Facebook users are no strangers to things moving around their profiles and Like pages, but the transition to Timeline seems to be a total shift in methodology and philosophy rather than its usual nip and tuck. In the past, Facebook Pages have been a hodgepodge of applications and content. The new Facebook Timeline brings some method to the madness by creating an easy-to-search Timeline to see the engaging content and discussions brands share with stakeholders over the course of their lifetimes. What has changed? In conjunction to the obvious layout differences, Timeline includes a few new features that can help brands showcase content more effectively and report findings more thoroughly.
1. Highlights.Timeline introduces the ability to highlight certain updates on the Timeline that the Wall originally did not allow. One can do so by simply clicking the star icon in the upper right hand corner of the post to make it populate the full width of the Timeline as opposed to the default half of the Timeline.
The new Highlight feature makes the Facebook Timeline slightly more dynamic as administrators are able to visually highlight content that they want visitors to engage with. All in all, a fairly valuable tool for content-heavy Facebook brands i.e., healthcare organizations, that have various “levels” of content.
2. Milestones. Milestones were a necessary addition to a Timeline platform as Facebook seems to be going “all in” with this new layout. At first glance the Milestone feature of Timeline can seem fairly promotional, however, milestones could make social brands more accountable for their goals, as well as instill a mutual sense of accomplishment between a brand and its stakeholders.
Milestones can be added to the Timeline via “Milestones” on the status update bar located at the top of the Timeline.
3. Pin to top. While Highlight and Milestones were “nice” features, Pin to Top is probably the most powerful new engagement feature as it allows administrators to “Pin” any one story to the top of the Timeline. Not a curious move as Pinterest seems to be gaining momentum as a social network. This feature is something that has been coveted on social networks since the creation of the Poll. Twitter missed the mark with Promoted Tweets in 2011, LinkedIn scratched the surface with Manager’s Choice for LinkedIn Groups, but Facebook, to date, has nailed it by adding the first notable “showcasing” feature on a major social network.
Sure, this will undoubtedly be an under-appreciated tool for some brands that only showcase their promotional messages using the feature, but it could also bring a refreshing and powerful relevance to the Facebook Poll or Discussion that used to get pushed down the Wall. You know the one that you posted three days ago and will never see again.
To pin a Facebook post to the top of a Timeline, select the “Edit” button next to the Highlight star icon, and select Pin to Top from the dropdown menu. The post is then denoted as a Pin to Top post with the Orange Ribbon shown above.
4. In-real-time & on demand Insights. Insights have been a Facebook feature that’s improved substantially over the last few months. Like many other social media reporting tools such as HootSuite, the ability to aggregate data around social networking activities is becoming paramount to brands’ social media strategies. Now, Facebook administrators can search data on demand with customized Date Ranges and an easy-to-navigate Insights Dashboard. For those using savvier reporting tactics, the Export data feature could be valuable if Facebook data is a big driver of web activity.
5. Content search. For all intents and purposes, the content is no different than it was before the move to Timeline. However, Timeline seems to be an improvement in searching for content over a Facebook brand’s entire lifetime. The Timeline navigation to the right of the Facebook page allows users to go back and search content that they found valuable by year and month. Therefore users can now get a deeper understanding of a brand’s history, the community it provides, and the resources it offers from a more intuitive search tool.
- No Ads on Brand Pages; Brand Pages are ad-free, for now.
- More development real estate; option to develop at width of 810 pixels.
- Fangate disabled; no more “Like” landing page.
Ultimately, this transition to Timeline is a positive move for Facebook as it is trying to reinforce the concept of social proof. In the past, brands did nothing more than prove that they could get Likes on their pages. Now with Facebook Timeline, brands are being held accountable for keeping stakeholders engaged and staying relevant. This is not to say that Facebook is changing the way that brands interact on the platform. Rather, it has merely set up a system that rewards brands that engage well and with accountability. Some might say, if brands are receptive to these changes, that Facebook is doing them the favor of un-conditioning overly promotional and inorganic social activity.
Some might call that meaningful use of Facebook.