Friday, March 30, 2012

Facebook Brand Timeline Deadline Approaches: Are You Being Rushed?

Will your fans like the change?

Brands have had a month to prepare their Facebook Timelines, but on Friday, their Facebook Pages will be switched to the new Timeline format whether they like it or not. You will no longer have a
choice, so I hope you weren't too fond of your Facebook Page. The good news is that there is a lot to like about the new format, but it's still created some issues for some businesses, and the deadline means if you haven't prepared for it, you may have a less-than-favorable Facebook presence representing your brand for Facebook's over 800 million users. For that matter, you don't have to have a Facebook account to view a public Facebook timeline, so it's really, potentially, representing you to even more people.

A lot of users didn't like the timeline format for their personal profiles, so it stands to reason there will be plenty of complaints from brands as well - especially those who are unprepared. 

There is a lot for brands to like about the new Timelines (we'll get to that later), but it's not all unicorns and rainbows. DreamGrow lists some pros and cons of the brand timelines. Among the cons mentioned are the inability to have a custom landing page and the visibility of certain data. "At present, only your page admins can see your recent likes, visitor reach and people 'talking about' your brand," the post notes. "This data is now readily available for your followers to view. Brands that are experiencing a bout of negative PR or backlash from fans could find this new feature rather unwelcomed."

Mercury News has an interesting story about a brand who changed to the timeline and upset a bunch of fans (mainly elderly people), who became "so angry and vocal," that they had to be banned. So there is the possibility that fans who aren't savvy about Facebook's dealings may be unjustly upset with brands. The report's author, Mike Swift, writes:

It's unclear whether older users are less happy about the switch to Timeline than younger Facebook members, but some sites that serve older users are bracing themselves for the upcoming change.

"If we had a choice, we wouldn't switch over to the Facebook Timeline format -- yet -- because our community is not a big fan of 'big' changes," said Kim Hong, social media and community manger for San Mateo-based Winster, a website that features social games and is heavily used by baby boomers and seniors.

Swift says one brand ran a poll about whether its fans liked the changes, and a whopping 98% said they either didn't like them or didn't understand them. If it's an issue for one brand, it could be an issue for others.

Brands have ups and downs throughout their lives just like people, so brands need to review what is actually on these timelines very carefully. That's where the approaching deadline is of incredible significance. Some brands have been around longer than others, and a month may not be enough time to get everything in place that they want on the timeline. The timeline will let you go as far back as 1000 A.D. If your brand is old, and you have a rich history, this is probably going to be an ongoing project - just the filling in of the past - let alone keeping it fresh with new stuff.

FBs 'deadline' for brand timelines & my running out of milk have both caused me considerable stress as of late #humblefirstworldfail

#Facebook Timeline deadline for #brands is tomorrow. Is this what is keeping brand owners/users awake at night?

#march30 looming facebook timeline deadline certainly was felt today! is your brand ready?

Roughy 1/4 of brand pages have switched to #Timeline ahead of the deadline. They have roughly 3/4 of all page fans.

That last tweet references a report from Virtue:

Brand Timeline adoption

There's a new study from Simply Measured indicating that brands get more engagement per post with the Timeline.

Timeline Brand Impact

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