The one thing you have to be when marketing your business (or yourself) online is flexible. Part of what makes social media so fascinating is how quickly it changes. There’s always new ways for us to stay connected more easily and faster, right around the corner.
And yet when Facebook announced some new site features last week, most users turned up their noses. As a personal user, it can be frustrating when a site makes changes that force you to navigate differently. Eventually, though, we find new shortcuts and we make those changes work for us. That’s exactly what I did: unsubscribing from some Facebook friends and sorting others into groups (a la Google +) helped retain control over whose information featured heavily in my News Feed and the new scrolling Ticker.
As a professional user – someone who maintains several pages for clients as well as my own author and book pages – I found the new Timeline profile page the most promising. A few weeks ago, I wrote about one drawback to using Facebook to promote your brand instead of your own website or blog, and that was the lack of individuality. While Myspace profiles pages had become overwhelming with loud music and flashy glittery graphics that assaulted you the moment the pages loaded, Facebook had always relied on a very clean, albeit cookie-cutter, look. It’s not always easy to set your brand’s Facebook page apart from everyone else’s.
However, with the new customizable Timeline, there’s huge potential for brands to enhance their visitors’ experience. The new cover allows you to place a brand logo, image, announcement, etc., front and center, while still maintaining the uncluttered look we’re used to. The Timeline also makes it easier for you and users to access past events, updates, photos, and videos.
Mashable did a great feature with some cool mock-ups on how some of the larger, more recognizable, brands may use this to their advantage, but as I found from testing out the new Timeline last week, customization is quite simple and should be easy for anyone to manage.
While there are valid points that the new Ticker and categorization of the News Feed may become too crowded for most users to connect with the brands they need to, a recent Nielsen report states that more Americans spend their online time on Facebook than any other website, and that says to me that it couldn’t hurt a brand to adapt and make the most of it.