The Facebook Timeline and The Importance of Storytelling

With the semi-recent introduction of the Timeline for brand pages, Facebook rolled out plenty of new features for brand pages. All of these features were aimed to increase engagement on brand pages(which, for the most part, it did), and would eventually work hand in hand with many of Facebook’s new advertising features for brands, including the ability to reach more fans with individual posts with Facebook’s new reach generator.

But beyond that, Facebook is also aiming to get brands to think on a much larger scope. In essence, by introducing Timeline, Facebook now wants brands to tell their own stories, over the years. They want brands to think

Here are a few things that every brand should be focusing on in an effort to develop their own Timelines, and drive increased engagement through their Facebook brand page.

Photos, Photos, Photos

Photos are what make Facebook work. With Timeline, Facebook has once again emphasized the importance of photos in not only engagement on individual pages, but also in helping us store memories.

Starting with the Timeline cover photo, Facebook is wants individual users and brand pages to share images that are both meaningful to themselves, but also attractive to others.

Which also means that, unfortunately for brands, the cover photo on the Timeline isn’t a place for strictly advertising. Facebook wants the cover photo to convey a brand message, and they want it to be something that encourages individuals to interact with said brand. It’s also important to make sure that the image posted within that cover is both high-quality, and 851 x 351 pixels.

But beyond the cover photo, every single picture within a brand’s Timeline needs to be both attractive and provocative. It needs to signal something for individual users — i.e. a call to action, or an event that’s relevant to them in some way — that compels them to engage with the individual post. As a whole, including more posts will generally drive increased engagement.

Focus on The Important Stuff

Beyond including key photos, brands should also be focused on finding what events and milestones are important to them — what accomplishments they have had throughout the years and are willing (and even excited) to share with their users.

Things like the 1st customer, a new location, or any significant changes and new products that any brand has rolled out can all be considered milestones. It’s just important that brands ask themselves, before they post that content, if people will care. If the answer is an emphatic ‘yes!’, then there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be done.

Tell An Interesting Story

Finally, and arguably the goal of Timeline itself, is the matter of storytelling. Brands that are developing their Timeline pages should be looking not only to reflect on important milestones, but also their own individual stories. Spotify, for example, goes over hundreds, upon hundreds of music milestones over the years, telling the story of music itself. It’s interesting, to say the least. Taco Bell, on the other hand, goes through years upon years of their own products, encouraging people to go back and engage in their Timeline.

These examples are numerous, of course, but every brand is different. Brands should be looking to detail their own stories in a way that is relevant to them. It’s important for brands to remind themselves what made them so successful and to channel that success into their Timelines.

Ultimately, for any brand to develop a successful timeline they must first consider the importance of photographs in that timeline, what milestones they want to include and, finally, develop that into a story.

For some, that might include posting a milestone here, and a photograph there. But for others, like Spotify and Taco Bell prove, that might be a far more involved process. In essence, for every brand, find what’s important for you.

How have you develop your brand’s Timeline?