Over the last twelve months, Facebook has become more important than ever before as a marketing tool for businesses large and small. As of January 2012, more than 60% of the small businesses operating in the US alone had a Facebook business page that they updated on a regular basis.
These businesses though got something of a shock on February 29th when the social networking giant announced that they were releasing Timeline for business pages effective immediately and that on March 30th 2012 all business pages would be switched over to Timeline format automatically. That leaves just about a month for businesses to “get their house in order” and prepare to embrace the sometimes controversial new format.
Timeline – the format change first introduced by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg at the Facebook F8 conference in September of 2011 – has been rolling onto personal Facebook pages for some time. It has its fans and a rather vocal number of detractors as well. Although it is rumored that Timeline for personal pages will become the standard very soon making the switch is not yet mandatory, leaving some business owners who dislike the idea altogether angered that for their business pages they will have no choice but to utilize the format.
The Timeline changes will impact businesses more than they will personal pages. One of the functionality that businesses made a great deal of use of on Facebook – fan gating – is no longer available in the Timeline format. Fan gating was the practice of installing an extra application that would display a different landing page to those yet to “like” the page to the one that current fans saw.
Most other functionalities remain effective however and many people believe that the new Timeline for Business will prove to be great for businesses in the end. Peter Lee, CEO of WireWakersVA, a New York based SEO and Web Site Development company admits that a number of the company’s clients did voice immediate concerns about the change. “The announcement took a great many people by surprise and although Facebook Fan page owners have ample time to work on their Timeline a certain sense of panic did set in. However, as we have been demonstrating to our clients Timeline has a lot to offer businesses. The larger cover photo alone presents a fantastic branding opportunity.”
Other new features that Timeline offers include the ability to add company milestones from the past to the page, the option to “pin” certain featured posts to the top of the page for up to seven days and larger photo displays on wall posts themselves.
Says Peter “The switch to Timeline is certainly something that businesses need to devote some time and thought to. Our social media experts have had a busy week experimenting with its functionalities and there are some difficulties to be overcome. Once these are worked through though the Timeline pages that we have been working on are turning out wonderfully well and I believe that in the end even those who are skeptical about the concept right now will find that the new Timeline offers greater connectivity and branding opportunities than have ever been available before.”
WireWalkersVA is based in New York, NY and was started by its CEO, Peter Lee and a dedicated team of business, marketing and social media advisors. Their website http://wirewalkersva.com/ provides business, marketing, SEO and social media resources in the form of free ebooks, podcasts, videos, blogs and a business forum.
Published on OnlinePRNews.com