Thursday, March 1, 2012

Facebook Timeline For Biz Pages Means More Changes

Just when you thought you had a good handle on how to leverage your Facebook Business Page for your business or client, they change the rules.

And this time, not only has the game changed but the whole board has been turned upside down. Just about everything related to a Business Page is altered in some way. Some folks have said they "love" the new Timelines, while others are still too busy trying to figure out how to fit their existing page into the new format to express an opinion.

The biggest change I see is the elimination of "Landing Pages" and the requirement that your main picture cannot contain any promotional text. These two things are what differentiated business pages from profiles. Specifically, a business page is meant to promote a business. With Timeline, Facebook has essentially reduced the way businesses can use these pages for promotional purposes.

The Timeline feature of the way posts stream is also not conducive to businesses. There is an option to pin a couple posts at the top of the page, as if Facebook designers understood they were limiting the usefulness of Business Pages and wanted to offer their users a cookie as appeasement.

In case you didn't know, the push for Timelines was meant as a way to emphasize the visual features of Facebook. This is great for businesses which have a means of developing visuals. If your business does not lend itself to this type of interaction however, you're out of luck.

There is also a problem if your business is relatively young. If you have a history which stretches back years or decades, you can add as many post-dated photos and videos as you like to demonstrate your history. Again, this great for a user like Harley-Davidson which has 100 years worth of photos to choose from, and bad news for the company you just started last year.

Regardless of what I think of Timeline, it is here to stay and Facebook converts think it's the best thing since sliced bread. I believe Timelines for Biz Pages opens the door for a competitor to swoop in and create something which works better for all businesses, not just those with lots of visuals and a lengthy history.

It remains to be seen if anyone will do that, but as we have seen with social media in the past, every day brings something new and different. And sometimes, even better.

(By the way, in yet another shameless plug for my book I would like to point to this as a good example of why the social media tools you use today really don't matter when it comes to marketing and management. What matters are the basic principles; the understanding you have of how to interact with social media in general. Check out my "The ABC's of Social Media Management" to learn more, and be ready to roll with the changes that always coming.

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