This post has also been featured on the Dachis Group Collaboratory and Stuzo Insights.
“If the original Facebook was the first five minutes [of a conversation] and the stream was the next 15, what I want to show you today is the rest –- the next few hours of a deep engaging conversation.” – Mark Zuckerberg, f8 2011
On September 22, 2011 we were presented with some groundbreaking platform updates and partnerships, which would shape the way we engage in social channels as end users, technical solution providers and marketers. Notably, a major release at the time was Timeline for Facebook users.
Working in the area of brand marketing, I find this quote from that release rings just as true with the announcement of the the brand Timeline and new products at fMC (Facebook Marketing Conference) in New York on February 29th.
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, opened the event by sharing some moments in which connections through the Facebook Platform have had a dramatic impact on government, family and institutions.
Chris Cox, VP of Product, echoed Mark’s original sentiments in his keynote today – this time expanding from the f8 presentations, discussing how the Facebook evolution more directly relates to brands and marketers.
Mike Hoefflinger, Director of Global Business Marketing at Facebook, delivered a compelling keynote, which gave a deeper overview of the platform changes and clearly marking Facebook’s positioning going forward from today. His delivery addressed the major announcement that Timeline is now available for brands and is “the richest, most customized marketing canvas we’ve ever built.” The point he clearly presented is that more and more Pages are going to become “mission control” for businesses to engage with consumers across all areas of the platform. We also received an overview of the new advertiser solutions to help brands achieve scale across the platform being offered from Facebook which we will provide an overview of later in this post.
Brand Pages Product and Timeline Updates
Below are some of the updates being released as part of the new brand pages product. This includes an entire page redesign and functionality updates, giving brands Timelines.
- Friend Activity is now surfaced on a brand’s Timeline. If someone likes or comments, stories of how your friends engage with the brand are surfaced. A more relevant and personal experiences can be delivered for each user of the page by being able to see how their friends are engaging.
- A new views and apps section helps users navigate to other parts of your page. “Tabs” which were formerly on the left hand side of the page have been replaced with the ability to select “views” across the top of the page. The photo application always shows as the first app option, and the page owner can control which other 3 immediately show to users in the same row with a custom designed icon. In total, through an expanded list option, up to 12 views can be surfaced to the users.
- The composer now provides the ability for brands to “pin” a story. These pin anchors posts at the top of the page by default for 7 days, unless refreshed. Marketers are still encouraged post frequently through their content strategy, while having one main story featured throughout the course of the content calendar.
- Page posts can be “starred.” Starring makes a post go full width across the Timeline to prominently feature the story. Posts can also be “hidden” from the public view, but still visible in the admins Activity Log.
- Milestones are now an option in the composer. Page owners can add an event, with a mandatory photo to feature relevant or key moments in the brands history. These have a larger story format and help highlight defining moments.
- Page owners can now change dates on posts to populate and manage timeline.
Brands can now assign a Cover Photo to show at the top of their Timeline. This large creative canvas area, set at 851×315 pixels provides an opportunity to create an immediate visual impact. It’s important to note that there are policies for brands related to how to use the platform and the Cover Photo, which includes limitations on using this creative area for promotional messaging and certain calls to action. The profile picture still exists, and is the consistent representation that is used when the brand icon is shown throughout the platform.
There are also a handful of updates when it comes to administering a page as an owner. These include the “Activity Log,” which can be used to manage Timeline and posts to control Timeline content. Also announced is a new “messaging” option for users to connect directly, and privately, with page owners to create a one-on-one dialogue. User Insights management and notifications options are also enhanced in the administration area.
As a page owner, you can preview and push your Timeline live at anytime. Note that your page will automatically roll over to Timeline, if not performed manually, on March 30, 2012.
New Advertising Products
“This is where marketing on Facebook is going to feel like the rest of Facebook.” – Mike Hoefflinger, Facebook’s Director of Global Business Marketing