It’s Storytelling Time for Brands on Facebook

Once reserved for individual accounts, Facebook made
its Timeline feature available to brands on Feb. 29. 

Facebook's long-awaited Timeline was made available to brands on Feb. 29, and it's now up to PR professionals to capitalize on the revamped format's storytelling and visual capabilities. 

For PR pros who pride themselves on storytelling, Timeline should serve as a welcome change. The question they must first ask is: What is our brand's story, and how do we want to present it to our fans? The Timeline can serve as an interactive museum that chronicles a brand's history. The key will be to populate the page with a range of content, including photos, videos stories and polls, that engages fans.

Perhaps taking a cue from Pinterest, which has carved out a social media foothold with rich graphics and imagery, Facebook has overhauled the aesthetics of its brand pages with the new Timeline. Each brand's home page now allows companies to display a large "cover photo" image in addition to their logo, and the opportunity to exhibit several images as a brand banner, or masthead. Photos are now more prominently displayed at the top of the page; brands have total control over the photos that are displayed, and how they are displayed.

Page curators will also now have the ability to expand and minimize the stories on their pages as they see fit, meaning they can position high-engagement content such as photos and videos to occupy more real estate than plain-text posts. 

Other changes include Fan Page messages, which will allow page administrators to contact Facebook users privately using messages, and a new Admin Panel, which will allow page managers to respond when people write on their Timeline, and view their latest insights, all in one place. Timeline for brands is currently an opt-in feature, but by March 30, 2012, all Facebook pages will automatically shift to the new design.

To learn from Facebook Timeline early adopters, attend PR News' What You Need to Know About Facebook's Timeline For Brands Webinar on March 20.  

Follow Bill Miltenberg: @bmiltenberg