At the F8 summit, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg introduced his latest creation for Facebook users, Timeline, which he referred to as a visual representation of your life. With the new Facebook Timeline, you will be able to digitally put in to pictures the story of who you are, highlighting the important photos, significant events, maps of where you've been, and much more, simply by clicking a 'Star' Next to any event.
Timeline is divided into two parts with the top portion of the timeline being referred to as the Cover and the reminder being reported to as the Heart. The Cover has personal information on the left along with your friends, photos, and Likes. The Cover of your timeline has the feel of the cover of a book; There's a space at the top for a large, lead photo.
The Heart of the Timeline is similar to a line graph with date marks that serves as a loading dock for all of the significant events in your Facebook life. As long as you've been on Facebook, you can go back and click on newsfeeds, photos, videos, maps, etc … to show what you were doing at specific times in your Facebook life. If you were on Facebook and updating your status, photos, or maps while you were traveling, getting married, pregnant, training for a marathon or at a concert or sporting event, these items will show up in your Timeline. Do you see how this new tool could be very addictive to the user?
This presents a tremendous opportunity for businesses.
Historically, businesses could create a Fan Page in order to generate 'Likes'. Then Once Like, Fan Page owners could send messages or put out posts, videos, or photos related to their product or service in order to communicate with their customers. However, the numbers of photos on Fan Pages were limited, allowing only the profile picture and five thumbnails to be customized, and hiding photo albums and tagged photos benefit the Wall. Therefore, the visual benefits of Facebook were never fully optimized.
Also, marketers misused the Facebook Fan Pages, thus ruining the platform for users. For example, marketers used these Fan Pages as opportunities to spam or broadcast their messages. With some of the recent f8 changes, Fan Pages will no longer be able to message people any longer. Users now have more control over what shows up on their feeds. Businesses who fail to produce useful content will be left out in the cold. But how does this apply to Timeline?
Timeline is a visual platform and, as humans, we increasingly consume more information through photos, from browsing friends' Facebook albums to mobile Twitpics, than we would consume or remember reading blogs or text newsfeeds. Correspondingly, Facebook Timeline is composed primarily from photos and videos. Therefore, the strategy of posting quotes, texts, or blog links that could be spammy will be replaced by more visual media.
Timeline now unlocks new possibilities and rewards for businesses, their branding, and their ability to be creative. For example, the Cover page of the Timeline is an 849 by 312 pixel image spanning the top of the users' profile. Consider the value of that real estate for a business that makes an impact in the life of that consumer.
Creative marketing opportunities will be now rewarded with staying power. Unlike newsfeeds that disappear within a day or two, the infinite scroll of these Timeline photos will stay present for a much longer period of time. Therefore, instead of having to come up with 250 conversational posts per year, businesses will be rewarded with fewer posts that are of higher quality.
Businesses will be able to share quality content and build an emotional connection with their fans through behind-the-scenes photos, videos, real-time mobile pictures, and exclusive news. In addition to expressing the brand in the present, a brand can also utilize the timeline to speak to its past to reignite the nostalgia and sentiment that may be associated with it.
The days of marketers spamming users on Facebook are over and the opportunity that Timeline presents to businesses willing to be creative and interactive with their users is exponentially exciting.