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Brands and Facebook Timeline – Tiffany Quach
Brands and Facebook Timeline

Brands and Facebook Timeline

On March 30, 2012, all brand pages were switched over to Facebook’s new interface, Timeline. The Facebook Timeline comes with a couple of new features. The big thing that Facebook pushed was the “history” or “timeline” feature where it accumulates information on the user or brand throughout the years until birth, as well as all the content that was posted since the user or brand started Facebook. There’s also the ability to pin a post to the top of the page for a week. Another aspect of Timeline is their cover images. Cover images are a large feature of Timeline because it’s supposed to represent who the user or brand is. When creating a post, users have the option to use larger images, which is great for getting consumers’ attention. Likes are now listed on the top right of the page and all the apps are above it in a large thumbnail format. Sadly, users can only show four apps at a time while the rest are hidden under an arrow drop down menu. This would be a disadvantage for brands who are promoting more than one thing at a time because they wouldn’t have the space to show everything. Timeline also states milestones each month and overall. This is great for brands to be able to see their reach. There’s also the ability to send direct private messages to users, only if they have contacted the brand first, which is a new way to do customer service. Lastly, there’s a toolbar at the top of the page that all have drop down menus. The “Timeline” tab shows all the apps and the “Highlights” tab allows users to control what types of posts they want to see on the page.

All of these features will help brands engage with their fans, but there are some that are very effective. Seeing the brand’s history helps build trust because fans will see the longevity of the brand. They understand that the brand has been around for a long time time and that they were able to survive in such competitive markets and bad economies. Fans can see how their brand had evolved over the years to be where they are today. Another effective feature is being able to see only the brand’s content. Consumers are more than likely uninterested in other consumers’ comments, especially since most of them fall under the lines of “I love your brand”. To be able to see what they want to see, their favorite brand, it keeps the page clean and consumers are more likely to stay of the page without the additional noise and clutter. Of course, if consumers would like to see everything, they do have the option to do so by clicking on the “Highlights” tab at the top. The flexibility of how consumers can “manage” what they see makes them more engaged because they are given the choice to see what they want to see. Cover images are an effective way for brands to make additional branding efforts or promotions. They can put promotional codes or hashtags from their integrated marketing campaigns into the cover image. This would work well because it’s the largest image that consumers see when they first go to the brand’s fanpage. If the cover image is designed in such a way that it’s appealing, consumers’ eyes would be drawn to look at it. The use of pins and large images are also good tools to use to bring awareness to photos and news. Brands can pin one post that they think would generate the most traffic in terms of likes, shares, and comments.

For H&M’s Facebook fanpage, I would recommend changing their cover image whenever a new campaign starts. It’s best to keep it fresh and not use the same cover image for too long, because frequent consumers will then turn away from what the cover image is depicting if they’ve already seen it so many times. If there’s a new fashion line coming out, the photo should be representative of it. And if they’re doing a promotion on Twitter, for example, #SummerContest, it could be added into the cover image in an artistic way. This is a great way to promote across multiple channels, especially since the cover image is the first thing consumers see. H&M should also continue to “like” pages that illustrate what their brand stands for, who the brand is, and what they believe their fans are like. For example, any affiliates or collaborators that they work with should be liked because it builds brand relationships and could also build trust with consumers if H&M likes something that they also like. There’s an advantage to using the pinning option on Timeline as well. H&M should use it to pin the latest trends, promote an event or promotional campaign, or specific articles of clothing. Since it’s always the first post, consumers are more likely to look at it and engage with it, so choosing the right post to pin is important. Lastly, H&M should use the large images feature for photo albums, fashion trends, and/or behind the scenes content to drive engagement and attention to those specific posts. For example, a company blogger can attend events and post photos from the event that are large and eye catching, then link the post to the actual blog to drive traffic on both ends. However, H&M has to understand not to clutter their profile with too many large images. Going overboard could turn users’ attention away because it all looks the same. There should be a variety of things to look at, with different sized posts. Use smaller image posts to reiterate a previously larger image post, that way the page is just filled with the same content, that would surely turn consumers away from the page. For example, if there’s two posts about the summer contest, make one large image and make the other posts smaller. After a week, reposting the summer contest as a large image would be okay because those smaller posts are no longer on the same page. Having too many large image posts is also a problem because it takes longer to load additional posts under the “see more recent stories” tab. Consumers are not keen on load times, so minimizing the amount of time a page has to load is important to understand, thus limiting large image posts is a must, since more content can be added onto one page at a time. However, there’s also a negative to using small image posts. H&M has to be smart about how they make their content because there’s the chance that these small image posts could get lost in a group of large images. They should plan their content accordingly so that it’s easy on the user to navigate and read their page.

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