Before you say it, I know that Facebook pages do not have the new timeline this article is written as reference for when timeline will be rolled out for all pages. There is however been talk of February 29th as the date for Facebook pages getting timeline which is an interesting date to pick as it only happens every four years but we will see!
Facebook Timeline is going to revolutionise how businesses present themselves on Facebook and how they interact and communicate with their fans. The new timeline instead of just being a straight list of updates, links and images is much more of a narration of your businesses’ story, this is where timeline will come into play as a channel for telling your brands story.
You might think well why would I want to tell my brands story? Surely I just want to use my Facebook page to post simple updates and to direct them to certain pages or products on my website? This is true but I think if you take this attitude then you are not using Facebook to it’s best potential. Facebook is a fantastic way to extend the reach of your brand and to create a community for like minded people to identify and integrate themselves with your brand.
How is the new timeline feature going to help this? Via the new narrative interface of timeline it does most of the work for you enabling you to communicate your brand and your efforts via an easy to digest narration. The human memory is story based, information is indexed, stored and retrieved in the form of stories (Schank, 1999 cited in Woodside, 2010). If you have told your brands story then you are presenting this information in a way that is most easily going to be remembered and stored in your target markets mind.
McKee (2003) advocated that the best way to persuade someone is by telling a compelling story, which you can now easily do with timeline. It enables you to mark your businesses achievements and events past and future clearly on your timeline and it simply communicates your businesses news, offers and activity.
As McKee said your brands story on Facebook (which has to be compelling, so plan before you post) is one of your best strategies to arouse interest, emotion and energy and where do we want to channel this energy? Into making a purchase of course or whatever call to action you are promoting on your page.
Once you have caught the attention and engaged the emotions of your customers you would hope that they would think “yes I do identify with this brand/want to subscribe/buy from them” so much so that they want to be involved and have some sort of participation. This stage is you ultimately want your Facebook page to reach because now you have created a community, a brand community.
A brand community is a group of customers who are loyal to your brand either it’s products or what it represents/market it caters for etc… Your Facebook page gives them the space needed to construct and congregate their community where they can then identify themselves and integrate by interacting with your business. This could be by either commenting, posting links, pictures and by conversing with other members. This will be one of your businesses most cost effective and efficient ways to recruit new and retain existing customers.
Not only this but by encouraging activity and interaction on your Facebook page you are going to drive increasing amounts of traffic to your website. All of this just through communicating your brand personality, image and position as a story which the new Facebook Timeline kindly helps you to do.
Personally I think at this preliminary stage that timeline when it is introduced for business pages will be a great move for businesses on Facebook. I think it will present what your business and brand is all about in a simple and easy to digest way that customers will be more likely to recall and interact with.