Facebook Timeline has arrived for brand Pages. As expected, it’s a radical departure from what brands are used to on the network. The update incorporates a plethora of new features for Page administrators to take advantage of. But there will be a learning curve, and plenty of trial-and-error along the way.
So the question is: Will Timeline help or hurt brands?
Mashable recently sought out an expert to learn more. Ian Schafer is founder and CEO of Deep Focus, a highly regarded interactive marketing and social media agency. His take? Timeline is a boon to brand Pages, but there are some dangerous pitfalls organizations must avoid in order to take full advantage.
“It’s an opportunity for brands to tell more engaging stories on Facebook than they can now,” Schafer said. “It puts them more in control of their content.”
But that focus can be a double edged sword, he added. Companies that excel at providing stimulating, engaging content will do well. Companies not used to creating their own content may flounder.
“I think we’ll see the chasm grown between the highly engaging and less engaging brands,” Schafer said.
Schafer pointed to brands with segmented operations as ones who will struggle compared to those who are able to concisely define what they do under one umbrella.
“There’s going to be a little bit of chaos when brands try to figure out what to do with all those tabs that they’ve got,” he said. “It’s going to be important for brands to rethink that silo-ization to really engage with consumers. A more holistic approach will do better on Timeline, as opposed to one that’s more separated.”
The old layout’s Wall also served as a natural forum due to its message board-like appearance. But Timeline’s less familiar layout may initially make it harder for users to interact with brands. According to Schafer, though, the other side of that coin is that Timeline can make it easier for brands to create content that shows up in users’ news feeds.
The biggest key for brands to make Timeline for Pages a success, Schafer says, is not to be too deeply seduced by its beauty and potential.
“Some brands are going to see this as an opportunity to build another microsite,” Shafter said. “But it’s really not. Timeline is a highly engaging content channel, but one where the content is meant to travel. You don’t want people to spend too much time on the Page, as opposed to sharing it. They should look at Timeline as a distribution point, as opposed to a destination.”
What do you think are the key points for brands to successfully leverage Facebook Timeline for Pages? Let us know in the comments.