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.
That last tweet references a report from Virtue:
There's a new study from Simply Measured indicating that brands get more engagement per post with the Timeline.
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).
Edelman put together a great infographic breaking down the timeline. Pay special attention to the tips at the bottom:
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.