New Faces

Whether you ‘like’ it or not…make sure you know what’s coming…

In September 2011 Facebook had its much anticipated annual F8
developer’s conference.  One of the hot topics discussed was the proposed changes to the world’s most popular social network.

A new design was unveiled which had a strong emphasis on more sharing and participation from users and the focal point for all of this was the introduction of a new timeline – ‘Telling the story of your Life’.

This timeline roll-out has now almost completed as Facebook decided it would be a compulsory change made to all profiles by 15 February.  Of course not without controversy…because,
let’s face it, the network’s users have not always embraced Facebook changes when they are first rolled out. Creatures of online habit that we are.

When this timeline feature was announced last year it was unclear what the implications would be to businesses.  However there was a strong desire for consistency of these newly designed profiles across brand pages.

Once Facebook has completed the roll-out of the new timeline redesign all attention will turn to the increasingly popular pages.   These moves are strongly rumoured to be announced on February 29th at Facebook’s invitation-only marketing conference.

So what might this mean for brands that have pages at the moment?

Essentially no-one can second guess what Facebook has up its sleeve but our advice is to be prepared with some striking imagery ready to populate the new page layout.  We know
from both the mock-ups revealed atF8 and the design style of personal timelines that imagery is going to be, literally, big. So, ensure that you have a bank of imagery which says a great deal about your page, product, service offering or company.  By doing this, pages won’t be left with
unsightly bare gaps once the new template comes in.  We also know that less prominence is going to be placed on the ‘like’ button and fans instead will be able to subscribe for
information as opposed to just liking a page to receive updates.  Preparing a small post surrounding the use of the subscribe button and having this ready to issue will quickly nip any
confusion in the bud for your loyal fans.

One thing that you can be sure of is that the transition will be seamless.  Facebook has developed
to such a point where these re-designs are introduced and everything seamlessly slots into place (well, aside from the barrage of tweets ‘oh what has Facebook done now?!)

Of course the more cynical amongst marketeers can see that these changes are going to please Facebook – the opportunity for more ad revenue and the ability to know even more about our user patterns will be a powerful tool for them.  Although Facebook has already stated that the cover image on profiles (the large image across the width of your profile) is not to be used as ad space – hinting that new guidelines on content allowed for brands maybe forthcoming.

Whatever your personal view and professional involvement with Facebook keep an eye on the young whipper-snapper Google+ biting at its heels, can you blame it for constantly evolving and striving to be the first online destination for brands and consumers?