Facebook is on the verge of unveiling its highly anticipated Timeline feature for brands—a rollout that has been of keen interest in the PR community.
Facebook will extend the Timeline offering to brands at the end of this month, most likely during a daylong conference the company is holding in New York on the Feb. 29, reports AdAge. Facebook will first release it in beta mode with a select few partners before incrementally rolling it out to all brands, according to the report.
As the launch date nears, communications pros have several questions top of mind in regard to how it may affect their social media strategies and brand profiles.
What will it look like? According to what Facebook’s vice president of marketing and business partnerships David Fischer said during the company’s F8 conference in September 2011, Timeline pages for brands will be aesthetically similar—but not exactly identical—to Timeline for individual users.
How will it affect the way brands engage with their consumers? Timeline will enable brands to have better a better understanding of what their audiences’ interests are and how they interact with content on the Web (through Facebook’s Open Graph feature, which has led to the development of actionable terms and apps for the social network). Brands will be able to “build even more meaningful interactions with social audiences,” says Reggie Bradford, founder and CEO of Vitrue, a social marketing tech company, in a guest post on Forbes.
What should PR pros know about Facebook’s Open Graph API, which is an integral element of Timeline? “It offers a wealth of information and functionality that can be leveraged to create incredibly compelling and personalized brand experiences. The key is to use it in ways that create meaningful engagement,” Chris Thornton, CMO of marketing agency Definition 6, tells PR News. However, PR pros should not focus only on message distribution and data—they should “draw insights that let you tell a compelling story,” says Thornton.