Yesterday, Facebook introduced the Timeline for Pages. The timeline has already been available for personal profiles for quite some time. Right now you could say it’s in beta test mode, it will officially go live at the end of the month (March 30). Right now pages have the option of customizing it and getting used to it.
What’s the Facebook Timeline?
The Facebook Timeline is a way of telling a story about your school, organization, or whatever your page is about. The timeline gives you an opportunity to review easily everything you have ever posted on your page and decide what you want to share in this story with the people who like you. The timeline leads with a bold image (the cover) and then has your profile pic.
This is a creative example of what the cover of a page might look like, but not one that is actually created. Image from VitroAgency
The cover is a large bold that is your opening photo or introduction to your page. The opportunities for this are endless. And you can constantly change it. A school could feature a winning team (if your policies allow you to feature students on your facebook page) or another day feature student work. Think of the cover as a way to showcase your school and what it has to offer. It should change and tell a story about who you are.
Here are a few examples that are interesting, both from personal profiles and also from the few brands who have already launched the new timeline for their page.
Learning from Personal Timeline Examples
The personal profile timeline has been around for a while and so people have had the opportunity to become creative. Here are a few examples that pages might learn from as they grow their develop and create their own timelines.
This is an interesting example with the profile pic as part of the overall picture. I found this image online and thought it was a great example of featuring a team an athlete at the same time. Although this is an individual page, perhaps your school were the champions and you have a sub-story to tell about the highlighted person. The kids made the winning touchdown or has a remarkable story to share.
Perhaps you have a picture of a Principal or the Head of the School looking out or doing something unique. The “Polaroid” pictures on the side can show other things happening at school or items you want to showcase about the school.
This groups information written nicely on the background and integrates the profile picture into the scheme of the cover picture. What’s nice about this personal timeline example is it is a good display of both visual design and information design. You could highlight aspects of our school visually with information about your school. This design gives the opportunity to show a prospective student or employee what your school is all about.
Page Timeline Examples
The New York Times, features their mark and their office. This page is a who are we. Very simple. Pages will have to think about whether or not their page needs to changes or can this be an evergreen approach.
This says who they are and shows something unique about them. When you think about the United States Navy, you probably associate ships rather than airplanes. The sea is still captured in this picture, but there is another aspect of the Navy that you might know about. I wonder what the next cover image will be and how long before this picture becomes old. This picture is definitely inviting and tells a story.
A picture can sometimes tell a 1000 words. This definitely depicts exactly what I would expect to see on the Muppets page. It’s visually interesting. Right now the Muppets page is all about the movie coming out, but this page could be about other movies or other Muppet related items.
Some examples of Facebook Timeline Covers
10 Examples of Brands (Macys, Manchester United, AT&T, Coca-Cola, Red Bull, Ford, Today Show, LiveStrong, Starbucks, Adobe)
Content for Your Timeline
The content changes slightly. Now the content is about the time that something happened. Engaging your audience continues to be an important part and it should still remain an important part of your social media plan. But now it’s more about your story and what happened when. On this day you won the championship. Or on this day 100 of your students came to school dressed in the school’s mascot. Imagine then featuring an album with all the different renditions of your school mascot.
It’s Time to Revisit your Content
When you were first starting out you probably had no clue how to use Facebook. You might still not know really how to use Facebook and what works for your school. Part of technology today is it is changing so fast sometimes it’s hard to keep up with. So what you posted at the very beginning might not be the kind of information that you think you would like to post today. The new timeline displays information in a different way and this is your opportunity to look over the story you have told in the past and clean it up. You can easily hide posts that you don’t want to share.
A new feature is that now pages will be able to create coupons directly in Facebook and share them on the timeline. Page likers will then be able to share those coupons and then they could become viral. I was trying to think about how this would impact a school or how a school could use a coupon. My first thought was about auxiliary programs. We run a summer camp at our school and I was thinking that we could offer a $50 discount to Facebook Followers. Then I was thinking about the other kinds of programs we run at school and we run a lot of other classes and events and there are so many opportunities to offer a deal or a discount that could then be used in our online registration system.
Communicating Directly with your Followers
This has been one of the things I have always found frustrating. I have not necessarily had a way to communicate with people following us. Now our followers will be able to direct message us from inside Facebook. It does mean yet another place that you’ll have to keep up with in the ever growing load of information.
This feature definitely caught me off-guard. When a follower views your page, you will be able to see your friend interactions toward the top of the page. When I visited the Navy page, I wouldn’t have thought I knew anyone who would have posted a comment there, but I actually had a few friends from Facebook who had posted on the page. It definitely made it a more personal experience.