So is this something you need to know about for your business?
For now - FB Timeline is limited to use with just personal profiles. There is no schedule set for brand pages making use of this feature.
Given Facebook's history with design changes, it's likely that Timeline is on the radar for business brand pages as well.
We are going to explore what the timeline means for marketers.
Timeline for Users
First off, the user profiles have been completely overhauled into a new look page with large cover pictures, certain aggregated information, featured actions,
Timeline is a chronology of a user's life on Facebook, with items automatically appearing based on an algorithm intended to capture a
user's most important life events.
A few things to keep in mind:
Some objects are grouped together, such as all things a user Liked in a given month.
The more engaging an action, the more prominently it will appear and remain in the Timeline.
Users can manually add, remove, feature or de-emphasize Timeline events.
Whilst historically, major profile changes have often been followed by similar brand page changes, there is no official word yet on
whether brand pages will also be redesigned.
Objects get grouped together at the end of the month, such as all the Likes you subscribe and the friends you add.
Open Graph and Custom Actions
Last year, Facebook rolled out Open Graph, allowing brands to connect to a user's Facebook social graph. This year, it rolled out significant
changes, allowing app developers to create custom actions using any verb and object related to the activity taking place on the app.
These so-called "lightweight" activities can be defined by the app creator and pushed throughout the Facebook experience.
Here are the highlights, and how the actions affect Timeline:
The Open Graph integrates with the News Feed, Ticker and Timeline, making the app a key part of users' and their friends' Facebook
As users engage, the custom action appears on Facebook News Feed, and remains on the user's Timeline; e.g., Jane cooked a recipe from
Best Recipes app.
Changes to the structure of permissions allow a user to give permission one time for an app to post about that user's activity on the
This is how you're seeing so many more postings about what your friends are listening to, for example, if they're using a social sharing music app like
Spotify. It even gets its own designated spot in the Timeline and displays a running list of what the user is listening to.
Changes to the structure of permissions allow a user to give permission once for an app to post about that user's activity on the app thereafter. This
is how you're seeing so many more postings about what your friends are doing.
What Should Marketers Do?
Understanding the context changes Facebook has made, marketers need to figure out what they mean for social media marketing.
There’s no question about it — social media is important if you’re a small business owner. Not only does an active social presence help cultivate
customer relationships and increase their loyalty to your brand, it’s a channel of communication your customers expect you to have. However, as
a small business owner, your time is already limited, and if you’re trying to your business’ social media presence by yourself, you run the risk
of wasting time you don’t have (and getting distracted by cat memes). As such, automation and apps can be helpful in discovering content, sharing
it, and responding to comments. Here are some options you might find helpful.
The following a selection of some currently available tools to assist you in your social content publishing. If you would like to understand what these
platforms can offer you then we would suggest you read their article The 9 Best Social Media Tools for Small Businesses
Salesforce Marketing Cloud
At the end of the day you need to understand that:
Likes are still very important. This is the way brands build their audiences, with whom they can communicate directly, and promotions
are the best way to encourage Likes. Sweepstakes and instant-win campaigns are best for generating Likes; while contests, trivia, group deals and
engaging pages are best for fostering engagement.
News Feed vs. Brand Pages. There had been recent talk of apps/tabs/pages decreasing in significance. Now deeper, more engaging actions
are the ones that will appear in Top Stories and Timelines and are therefore more persistent within the social graph. Now the "lightweight" actions
have been removed to the fast-updating Ticker. In this way, the more "important" stuff, like meaningful interactions with branded content, will
remain in the "Top Stories" and Timeline.
Open Graph Connections are easier than ever. Facebook plugins, which are readily available for all domains, are easier than ever to
use to increase your brand's earned media. Decide which plugin(s) work best for your domain and install them to all relevant company properties,
like your website and blog. Watch as visitors share the news of your brand for you on their own Timelines!
Having Facebook plugins well-integrated into your business domain increases the opportunity for brand advocates to spread the word about your brand, such
as how Alain's Timeline reflects his activity on the Wildfire home page and blog.
Facebook Timeline is the newest development in Facebook's quest to make over the Internet, integrating a social layer into every interaction and information
node available. With Timeline, users have an increased ability to broadcast their lives (including any activity with brands, businesses,
applications and services) to all of their friends.
These highly personalized interactions and the newly organized way of sharing them serve to lessen the friction among users and the connected
Internet world. Preparing your brand to take advantage of Timeline is every savvy marketer's first step in enhancing earned media potential.
Written by: Greg Tomkins