Facebook is an increasingly important tool for both company marketing and customer engagement. The now ubiquitous social media platform is an integral part of much of the population's day-to-day life, and marketers have been able to infuse their brands almost seamlessly into this everyday habit.
However, like most social tools, the pages' layout and content of the old Facebook brand favor large B2C brands. You know the brands I’m talking about: seemingly unlimited fans and followers worldwide, brand recognition to a point of being a household name, and rockin' marketing departments with unlimited resources for holding contests and promotions encouraging increased social interaction.
Not one of those companies? Well, neither are we. So, when Facebook rolled out Timeline for brand pages yesterday, we at RainCastle jumped at the chance to build a profile markedly stronger than our original. In doing so, we realized just how many new opportunities there are for small B2B companies to express themselves and build a powerful online presence.
Milestones Add Volume to Your Online Presence
The ability to go back in time and fill in not only company status updates and photos, but also milestones, is the best new feature provided by Facebook's Timeline. Before, small brands were at the mercy of looking new or socially inept if they were just dipping their toes into the social media water. The introduction of milestones allows you to build out your Facebook profile to show your company's complete history and to integrate:
- Important company events
- Featured projects
- Brand transitions
- Company announcements
Milestones also allow for enhanced visual representation. With the Pinterest boom, marketers are seeing strong customer response to different visual representations including graphics, photos, illustrations, and other cleanly displayed visual elements. Similarly, the large format of milestone photos, the ample white space, and the clean, formatted accompanying text, will give small B2B companies a chance to represent themselves in a sophisticated, modern way.
Cover Photo Puts Emphasis on Culture, not Product
The first such opportunity with Facebook Timeline is to create a compelling cover photo — the featured "brand graphic" of your Facebook site.
Rather than the typical product focus of a B2C company, a B2B company cover photo should represent your company's brand reputation. B2B companies are accustomed to identifying a brand without leveraging a retail product, and Timeline's cover photo format supports this practice very well.
B2C companies are creating cover photos that stray from product placement to emphasize company culture or brand.
The New York Times highlights their staff
While Old Spice promotes its product and extreme brand reputation
The expanded dimension of cover photos allows for more powerful and creative brand images.
Pinned Posts are the New Calls-to-Action for Content Marketing
Have a new content offer you want to promote? How about an opening in the company, or an event or webinar to endorse? Another new feature of Facebook Timeline is the ability to "pin" your past posts to the top of your Timeline, which is the social media version of a call-to-action (to learn more about creating great calls-to-action, check out our blog post).
Calls-to-action (CTAs) should be a part of any small B2B company's Internet marketing strategy; they are the best way to attract attention to all of the great content your company produces. The pinned post feature allows you to create a hierarchy of this content on your Facebook page, as opposed to the old way of re-posting something again and again on your wall with a new CTA and running the risk of pestering your audience.
Pinned posts will give smaller B2B companies the ability to promote one offer, one event, or one promotion, instead of feeling the need to constantly create more with limited resources.
Possible Future Features to Support B2B Companies
What we're looking for most from Timeline in the future is better map integration similar to that of personal profiles. Currently, the map for brand pages only allows you to identify your company address. On personal profiles, however, you can tag photos to places you've been throughout your life.
If this feature was to be integrated into brand pages, small B2B companies could tag past clients on the map with photos representing the completed project. For example, RainCastle could tag a client of ours, Echelon, a smart energy solutions company in California, with photos of our completed website redesign, and create an interactive portfolio within the map.
On my personal Facebook map, I can tag our
RainCastle page on the map with a photo. Building
out this feature for brand pages could create an
extensive, interactive portfolio for B2B companies.
Another interesting addition to watch is how brands will use app integration to enhance their pages. Currently, most apps are suited to personal use (e.g. music streaming services, reader apps, and location apps), but there could be a rise in professional-based apps that become common use.
Pinterest is the best example of this. Most Pinterest app users are personal accounts that want to integrate their pinning into their Facebook Timeline to show friends what they’re doing. But with more and more companies racing to join Pinterest, is this an app that will see regular use on brand pages?
What do you think is in the future for Facebook brand pages? Are you looking forward to Timeline?