, share information with others—and exchange comments with a community of 800+ million members—all without leaving a single “infinite” page. This is very different exploring a traditional website, disruptively different.
So, what should you do over the next three weeks if you have not figured out how you want to convert your brand page to the new Timeline format? Use the Timeline to tell your brand’s story. This is fantastic is you are a non-profit: it lets you tell how you have achieved your mission so far—and what more there is to do. It is just as good for personalities: entertainers can share the evolution of their work—and the resulting accolades of their fans—over time. It is great for larger brands, letting you show how their products have been part of our lives for decades—take a look at Coca Cola’s page for a great example. It even works for small businesses and startups—we often hear from news organizations advice those who want to gain coverage, “Don’t give us a press release, tell us a story”—the Facebook Timeline lets startups and SMEs tell their stories.
It will be quite interesting to see what new brand pages emerge over the next few weeks and months as the Facebook Timeline rolls our worldwide. It will be even more interesting to look back in ten years and see how these pages have captured moving snapshots of our society with Likes and comments: just imagine what it would have been like to explore a Rolling Stones Timeline page from the 1960s to today.
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