Facebook Brand Timeline Deadline Approaches: Are You Being Rushed?

    March 29, 2012
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

Brands have had a month to prepare their Facebook Timelines, but on Friday, their Facebook Pages will be switched to the new Timeline format whether they like it or not. You will no longer have a choice, so I hope you weren’t too fond of your Facebook Page. The good news is that there is a lot to like about the new format, but it’s still created some issues for some businesses, and the deadline means if you haven’t prepared for it, you may have a less-than-favorable Facebook presence representing your brand for Facebook’s over 800 million users. For that matter, you don’t have to have a Facebook account to view a public Facebook timeline, so it’s really, potentially, representing you to even more people.

A lot of users didn’t like the timeline format for their personal profiles, so it stands to reason there will be plenty of complaints from brands as well – especially those who are unprepared. Is your Timeline ready? Have you felt rushed? Do you even like it better than the Page format? Let us know in the comments.

There is a lot for brands to like about the new Timelines (we’ll get to that later), but it’s not all unicorns and rainbows. DreamGrow lists some pros and cons of the brand timelines. Among the cons mentioned are the inability to have a custom landing page and the visibility of certain data. “At present, only your page admins can see your recent likes, visitor reach and people ‘talking about’ your brand,” the post notes. “This data is now readily available for your followers to view. Brands that are experiencing a bout of negative PR or backlash from fans could find this new feature rather unwelcomed.”

Mercury News has an interesting story about a brand who changed to the timeline and upset a bunch of fans (mainly elderly people), who became “so angry and vocal,” that they had to be banned. So there is the possibility that fans who aren’t savvy about Facebook’s dealings may be unjustly upset with brands. The report’s author, Mike Swift, writes:

It’s unclear whether older users are less happy about the switch to Timeline than younger Facebook members, but some sites that serve older users are bracing themselves for the upcoming change.

“If we had a choice, we wouldn’t switch over to the Facebook Timeline format — yet — because our community is not a big fan of ‘big’ changes,” said Kim Hong, social media and community manger for San Mateo-based Winster, a website that features social games and is heavily used by baby boomers and seniors.

Swift says one brand ran a poll about whether its fans liked the changes, and a whopping 98% said they either didn’t like them or didn’t understand them. If it’s an issue for one brand, it could be an issue for others.

Brands have ups and downs throughout their lives just like people, so brands need to review what is actually on these timelines very carefully. That’s where the approaching deadline is of incredible significance. Some brands have been around longer than others, and a month may not be enough time to get everything in place that they want on the timeline. The timeline will let you go as far back as 1000 A.D. If your brand is old, and you have a rich history, this is probably going to be an ongoing project – just the filling in of the past – let alone keeping it fresh with new stuff.

FBs “deadline” for brand timelines & my running out of milk have both caused me considerable stress as of late #humblefirstworldfail 9 hours ago via Twitter for iPhone ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

#Facebook Timeline deadline for #brands is tomorrow. Is this what is keeping brand owners/users awake at night? 5 hours ago via web ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

#march30 looming facebook timeline deadline certainly was felt today! is your brand ready? http://t.co/C3uFldC0 1 day ago via web ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

Roughy 1/4 of brand pages have switched to #Timeline ahead of the deadline. They have roughly 3/4 of all page fans. http://t.co/DYNOGvME 3 days ago via HootSuite ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto

That last tweet references a report from Virtue:

Brand Timeline adoption

There’s a new study from Simply Measured indicating that brands get more engagement per post with the Timeline.

Timeline Brand Impact

The firm says that based on its sample of early adopters, brands saw a 14% increase in fan engagement, a 46% increase in content engagement and a 65% increase in interactive content engagement (videos/photos). Interestingly, status engagement appears to go down, but if you’re trying to promote content on your site, you want the link engagement rising (as it is, in the study).

Engagement by post-type

Edelman put together a great infographic breaking down the timeline. Pay special attention to the tips at the bottom:

Brand Timeline infogrpahic

Additionally, Reach Further put together a nice slide show about getting your new timeline ready:

Do you think the brand timeline will make the Facebook experience better for your brand? For your fans? Do you feel like you’ve been rushed into switching? Share any and all of your thoughts in the comments.

By the way, feel free to like the WebProNews timeline.

  • http://www.customwagons.com Jay

    Frist Google, now Facebook… I love how companies feel they know what is best for my business and my customers. If it were not for all of the little business people, Google and Facebook would not exist. We have been in business for 48 years selling wagon wheels and horse drawn wagons, you think that we just might know a little about customer service and how to keep customers?

