To secure longevity, websites have to stay relevant. That usually means a site has to constantly evolve and change to keep the interest of internet users. One of the most currently talked about developments is Facebook’s announcement of Timeline. This new concept for Facebook adds depth to what used to be the “wall” for users. Now instead of being able to browse only a few months back on posts, people viewing Facebook Timeline can click to see pictures and postings from prior years. The idea is similar to a scrapbook, chronicling the lives of community members, and it has frequently been described as such. While Facebook has become a valuable marketing tool for businesses in the past, Timeline will give businesses the opportunity to change how they connect with the Facebook community from this point forward.
Timeline allows businesses to share their histories and even do some bragging. They’ll be able to fill in the progression of the business from the day the business was created on up to present day, rather than only showing history from the point the business acquired a Facebook page. Along the way, users will see milestones, advancements and successes, most of it information that the typical consumer might not be aware of. Individual Facebook users are expected to create a large chunk of content for brands, as well. As they go through the process of filling out their personal Timelines, there is no doubt that many brands will benefit from the tagging and dating of pictures that will be uploaded from the past.
The Storytelling of Marketing
At the heart of marketing is the art of storytelling. Every ad you see is, in one form or another, a story telling you why the product being advertised is vital to your life. Timeline gives businesses the opportunity to play off of community members’ posts and become part of their stories. For example, if someone posts an update on something as mundane as how they are feeling on day three of having the flu, that is an open door for any of the cold and flu medicine brands. Denim companies, such as Levi or Lee, are obvious candidates to incorporate themselves into posts by rodeo-ers, and so on. And just as with the benefits that will be realized through community members tagging and dating old pictures, new posts will certainly generate natural benefits. A member who posts how incredible the donuts are at The Donut Shoppe on 15th and Quinn just gave The Donut Shoppe a free mention that you can’t put a price tag on.
Businesses with apps or the ability to create them will have a boost with Facebook’s Timeline. This is partially attributed to the increased use of smart-phones and mobile internet. But with the Open Graph framework that works equally as well on mobile devices as it does on a computer’s browser, users will share updates and interactive elements of apps, which are right there, conveniently displayed with all other posts and updates. Those businesses with the apps that are of interest and use to community members are among the businesses who will gain an advantage with Timeline.
The Bottom Line of Timeline
The bottom line for Timeline where businesses are concerned is that it gives the opportunity for interaction between businesses and users like never before. The challenge with anything new is to discover how it can be of value. Some of Timeline’s benefits will be inherent and natural, while some will be developed along the way. The businesses that benefit the most will be those that jump in with no hesitation and discover how to best take advantage of this new twist to such an effective marketing tool.