This post is by Jeffrey Roe, a senior at New Jersey City University. He is majoring in Marketing and minoring in Media Arts. Jeff is currently working as Social Media & Outreach Intern for 2tor, a technology company that partners with elite universities to deliver premiere online learning programs. When he’s not busy at work or school, Jeff enjoys developing his talents as a videomaker and being an avid concert goer. Follow Jeff on Twitter @chaffrey.

Facebook announced last Wednesday that its recent Timeline feature is now available for use on brand pages. Having generated a considerable amount of positive and negative buzz around the Timeline rollout for personal profiles, Facebook is now pushing brands to think about the ways in which they maintain their presence in social media. Perhaps you’re maintaining the Facebook page for a student club/organization or are doing some intern work in social media. Whatever the case may be, now is a better time than ever to plan on how to leverage this new feature to build relationships with fellow students or potential customers. Follow these tips to help your brand adapt to the new changes with finesse or prepare your brand to hit the ground running:

Revise Your Social Media Strategy

Facebook for brand pages is a communication tool at its core. All of the things we love about being able to interact with fans are not going to be affected by the Timeline rollout. From a design perspective, however, it would be wise to consider how the layout changes are going to affect the content you have featured on your page.

Posts are now larger than they’ve ever appeared so whether you’re uploading a photo or video, sharing a link that’s relevant to your organization’s cause or simply sending an engaging status update, that content is going to use up more of the space on your page. You’ll want to ensure that said content is of premium quality as the most popular posts will be the ones that are most visible to your fans. Also, you’ll now have the ability to pin posts that you’ve featured so they remain static at the top of your page for a set period of time.

One major change that savvy brands are sure to be disappointed with is the discontinuation of customizable landing pages. It used to be that a brand could control what a potential fan would see when clicking onto their page for the first time. Often offering an incentive in exchange for a like, brands were previously able to control their initial interaction with Facebook users.

As this is no longer the case, brand managers may now find themselves looking to Timeline’s distinctive cover photo as the new way to grab the attention of prospective fans. This 810×315 piece of real estate allows for brands to feature an excellent photo or graphic highlighting an offer that might be appealing to a potential client. If you’re a student club or organization, this would be a great place to showcase an upcoming event or meeting within your group.

 

Engage Your Client Base

The Timeline feature is not going to be mandatory for brands to use until the end of March, so brand managers have some time to experiment with the new layout and conduct some spring cleaning on their pages. Perhaps you’d like to delete that one post that sparked an unsavory comment from an opinionated student or another that simply failed to resonate with your club’s purpose. Whatever the case, now is the time to peruse your brand page for image continuity and mediocre PR exposure.

Once you’ve completed this task, it would behoove you to note that Timeline for brand pages will now allow for direct messages between brands and their fans. This is an unprecedented feature that extrapolates the potential for superior customer service within a social media platform. One of the most important duties you’re responsible for in digitizing your brand is ensuring that your voice is heard. Putting out messages that you think might appeal to your fan base is simply not good enough.

Should you happen to receive a negative comment from a peeved student you don’t have the option of hiding or deleting that content. It’s your job as a brand manager to respond to that angry customer and tell your side of the story. The new messaging feature gives you the ability to take the conversation into a private forum after you’ve taken the opportunity to retort.

 

Tell Your Story

The quintessential characteristic of the Timeline layout for both personal and brand pages is the ability to trace your history from point of origin to your most recent stage in life. This enables brands to educate users about the happenings within their respective organizations before they joined Facebook. Admins can now highlight when their clubs were founded, create milestones that feature pivotal moments in the group’s history and showcase the rise of their brands from inception to fame.

Overall, the upgrades to Facebook’s layout have made the platform much more interactive and aesthetically pleasing. By implementing these changes, Facebook has broadened the opportunity for brands to grow their online presence and increase awareness among users. Whether you have a Facebook brand page or are thinking about starting one, now is the time to get creative!