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Facebook Users, Meet Timeline

The social network's new layout can help users increase customer engagement.
Bonnie Evans, CFO Magazine
June 15, 2012

In March, Facebook forced all business users to adopt Timeline, its new page layout. The change may cause companies to put more effort into maintaining their Facebook business pages, but the new design may also help them increase customer engagement, experts say.

The switch to Timeline has already "caused a lot of page administrators to wake up" and moderate their pages daily, says Jim Belosic, CEO of ShortStack.com, a custom Facebook app creator. The new design includes analytics tools, a spot for a horizontal photo banner, room for customizable apps, and a time line that invites companies to describe their corporate histories.

Timeline enables businesses to offer content that goes beyond wall posts and fan "likes," Belosic says. For example, companies can use the cover-photo feature to grab customer attention. The cover photo gives companies "more of a chance to make a quick impression," says Jennifer Fournier, owner of Canadian bookstore Chat Noir Books. Chat Noir's cover photo, a reader substituting a book's cover for his face, won the bookstore a spot on a PCWorld.com list of best business cover photos.

At Kraft Foods, the Nabisco division has "done a great job adding a lot of company history" to its Oreo cookie Facebook page, says Belosic, using Timeline to include photos, events, and milestones. "I can see that they're really a part of American culture," he says. "They're more than just a cookie."

The new design also gives companies an opportunity to publicly account for past blunders. "Smart companies will include their mistakes and will follow those with what they did to correct them," says Cliff Figallo, senior site curator at Social Media Today, a social-media discussion website. Netflix, for example, has not removed posts about last year's roundly criticized rate hike. "They're a web-savvy company and understand the need to learn and change fast," Figallo says. "That will be reflected on Timeline."




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