How Facebook’s Timeline Layout Affects Brand Content

Monday, 07 May 2012

With 6 weeks or more of the Facebook Timeline layout for pages under most brands’ belts, it’s time to step back and take a look at what changes page administrators can make to get the most out of this new format. The first thing that comes to mind is the cover photo, and the fact that the wall is now the default landing page for everyone; no more automatically funneling new traffic to a reveal tab to coax a new “like” out of users. But these updates are only the beginning.

Eye tracking studies have shown that while on a brand’s page, Facebook users look at the cover photo longer than anything else. It makes sense; it’s at the top of the page and takes up a large chunk of real estate. So be sure it’s conveying the message and brand look/feel
that you want; consider it your page’s outfit for a first date. You want it to look good, but you also want fans to “like” your page, and that takes more than just a superficial connection based on the cover photo. That’s where content comes in.

Post Plenty of Content

After the cover photo, users spend a significant portion of their on-page time looking at the content on a brand’s wall. The dual columns allow them to take in more content at once, but it also can make it harder for certain posts to stick out. Take a look back at your last few weeks’ worth of updates and see what you eye is drawn to, and what you’re glossing over. You don’t want to cram too much info in your cover photo, and your wall posts are the next biggest opportunity for fan viewing.

Use Photos To Attract Attention

Clearly, pictures work well on Facebook. That’s been true for awhile, and the eye tracking studies, combined with Facebook’s higher EdgeRank weighting for photographic content as opposed to text based updates, provides an even greater incentive to get camera happy. Incorporate images into posts to draw a user’s eyes down your page’s wall, and to stand out in their Newsfeed. Remember, they have many other friends and brand connections for you to contend with; do whatever you can to stand out.

Pin Important Updates

One of the most useful content features of a Facebook Timeline brand page is the ability to “pin” a post to the top of the page. This ensures that this is the first piece of content that page visitors see on your wall, but also allows you to keep new content flowing in the Newsfeed. The pinned post remains at the top of the wall and new content displays in reverse chronological order below it. Try it out with your next contest or campaign; it’s a very simple but useful option.

Remember What Worked Before

The basics of Facebook content still apply: don’t talk too much, take a break from talking about yourself all the time, focus on engagement. Always keep in mind that your updates will be shown alongside a fan’s friends, family, coworkers, etc. You have a lot of competition on Facebook, and not just from the brands you might think. Real estate is at a premium in the Newsfeed, and most fans don’t visit your page very often. This makes content crucial to getting–and keeping–Facebook fans.

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