How can Facebook Timeline Impact Brands?

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How The New Facebook Timeline Can Affect Your Brand Page

Another Facebook update and this one can send brands into a tizzy. You have a whole lot of re-learning to do. The guidelines get updated as we speak. Some content was last updated on February 29 2012, and some other on March 6 2012.

We have tried to simplify it here. Read on.

The Welcome Page No More

When a new interested and potential fan lands on a brand page it is currently a Welcome page with a ‘Like Us’ call for action. Once the user hits `Likes’, he is auto-directed to the next landing page, or the wall as per a brand’s preference.


The new Facebook Timeline brand page does not have a Welcome landing page option. This might become a single largest deterrent to how many new fans you are able to generate. Of course only time and new creative means will actually determine the nature and extent of impact. BC Web Wise has just shifted our own Brand Page to Facebook Timelines.

The New Brand Page

By default, whether or not a visitor has liked your page, they can view your brand’s wall content when they land on it. So not just the header but all the content they can view below it becomes important now.

"facebooktimelinebrandpage"

bcwebwise brand page on facebook timeline

The Welcome Tab

The welcome page is a small tab below the main header and can be missed. Further when opened, it no longer opens in the same Facebook layout grid that it used to. So you will now have to reposition how you have the ‘Like Us’ call for action positioned there. But disappointingly for the visitor once they have liked your welcome page there is no transition that happens, so they will wonder why they reached there. You may want to consider doing away with the Welcome page now, or using it more innovatively with much more content that! Check the way Coca Cola has used it

Coke Welcome Page on Facebook

Customized Welcome Tab renamed as Home by Coca Cola

Cover Photo – Key Branding Area

The Welcome page is now replaced with a static header on your brand page. You can put a Cover Photo here. This is the area that can be used as creatively as one can. The key objective should be how you can use it to get visitors to like you and follow you without saying as much, because Facebook Guidelines have strictly specified you cannot have such messaging on the cover photo.

Contests & Applications

So now that we do not have a Welcome page, you may want to use the new header area to do this promotion. The Facebook guidelines (as updated on 6, March, 2012) do not specifically comment on whether you can do this or not. So we can safely assume that a static message talking about an application or contest can be done so long as all the other Facebook guidelines are adhered to.

However, the area that needs to now be most creatively used is where the tabs appear. The 135 x 95 pixel jpg file will now become very critical. It is here that you can generate a fan following as the user has to ‘Allow’ your application to access their profile to use the application.

bcwebwise brand page tabs

bcwebwise brand page tabs

The Status Updates

The earlier vertical update of latest status messages had its own advantages of being simple to view and follow. The new page layout, now allows for better graphic display, it does look much better visually therefore it encourages multi-media in the form of videos or photographs. So get ready to use your image and video bank.

More Features

There are more features that are still to be tested thoroughly. There is an option to ‘Highlight’ certain status updates or wall posts, so they are larger in size than the others.  There is an option to ‘Pin’ certain posts so they will stay on top of the page.

There is also an interesting feature from a user perspective. When they visit your brand page, they can see the significant activities or post around your brand made by someone from their friends list. This is good for brands with existing followings that are large. But those that have fans that are fewer in number the number of such interactions may be very less or non-existent.

To Sum It Up

The key thing we do not like about the new Facebook Timelines for brands is that it does not allow you to prompt fans to like you, and second that it does not have a rich-media option for the cover photo.  But as change is a constant Facebook should be addressing some of these concerns that will benefit its users and advertisers.

The brand pages on Facebook are going to change on March 31, and that is very little time to try and test everything on a new page particularly with guidelines that are getting updated as you read. So get set go!

The BIG Fight – Facebook vs. Your Own Website: What Did She Choose?

It has been two years and the struggle has been on, and this morning we met up with our client and she opened the meeting with ‘I agree with you guys, we need to focus on our website.’

As our hearts sang hallelujah she added the icing to the cake, ‘And yes we need to re-focus on our Search rankings.’

Whew!

In the 24 months that preceded the social media rage had got our nerves racking. Headlines that said ‘Do you need a website when you have Facebook’, had got completely sold out to this client. And as much as we saw the perils of this, we failed at convincing her.

So how did we finally make the pitch? We focused on some facts:

  • People are on Facebook to Socialize, they get to know the updates of friends, family, acquaintances.
  • They ‘like’ brands that give them good content and these may be brands they probably already like offline too.
  • They engage with the brand too, by sharing, posting comments and it is true that your brand’s facebook page helps tremendously in conveying brand benefits, building brand recall and even loyalty.
  • What’s more is that when friends and peers are liking and sharing content and info from your brand they become great influencers.

But equally and more so:

  • People use the Google search bar when trying to seek any information or entertainment.
  • This search leads them to various links where they can get more information.
  • When making a choice people are likely to check 2-3 of these links:
    • Your company or brand website
    • A compare website – which may be a forum or blog that talks about others too in your category
    • Probably your facebook page too to see how the conversations are around your brand and what is the tonality like.
    • Your potential customer then visits your website expecting to get much more information than they did anywhere else. Your entire range, contact information, product related info, for instance. They want to see what other value adds you have for them. A club membership? Special offers? Store locators? Feedback form?
    • These users know that Facebook is like a large department store in which you have your exclusive counter, but they expect that you will have your own corporate hub too.
    • Failure to have your own website, or presentation of a poorly update one can actually result in them wondering if you are so big after all. Your credibility, worthiness, after sales, all can come to question.

Critical Add Ons: Information Sharing & Information Capture

Before posting this blog we shared it with our team heads and they point out other significant and strategic issues that should help you make your choice. Our IT-Head, Sanil Pradhan, points out: “Visitor detail capturing which is possible on a website by creating forms is not allowed on Facebook.” Indeed, let us add that at east 50 per cent of our business leads come from the form created on the bcwebwise.com website. We are still to get a single lead via our social media presence. Adds Varun Joshua, our creative director: “Facebook is structured/ designed to enhance conversation between people with limited options to communicate a brand message through visuals, experience, interaction – which a website does. It’s restrictive in that sense.”

Moral of the story:

  • YES to Facebook – it is a reach and branding medium, you need it the audience is there.
  • MUST to Website – It is a marketing and branding medium, a domain that your audience is going to visit when they are most likely to make a brand choice.

Most Imp: How did we convey the above to our client?

Not over one meeting (though we must confess we tried). We looked up blogs of top influencers in this space, people who really knew how digital works and who write well (like Pam Moore, Jeff Bullas) and shared some of their postings — so thank you to them

While we did this, we also prayed to the almighty forces to please help the client see the light. So yes, to tell you the truth, we don’t know if it was these posts, or someone from the top up who also thought like us that did the influencing, or it was our prayers. But something did give in.

So to all clients and peers

If you are a client sitting on the fence we hope that this post helps you make your decision. And if you are another agency like us, hope this helps you convert your client.

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