As Timeline Rolls Out, Engagement Ramps Up!


Today is a big day for brands, businesses, musicians, celebs and essentially anyone using Facebook, as all Facebook pages will automatically switch to the new Timeline format. We’ve spoken about the specifics of these changes in earlier postings, but have we spoken about why Facebook users should be excited?

In a recent study, the social media analytics platform Simply Measured, released data that gets beyond the hype of the cosmetic changes and digs into why marketers should really be excited for the new Facebook page layout. Looking at 15 different Facebook pages running Timeline, spread across various industries, the data revealed exciting news for fan page engagement.

Brands in the study received 46% more engagement per post with Timeline enabled.

Content Engagement by Post Type

Apparently, something about the new Timeline makes Facebook pages more engaging to fans. Looking at the graph above, we see that photos received a disproportionate bump in engagement on pages with Timeline enabled. Why is this? Anyone using Timeline for the first time will surely note that images are now front and center on the page. Images and video are now gracefully displayed in columns or even spread across the entire width of the fan page, drawing the eyes of fans visiting the page.

What can we take away from this finding? Use photos. Glancing up at the graph again, you’ll notice that regular “status” updates actually received LESS engagement with Timeline enabled. Take a glance at any Timeline-enabled fan page and you’ll see the problem yourself. Regular text statuses are easily lost and sometimes feel out of order on the page. In fact, Simply Measured found that there was a 65% increase in engagement for posts with interactive content (photos and video). So, when transitioning to Timeline, keep multimedia posts in mind!

With these changes, Facebook is also aiming to help page administrators make pages better for their fans. In a recent article by Inside Facebook, some page admins have reported that Facebook now notifies them of fan page activity in their personal notifications bar. As a page administrator myself, this is a welcomed addition to the tools at our disposal. Integrating fan page notifications might seem a bit distracting at first, but, in the end should help prompt owners of “stagnant” pages to become more active and engaged with their fan base.

Facebook Notification Sample

Not only are these new notifications going to be great for page managers, but as fans, Facebook users should see a marked improvement in posts and engagement from pages they follow. Facebook is truly emphasizing the two-way conversation that fan pages allow with the recent updates, and it will benefit everyone involved.

On a personal note, I’ve enjoyed the newly added message feature that enables average users to send messages to fan pages they follow. On more than one occasion, I’ve been able to message a large company using the new feature and received a response in a matter of minutes. On very active pages of large companies, you can be assured that they have a dedicated social media administrator using the page throughout the day.  This mean, in many cases, you’ll receive a response faster than sending an email to the hopeless black hole of a corporate email address. Keeping this in mind, page administrators should now consider their Facebook page as an outlet for customer service.

Facebook New Message Option for Timeline Pages

So, as pages switch over to the new Timeline format, keep in mind that not only will page administrators have expanded options for engagement and interaction, but that fans will expect you to take advantage of these new features and create interesting, relevant social interactions.

The changes also make it clear that companies will get out whatever they put into their Facebook marketing efforts. The platform is moving and evolving to suit the needs of brand and businesses already using Facebook, and to not take advantage of these updates would be doing a disservice to your brand and social media presence.

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Chris Richards is the Digital Marketing Strategist for Fanpage Toolkit and writes many of the blog posts featured here. You can follow him on Twitter at @seerichards where he Tweets about tech, marketing, and anything else related to start-ups.
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