Facebook’s launch of the Timeline for brand pages allows brands to showcase their unique stories and identities. Along with the added design of a “cover photo”, which helps display logos, products and personalities, the Timeline features the history of a company and their specific milestones. Milestones and posts that are “starred” by a company appear twice as wide as other posts, calling extra attention to important stories. The new landing page also shows how many of your friends like the brand, as well as your friends’ public mentions of related topics. For local businesses, a map appears in the row of apps below the cover photo as well. A new messaging feature allows users to send direct or private messages to your Page. This creates a new customer service channel where you can address users’ concerns without having to discuss issues publicly on your Page’s wall / Timeline.
The true value of the Timeline can be seen on Livestrong’s brand page. The page features personal milestones and history dating back to 1996, like photos of Lance Armstrong bed-ridden with cancer and his first win of the Tour de France title- “three years after being given a 40% chance to live”. This rich, emotional history that took place long before Facebook existed is now available for fans to interact with and get a sense of the community and culture that embodies Livestrong.
However, Facebook brand pages still have a downside that affect user engagement and return on investment. With the explosion of Pinterest as a hot new online community, we can see the benefit of being able to choose what content to follow based on interest. On Pinterest, a user can subscribe to a brand by selecting a specific board they are interested in, as opposed to following everything the brand posts. The issue with brand pages on Facebook is that there’s no way for fans to funnel what content they see. The brand pages lack user customization, meaning the brand is in control, rather than the fan.
If a brand’s audience doesn’t find value in their messages, it can hinder the company’s ROI, despite a large fan base. If Facebook brand pages could find a way to customize their messaging to niche target audiences, they could derive a lot more value through social media.