Since Facebook’s f8 conference in September, it was inevitable that brand pages (like Lynn University’s official Facebook page) would soon adopt the new “Timeline” features. However, what we didn’t know was when Facebook would make the switch. Last Tuesday, in conjunction with fmc, Facebook’s first-ever official conference for marketers, it was announced that all pages would be forced to adopt Timeline by March 30.
As I mentioned in my previous post, Where’s the new Facebook, Lynn is really excited about the new features! With our 50th anniversary right around the corner and hosting the third and final presidential debate on Oct. 22, it will be a great way to highlight milestones and to point out the most important things happening on campus.
However, after doing a little research and finally having the opportunity to play around with the new look, I have some major concerns about it – from the perspective of a page administrator.
- Views - How people view posts on your Facebook page will dramatically change with Timeline. Although I like the more visual aspects that include bigger photos and highlighted multimedia, I was shocked to see that users no longer have the ability to view “Posts by Page” and “Post by Others” at the same time in chronological order – it’s one or the other. No longer will the user be able to see what Lynn is posting and what other people are posting on Lynn’s wall – otherwise known as Timeline. In my opinion, I feel like users won’t be getting the “full Lynn story.” In addition, Facebook has added two new “views” that include “Highlights” and “Friend Activity.” By default, users will be directed to “Highlights.” The highlights, chosen by the page admin, may be exciting and visual, but an everyday and authentic view of “what’s happening on campus” is really what we want to portray through our pages. We already have a website, Lynn.edu, to point out milestones and other basic information. Perhaps the newest – and most concerning – view is “Friend Activity.” What does this mean? Well, if any of your personal friends are “talking” about Lynn, not posting on Lynn’s page but merely on their personal profiles, your friend’s comments will feed into Lynn’s Timeline. The page admins will never see the same page as the user does, and often the admins will never see those posts because no two users have the same list of friends. I have always boasted using social media as a tool to monitor comments. In my opinion, it’s better to have your friends talk about you to your face (and give you the opportunity to respond), than for them to talk about you behind your back with no real knowledge of what may – or may not be – the truth. Well, with the new Timeline, it seems that people can talk about us behind our backs and share their feelings with their friends - unbegntost to us.
- Metrics – As every marketer using Facebook knows, numbers are key to a successful page. For the past year, we’ve prepared a monthly report to the cabinet indicating our social media successes and/or failures. The new way people will be viewing Lynn’s page, and the fact that people won’t be able to see the full story, will basically make the previous Facebook metrics versus the Timeline metrics incomparable. They will be too different. Thanks Facebook. We appreciate that. In the positive note, Facebook now offers “real time” metrics, which is a new and improved feature.
- Tabs – In the past, Facebook has played up tabs as a vital part of your page’s success. Facebook encouraged you to build welcome pages. They encouraged to to build personal apps. But now, with Timeline in place, “tabs” are taking a back seat. Renamed “top messages,” you will now have to choose your top 3 messages to appear without having to click to see more. Photos by default will be the first message box – and then you can decide what comes next, whether it’s a link to YouTube, blogs or another app specially coded for Facebook. In addition, there is no longer a way to automatically direct your users to “Welcome” or “Like” Page. For now, Timeline is the only place users have to go. Although Lynn toyed with the idea of creating and coding several welcome pages, I’m glad we didn’t ever have the opportunity to do it. Lynn’s “tabs” went from A to B with the new Timeline feature.
- Messages – A new feature Timeline pages that I have nothing but positive things to say about it is the ability to now directly message fans as Lynn University – and to have fans directly message us. This is a great for prospective students – and others – who are interested in learning more about Lynn.
Although it seems that I’m bashing Timeline (and in a way I am because I think Facebook still has a lot of work to do to make the format better for businesses), I really am excited about it! It is a social – and very visual – way for Lynn to tell our story. However, Lynn’s story is only half complete without the “posts by others,” so keep posting on our page, commenting on our photos and sharing our stories!
By now I know you’re wondering why we haven’t made the switch yet. To put it on record, I’m just as excited and anxious for the new look as you are. However, Lynn has a total of 14 official pages – that means we are on a serious deadline to create 28 new graphics (thumbnails and cover images). So, they will definitely be up before the 30th of March, but hopefully sooner. We just want to make sure everything is perfect before we jump the gun. Stay tuned.
Want to read more about Timeline for brands? Check out Mashable’s blog post re: 6 changes marketers should understand. Also, definitely check out other brand pages like Coca-Cola and Starbucks to see how they are using Timeline. That’s also a good place to see your friend activity in action. It’s pretty wild if you ask me.
For now, what do you think about the new Timeline for pages? Do you think it will make it easier – or more difficult – to interact with other’s on Lynn’s page?