By now, you may have noticed many of your Facebook friends transitioning to their newer Timeline feature, which was more or less released last December. For the typical user, Timeline is a redesigned profile that acts as, well, a sort of timeline to allow users to highlight key moments in their lives and provide even more opportunities for customization. On January 24, the feature went completely public. It’s been a hit or miss sort of thing, but that’s nothing new for Facebook.
In the midst of all of this, there’s been talk about the social network releasing the Timeline feature for brands. Overall, the vibe on this announcement has been hesitant at best. One commenter on this post by AdAge states:
Timeline has the “cool” factor, but for many social media marketers, it doesn’t provide the same weight to posts. The design is such that the Facebook Wall isn’t as readily visible to viewers as it is with the current Fan Pages.
Facebook, at the very least, should not make this mandatory for a substantial amount of time to ensure that the brands are happy with the way their Fan Pages are utilized by users. Text and image content should be balanced.
The effectiveness of Facebook advertising has also been called into question by some. One side believes that very little interaction exists between users and brand pages and that “Facebook users will wear a brand Page like a pair of Chanel glasses or Dolce purse”, which does hold a grain of truth. The site’s features which allow you to “like” a page, but ignore all of their posts certainly doesn’t help brand outreach, and I’m guilty of it myself. During one of the more recent profile changes, Facebook made it so that when you typed in your favorites (favorite bands, TV shows, movies, etc), you automatically “liked” their page and began receiving updates. Before this change, I only “liked” pages that I wanted updates from. After this change, I began blocking updates from all of the auto-liked pages because of all the clutter it caused on my main page. Since then, it’s become almost second nature for me to ignore all brand updates.
On the other side, though, it might ultimately be up to the brand to make their Facebook profiles worth visiting and interacting with. More often than not, a brand will create a page, post a few updates here and there, and leave it at that. Of course, some brands are doing it right, but for many others, there’s no sense of actual interaction, which is one of the chief advantages of Facebook. Ultimately, it’s up to the brand to make the most of their marketing efforts.
Whether or not extending Timeline to brand pages will give brands the tools they need to be successful with their audience is something we’ll just have to wait to see.