With the evolution of Facebook’s Timeline, Businesses will need to connect with customers on a human level to gain visibility to build their customer community on the social media outlet. Those who fail to adapt will lose relevance and their voice in the chatter.
Facebook’s new Timeline layout has made major changes to assist savvy businesses in taking those first crucial steps to building an active relationship with their community. One cool change is how Timeline attempts to make newsfeeds more natural for followers of businesses. Companies can virtually write your status updates for you, calling it a “sponsored story.” For instance, customers who click “like” or “check-in” to Starbucks can select “drinking coffee” or “second cup today” to be published on their newsfeed and ticker. The idea is to make sure the customer experience is fun and easy so more people interact with your brand.
Small businesses should take note of how simple researching your potential customer has become with Timeline.
1. The user profile is now a snapshot of your customer’s habits, conversations and likes. Everything from the apps downloaded, music listened to on Spotify, and brands “liked” will now be visible on the navigation bar, explains social media strategist Tommy Walker in a video on Facebook.
2. The amount of people who buzz about your brand directly affects how many times you show up in the ticker and newsfeed.
3. Get active with your brand, with the understanding that your customers are self-conscious of how your company reflects them publicly. Do some investigation to see how people in the target age group, lifestyle or demographic are commonly approached, or use trial-and-error. The only mistake would be to not get started.
The focus for Facebook is shifting from conversation building to sharing content. Put another way: you will be seeing fewer words and more pictures. This is a new concept for Facebook, but businesses that tear down the invisible wall preventing them from interacting with customers as people will thrive with this new platform. Facebook calls Timeline a “scrapbook” and, just like a scrapbook, it works best if you fill it pictures, videos and multimedia that tell a story. Click for some great examples Mashable has compiled of how some big-brand companies may use Timeline. To get the user hooked, it helps to bring them in the fold by sharing behind the scene photos, real time photos or blooper videos, writes Zeny Huang, in an article about Timeline for Mashable. So don’t just showcase your business or finished product, but share all the steps that go into making each work day – the good and the bad – with your customer. Timeline can also make it easier to reach your customers, answer questions, share promotions, and build your brand awareness with the end goal of moving outside the Web domain into the streets with word-of-mouth, writes Brian Solis, principal at Altimeter Group, a research-based advisory firm. Ask yourself how can you create value by giving your customer something they can’t find from your business website?
Facebook’s Timeline will become mandatory for all users starting February 19. At this time, businesses that choose to remain absent from the chatter do so at their own risk. The zero cost, simplicity and “shareability” of Timeline forces brands to adapt to stay relevant or die. If your community grows, then so does your customer base. On the other hand, if no one shares, then it is deemed irrelevant by Facebook’s algorithm and will not show on any newsfeed or ticker. Show care that your customer base doesn’t shrink because you fail to engage the user with information he finds important. Now, will you start building your online community or become extinct like the dinosaurs?
Charles works in Sales & Marketing at PQ Labs Inc. His interests are in men’s fashion, technology and society. He graduated from San Francisco State University and lives in San Jose, CA. You can subscribe to him on Facebook (facebook.com/charlesbecker) for frequents of his current obsessions.