While Facebook Timeline for Pages has been more roundly accepted than Timeline for profiles, I still hear an awful lot of bickering and complaining. So this is my plea…
Stop. Stop now.
No, Timeline isn’t perfect. It’s even buggy (see issues with editing app icons and entering Milestones). But all you need to do is look at the old version to realize: Oh yeah. This is way better.
Here are the six reasons why you need to stop whining before you embarrass yourself. Facebook Timeline is better for brands than the old format. Far better.
1) Landing Pages Were Stupid
The biggest complaint I’ve heard about the move to Timeline for Pages is the removal of default landing pages. Now, instead of being hit with a fangated, predictable call to action about why you should like a page, you’re directed to
You know why landing pages were necessary before? Because your page was boring. Maybe you weren’t boring. But you didn’t want people to land on your wall. You wanted to give them something interesting in order to inspire an action.
You know why landing pages aren’t necessary anymore? Because if you do it right, your Timeline will be interesting. You should be able to sell the reason your brand is likable in a much more natural way. See this Timeline? I’m awesome. Like me.
You no longer need to point around with arrows, reminding the forgetful where the Like button is. The work you do on your Timeline will speak for itself.
2) No One Visited Your Page Before
This is almost a 1B. Another reason Landing Pages were dumb is that no one went to your page anyway. A full 2% (if you’re lucky) of your fans were actually visiting your page. And if that many of your fans were visiting, how many non-fans do you think cared enough to check you out (without being sent there with an ad)?
Once again: The old Facebook Page was incredibly boring. We had a need for landing pages and other silliness to divert people away from the fact that there was very little to see on the Page itself.
The entire goal of Timeline is to make your Page a destination. Facebook wants your fans to visit your Page. I’m guessing that you do, too.
Stats won’t mean anything for at least another month after the novelty wears off, but my guess is that traffic to brand pages will double — if not triple — as a result of Timeline. At least for brands who use it successfully.
In other words, begrudgingly moving to Timeline because you have no choice doesn’t count. You need to own it. If you do, there will be reason to come to your Page. There will be reason to click around. And you’ll get new subscribers and customers as a result.
3) Apps Are Vastly Improved
So, if fewer than 2% of your fans were visiting your Page before, how many actually viewed one of your ugly tabs on the left hand side?
You know the answer to that. And please, don’t give me stats about how X number of people visited your default landing page because you drove people there with ads or gave non-fans no choice. That is not proof of engagement.
Now we’re given far more real estate with 810 wide of pixel goodness. Having 520 pixels was incredibly limiting. Now it’s much more web-site-like.
Of course, it’s not just the increased size of the apps (yes, bigger is better here). There is also the matter of the 111×74 customizable icons versus boring links that collected dust on the left-hand side.
Do it right, and you will rock. Create engaging apps that people want. Make sure they accomplish the goals of your page and brand. Dress them up with a consistent design.
And if people truly do visit your Timeline more often, you know what? I’m guessing those additional people will also be much more likely to click on those big ol’ icons to subscribe to your newsletter, enter a contest or watch your videos. And that is a very good thing.
4) More Visual is Better
So now there’s an 851×315 pixel cover photo (plus a profile photo) versus a simple profile photo tucked away on the side. The big app icons that we mentioned. Much more real estate for photos. And the ability to stretch Milestones and important (Highlighted) posts across two columns.
Fewer words and more pictures.
You know who has succeeded with that formula? A little company you may have heard of by the name of Pinterest. It works.
If your Page is more visual — if you leverage beautiful photography and graphics that engage and tell interesting stories — you will benefit much more from Timeline than you ever did with the old format.
5) Stories vs. Now
The old format was boring, right? You know why? An evaluation of how interesting a Page was came down to what was visible. And that was typically a day or a few days worth of posts on the Wall. That was it. People rarely clicked “View More.”
Now? Now you’re telling your brand’s story. You do it with pictures and apps and Milestones and Highlights and Pinned Posts. When a prospective fan comes to your page, they can now quickly learn the history of your brand as opposed to seeing what you did today.
My guess is that most brands, if given the option, would prefer to tell their history — their story about who they are — as opposed to letting potential customers make up their own minds based on a day’s worth of activity.
It’s all about Stories instead of Now. Stories and histories and photos are interesting. What you did today may or may not be.
6) Additional Intimacy
Before, you wrote a status update or shared a link or photo or video or Question and fans provided their public feedback. Or maybe fans wrote on your Wall (which you may or may not have made visible to others). That was the extent of your relationship.
But now fans will have the option to message you directly — privately — assuming, of course, that you enable this feature.
And my goodness… please enable this feature. Do you know what kinds of customers want to message you privately? Loyal ones. Customers who want a deeper relationship. Those with problems you can solve.
And don’t tell me about how enabling this feature is going to cost you X number of dollars and hours. If you could, would you eliminate email and phone customer service because it takes too much time and money? Of course not. This is yet another way to build a relationship.
And since Facebook is all about friendships, this is the first time that we’re putting brands on the level of friends in this type of conversation. It can lead to very, very good things.
Sure, Facebook Timeline for Pages isn’t perfect. In fact, I’ve even written about the five things I hate about it.
But if you don’t see how Timeline can be very, very good for your brand — and vastly better for you than the old format — then you need to start looking beyond that one foot square box that you live in.
Facebook Timeline for Pages is awesome. And if you do it right, Facebook Timeline will help your brand be even more awesome.
What do you think? Am I crazy? Is Timeline going to be great for brands?