The New Facebook Timeline: Good News or Bad News for Marketers?
Facebook’s new Timeline for pages raising hackles (again) and the big question here is whether it helps or hurts marketers.
From our perspective, the new Timeline is a great chance for brands to tell their story by marking milestones – anniversaries, new product launches, new hires – all of which invite fans to get to know who and what drives the brand. It’s visually more appealing to people because of the larger photos, particularly the cover which gives brands a huge piece of real estate with which to grab users with a compelling image.
The thing is, you have to get people to your page to see all of this content which is an existing issue from the old Facebook pages. We “Like” many pages, but unless something of interest appears in our news feed, we aren’t compelled to visit these pages. From a brand perspective, it seems the new format will require more time investment to “keep it fresh”; but if people aren’t looking at your page none of that matters. Which = Low ROI.
One potential solution is “Facebook Premium.” This gives brands many placement options for ads, including in Fans’ news feeds as well as Friends of Fans’ feeds. Reaction to Facebook Premium seems mixed, but many think this is great for marketers. After all, isn’t the goal of every marketer to seamlessly integrate your brand story with consumer’s everyday lives?
There is, of course, a risk attached to “forcing” users to view ads. Like with email marketing, users will quickly opt-out if they don’t find your content compelling. And then you’re essentially banned from ever reaching them through that channel in the future. Which means that now more than ever, brands need to make ads and updates engaging and story-oriented to avoid being “Unliked” forever.
As with ads, the key to building a successful, engaging Facebook Timeline is the same as what makes a great blog or website – good content. “Content is King” on the Facebook Timeline as with every other channel these days. Captivating photos, engaging videos and interactive elements are more important than ever before to motivate current fans and capture new ones. As we were recently reminded, “what’s old is new,” in terms of what makes great marketing – and skillful storytelling, great writing, and solid audience research will help marketers weather this and all (inevitable) future changes Facebook throws our way.