Facebook today unveiled Timeline for pages on NBC's Today morning show, which used the occasion to unveil the first official Facebook Timeline — its own — and give TV viewers their first look at the social network's latest suite of tools to manage their presence and build their brands. Similar to individual user Timelines, this iteration for brands and organizations loses landing tabs but adds new features including the ability for featured posts to be "pinned" to the top of a Timeline for up to one week.
Brands are jockeying for creative positioning that stands out in an increasingly crowded field, with a slew of Timeline launches today timed to Facebook’s inaugural Marketers World Conference in New York, where it's also introducing simpler premium ads: “anything you can do on your Page, you can do in ads.”
Coca-Cola, for instance, is leveraging 125 years of history through the lens of fans’ letters to the Company over the years, including one from a man who asked for the exclusive franchise on the moon when President Kennedy pledged in 1961 to put a man there. (As the brand mused in a blog post today, "What did Coke fans do before Facebook?"
Coca-Cola's sibling brand, Fanta, launched its Timeline page with Fanta “Play” characters who are “lost in time,” inviting fans to follow clues via status updates to locate them in the past timeline. “Likes” of a timeline post restore them to the current cover page.
Lexus, worked with automotive historians and its own archivists, scoured hours of old film, photos and artifacts to create a highly visual timeline celebrating the futuristic 2+2 coupe LF-LC concept vehicle, all the way back to the brand’s launch in 1989.
Other brands launching today include the New York Times with a Timeline mining its 160-year history; Macy's, with 150+ years of parades and more to highlight; Starbucks; American Idol; the NBA; and the American Red Cross.
Brands in the U.K. launching FB Timeline today include Dove, Burberry and Manchester United Football Club.
Man United is giving fans easy navigation from the birth of the Club in 1878 to this season’s Barclays Premier League campaign. “Manchester United has 134 years of history and being able to record those emotive and memorable moments is important to us,” stated the club's Commercial Director, Richard Arnold.
Dove has "curated" the brand's history on its timeline, reaching back to 1957 and posted highlights from its 'Campaign for Real Beauty'.
Burberry, which launched its Facebook page in 2009 and has also launched a Google+ page, traces its heritage and includes YouTube live streams from its 2006 shows.
British supergroup Coldplay, meanwhile, is featured on FB's new Timeline toolkit.
According to Facebook's Timeline announcement, owners have a 30-day window to redesign their pages, which will automatically switch to the new format March 31. What's new:
Cover Photo: Businesses and organizations can now add a cover photo to the top of their Page.
Friend Activity: When someone first visits a Page, they may see friends' recent posts spotlighted as friend activity. People will also see how many of their friends are connected to a Page.
Larger Stories, Milestones, and Page Timeline: The new Page design allows Page owners to tell stories through bigger photos and milestones that can include a date and other content.
Pinned Posts: Organizations can pin a post to keep a story at the top of a Page for up to seven days.
Admin Panel: A dashboard to help page admins track their performance and respond to private messages.
Activity Log: Page administrators have access to a log of their Page activity, including tools to easily highlight, hide or delete posts and change the date of a post.
“I think we’ll see the chasm grow between the highly engaging and less engaging brands," Ian Schafer, founder and CEO of Deep Focus, commented to Mashable. “There’s going to be a little bit of chaos when brands try to figure out what to do with all those tabs that they’ve got. It’s going to be important for brands to rethink that silo-ization to really engage with consumers. A more holistic approach will do better on Timeline, as opposed to one that’s more separated… They should look at Timeline as a distribution point, as opposed to a destination.”
All proof positive that the social giant continues to follow its own Timeline in anticipation of its May IPO.