  • http://www.santabarbarahomesforsale.us Gail A. Heimbach

    No! I do NOT like the new Facebook “Timeline”! I should not be forced to use it.

  • http://huh Michael Banker

    Greatest idea Facebook ever had. It will open communication considerably and make them millions.
    (BTW whats with the wordpress error messages on your site?)

  • https://www.facebook.com/questions/347161928669569/ Anne DiGeorge

    I feel very strongly about this issue and am running a poll question on my FB page. So far, the results are interesting. Here’s the link:
    I invite the public to answer the poll. TYVM

    • http://www.webpronews.com/author/chris-crum Chris Crum

      I wonder if anyone’s running one of the new Google Consumer Surveys.

      • https://www.facebook.com/questions/347161928669569/ Anne DiGeorge

        Here’s the link:
        I invite the public to answer the poll. TYVM

  • http://www.americasknitting.com Mary

    I don’t know if my users will like it, but I do like a few things. I like the pinning aspect of a notice that will stay in good sight for a while. I also like all the admin stuff on the top. It saves time in not having to go look it up. I haven’t gotten any feedback yet. They still get the stream the same way, and will just notice it when they actually go to your page. It’s ok I guess.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/author/chris-crum Chris Crum

      Agreed about the admin stuff at the top. Definitely an improvement.

  • chase

    What exacyly is Facebook again…? Is it a business networking site? or a social networking site that businesses have over run and is now saturated with spam like Youtube?

    If so – when did spam become such a likable thing in any form? or is it everyone hates to get it – hates to see it – trys to filter it out on their emials client – their browser –
    – but slams every site with it till the site becomes an advert board that no one wants to go to anymore?

    Besides – who uses Facebook anymore? Other than the spam market. Facebook is so antiquated… it’s like… for old people.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/author/chris-crum Chris Crum

      Sounds like the old people are the ones that don’t like the timelines, based on the MercuryNews report.

  • http://www.writemeamurder.co.uk Em

    I don’t mind the Timeline in general but the drawback it has for businesses is the way it puts all the recent comments by anyone other than the owner/moderator into a box on the right, and only shows the last 5. I would prefer it if it worked like a simple timeline and literally chronologically showed all activity on the page regardless of who it was by.

  • Faceb

    Just like Google, Facebook makes changes without asking people if they would like it or not, I closed my Facebook profile.

  • http://www.ctpbuch.com Linda

    The new format is horrendous, and yes I have NOT changed over for my private page because it’s just horrible, so our FB pages for work will not be any better.

  • http://www.ukgreetingcards.co.uk uk greeting cards

    I think they should realy let people choose if they want the timeline I really do not like it Facebook thinks its progress I do not agree. Stop mucking it up its ok as it was.

  • http://www.alda-architects.com Alan

    Timeline is a visual mess, it will reduce clarity. Really bad idea.

    • Edgar

      I agree.

  • http://facebook Diane Talley

    Cant stand the timeline, It bulky and cant find 1/2 the stuff. Friends pages when playing a game posting and finding their post can be a real pain. you cant click on it if you cant find it also almost constantly locking up and wont show half the page. It down right awful.Really thinking about leaving facebook its just not worth the hassle

  • http://www.growingherbsforbeginners.com Rhonda

    I’m one of the old people and am not a big fan of the timeline myself. The ping-ponging effect on my eyeballs and cerebral cortex caused by trying to look at two columns simultaneously results in a loss of balance and consequently me falling out of my chair :-) All kidding aside, I already know a lot of our fans are not fans of the timeline and some have said they’ll leave FB all together. Too bad, we’ll miss them.

  • http://www.wqcdesign.com Lev Abramovich

    I actually hate new look
    I had Welcome page design to look like my site
    I setup to open FB page directly to Welcome Page
    Now it is look like CROP I really do not care much about time line.
    They should have option to got new way or preserve original look. I know it is not as simple as it seems but that is what I would have if I had a choice


  • http://www.dirtworks.net John meshna

    Timeline is just another piece of crap crated by the amateur programmers with too much money and time on their hands at FaceBook. It’s confusing to navigate and seems to have no organizing principle about it at all.

  • http://www.mabuzi.com Kevin

    We know whats best for you…we are going to change the product without consultation. We can because we know you cannot contact us.

