Watching the world of media evolve

Facebook Brand Pages Begin Timeline Transformation

We knew it was only a matter of time before Facebook began giving brands the option to switch over their brand pages to the timeline design.  Well it appears that time is now.  This morning before work, I hopped on the ole Facebook to checkout what’s going on.  I decided to check on my brand page for my small business, (sorry for the plug!).  Anyway, I was delighted to find that Facebook was now giving the option to switch over to the new timeline.  Over the past few weeks I’ve become a big fan of the timeline approach on Facebook.  It think the design and approach simplifies the information and really makes it interesting for users to view.  The new layout also creates a more personal look and feel.

While I’m a very big fan of the new layout and design, will it be good for brands?  That I can’t answer but I will say, as a marketer I absolutely think the cover photo will benefit brands immensely.  Whether it’s highlighting a new product or brand elements, the cover photo will be great for brands.

The other aspect I’m very curious about is if and how brands will leverage the actual chronological timeline on the brand page.  I did some searching and found Ben & Jerry’s brand page which has already been converted over to the timeline layout.  It’s very early but I think I’d anoint Ben & Jerry’s page as an early best practice to follow.  Ben & Jerry’s has already added important dates to their timeline with various photographs and status updates.  Their timeline goes all the way back to the 1970’s and includes updates like in 1990 when their Chocolate Fudge Brownie was born!

It’s still so earlier but I’m very curious to see the different ways brands will get creative and how this could impact user engagement with brands.  Brands have until March 30th to convert their pages to the new layout so we’ll have to wait a little longer to see the outcome.

Here are some great examples of brands who have made the switch quickly and put out great pages:


#WantanR8 – Audi’s Integrated Social Campaign

I was fortunate enough to research Audi’s most recent Social Media campaign called #WantanR8 through my latest assignment at WVU.    While Audi’s entire Social Media presence is impressive, this campaign was especially special.  For those of you who aren’t car buffs, which I’m certainly not, the R8 is sort of a supercar.  Only several hundreds are made each year and are incredibly expensive to buy.  There’s absolutely nothing practically about them, but they are incredible automobiles.

Anyway, Audi created a campaign that would give away an Audi R8 (for the weekend) to a person who tweeted why they deserved a R8 and what they would do with it.   So you’re probably asking why this is worth mentioning? Well after I explain it, hopefully you’ll see it as a completely innovative and integrated social media campaign.

First, Audi created a separate tab for the campaign on their Facebook page.  Then they built a Twitter functionality within that Facebook page that allowed users to post their tweets.  The functionality had the built in hashtag in the tweet so user error wasn’t an issue.  The German automaker also created videos through YouTube that showed previous winners with the R8 and their experience with the car.  This certainly helps users envision themselves winning the R8 and gets them excited to post to Twitter.

After researching the campaign I was so impressed at the integrated approach the company took.   You could find the campaign through YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.  Not too many individuals will purchase an R8 from the campaign but it certainly will help build brand awareness around Audi.

F-Commerce not Accelerating as Analysts Expected

Remember when nearly everyone was talking about the huge potential of integrating online stores in Facebook brand pages?  Well, I think it’s fair to say the growth hasn’t happened as expected.  Several brands have tried and eventually closed up their Facebook store fronts like Gamestop, Gap and JC Penney.

So why hasn’t F-Commerce taken off like originally thought?  I think it’s a combination of a few things.  The first is, do people really want to shop when they’re on Facebook?  As a Facebook user, I certainly do not.  I’m on Facebook to see what’s going on in my friends and family’s lives.  Not to buy a video game from Game Stop’s Facebook store.  If I want to buy the new Fifa on Xbox 360, I’d probably visit their website.  That brings me to my second point.  Categorically speaking, the experience on brand’s websites are generally very good.  If there is nothing wrong with a brand’s website, why wouldn’t the person just buy their goods from the website.  I see Facebook as a place for users to hangout and interact with their friends and family.  It’s not a place where they decide to buy that new cashmere sweater regardless of how awesome they think it will look on them.

I think at the end of the day, Facebook is obviously very valuable for retailers and brands.  It’s an extremely efficient channel to connect with customers and fans.  While using the network to sell directly may not work, we do know communicating about sales, new products, etc certainly does work.  Oh and don’t feel too bad for Facebook that the whole F-Commerce thing didn’t take off.  I think they’ll be quite alright with all the other areas of growth they have.  The company reportedly earned more than $3.7 billion in revenue for this past fiscal year.  Absolutely absurd…

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