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Facebook Timeline and the conundrum of user engagement: how Global Alliance members switched to implement storytelling best practice

April 27, 2012


March saw the introduction of Facebook’s Timeline as the new standard layout for all brand and organisational users of the social network. The redesign allows organisations to tell their story and share their history and came hot on the heels of personal Timelines, introduced from late 2011 onwards.


Using the Timeline, brands can focus more content and storytelling rather than apps, making the profile more compelling and appealing to their contacts.


Member associations have been swift to use Timeline to engage more readily with their members and here we a few best practices some of our members implemented when the switch took place.


To actively engage users, make the best out of two of the main new features of the Timeline graphic: the cover photo and the chronological timeline itself.


The cover photo can be used to achieve several purposes, the main ones being both the reinforcement of branding and messaging and the driving of traffic towards other pages.


In this respect, on the IABC Facebook page the users’ attention is immediately driven towards the powerful cover image made out of a collection of IABC members’ pictures: this graphic choice, together with the slogan “Be Heard”, conveys the importance of interactivity and communication among people and highlights the focus the association places on the relationship with stakeholders.


Another example of using the cover photo in a strategic way is the PRINZ Facebook page, where the picture is entirely dedicated to the promotion of the main association’s event of 2012: in this case the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand decided to take advantage of the visual potential of the cover to communicate a major event to its contacts.


The chronological timeline allows businesses to communicate the changes and evolution that occurred in their history, highlighting the most important moments – such as the foundation of the business or association – and more social occasions.


Among the GA members, for example, PRIA is the one which has made the most out of this feature inserting details regarding both the main events occurred since its foundation in 1949, such as conferences and awards, and other more informal dated content like employees’ photos from the association parties.


The new Timeline framework has undoubtedly turned Facebook into an even more powerful medium that, when managed properly, can help enhance engagement and community retention.