    Why has it become acceptable for service providers of such size, they feel they dont need customer service. Help forums are then staffed by bloggers trying to help the multitude of users who have issues. Maybe just on the ocassion an employee pops into to see if the forum has revolted.

    We have yet to get any significant ROI from Facebook. The social platform is trying to be everything to everybody and I dont now believe the hype of their advertising claims. Are we been duped into “because every body else has one I should” marketing?

    Forget the time line, I wnat to know how the furniture brand, when it re-launched its page to the time line gained 5000 likes overnight???

  • http://www.ansky.ca Andrew Simpson

    not good for business, i hate time line if i were u close account on fb al togethier

  • Rickey Morris

    I’m just shutting down my personal, and company pages in Facebook. It’s become more of a dictatorship, than a benifit, or asset, and no-one that I’ve talked to likes it, or really understands it. I’m switching to Google instead, and dumping Facebook. I’ve talked to 4 other similar Car Sites that are doing the same as I am. I’m placing a forwarding message on Facebook until they object, and remove it…

  • http://www.hiskingdomprophecy.com/ Angus MacKillop

    Long ago I took off all personal information and only use it to notify new posts. I do not trust FB operators.
    The new Timeline is not nice and I object to the mandatory changes FB continue to make over things which do not affect them in any way whatsoever.

  • Teresa

    I think it’s great! I really like it a lot !!!

  • jesse ramsey

    I donot like time line at all!!!!! i do not want it and will prob delete my page once it changes!!!

  • http://rqjavines.wordpress.com Regel Javines

    In whatever perspectives, either legal or in moral, Facebook and other social networking sites still have prerogative on how they would like to serve their folks better, especially when it is FREE. Users must always set standards for themselves with respect to change. Technology is dynamic so are approaches and services. Where the hell they go (Users) when they don’t like the Timeline? Anyway, Facebook has its statistics for this tough decision. Then, who knows best when it comes to service?

  • Val

    I changed to Timeline awhile ago & so far so good. I just tend to go with the flow. So,no problems from me.

  • http://newuganda.com mac

    Facebook Timeline sucks truly they would have left the current design up am closing my account

  • Fernando Gomes

    I guess I will be quitting Facebook due to this change. It should be optional. Bye!

  • http://btmphotography.blogspot.com Ben Mancino

    I think that the timeline format is ridiculous. It is one thing to have an option to have it, but to force it on everyone? That is absurd. What makes or breaks the success of a company all comes down to customer service. As of now, customers are not happy. They may not be paying for Facebook but that doesn’t mean their voices should go unheard. I plan on dropping Facebook as soon as the switch hits. The site is only as popular as the users make it; once enough users leave the site, it’s going to turn into a ghost town just like Myspace. Honestly at this point I have been wanting to deactivate my account for a while because of the invasion of privacy. It’s a shame, but on the plus side, there is always Google+ to look forward to.

  • http://www.futuremarketingmasters.com Steve Clarke

    Timeline sucks.
    Thats it in a nutshell, have a look at all the anti-Timeline Facebook pages that have sprung up, pick the two or three most credible ones you can find, and “Like” them.
    Thats the only way Facebook will get the message that they have screwed up big time, and would be wise to offer the option to stay in their original format.
    Remember Coca Cola releasing ‘new recipe’ and having to reintroduce ‘Coke Classic’ to stop Pepsi killing their sales? There is precedent for this. Are you listening Facebook?
    Perhaps you should be.

  • http://wordpressproservices.com g.brown

    Facebook is a real pain in the butt. They continually change things (not necessarily for the best) then we have to figure out what happened and how to work around it.

    We need a new FB contender!

  • http://www.google.com alyce j. blevins

    I am willing to try to learn new ways of doing different things.

  • Ross

    I flat out do not like the new timeline. I wish there was competitor because I would surly switch over to them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/TimelineIsBS Master Jam

    Hate it!

  • Mary Wallace

    Hate the new times. It’s a visual mess. Too cluttered. Prefer the old linear format. Much easier to navigate.

  • Britterzbee

    When is timeline actually supposed to become compulsory? I still have the old format for my personal Facebook. Yes, I could always just switch over now since it’s supposed to be doing it anyway, but I’d just rather leave it how it is for now. I don’t mind too much that it will change I’m just wondering when it’s supposed to change.

  • jeanette jeffers

    I truly despise this so called tine line,Not a good move. How does it help face book. I am thinking about closing my account. any thing is better than this.