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Wednesday
Feb292012

Musician's Arsenal: Killer Apps, Tools & Sites - Facebook's Timeline

It’s a big day today, folks, and the office is all a buzz about the exciting new Facebook developments. What Facebook developments, you ask? What!? You haven’t heard??? Timeline has arrived in full force and is now available for brands! Timeline has been received with resistance by some users (but what Facebook update isn’t?), so this may not be music to everyone’s ears. But as far as bands and brands are concerned, this is a powerful move. I tend ramble on a lot at the beginning of these posts, but I’m pretty excited about Timeline, so I’m jumping right in here. The most noticeable change is the giant cover photo bands can now implement. This was a cool feature for personal profiles and allowed users to show off their creativity (or that amazing photo you took of the sunset on vacation), but it is a really powerful branding tool for bands. Loading up an eye catching photo will help draw fans into your page and solidify your image. Branding has always been a little tricky on Facebook fan pages as you had to use certain apps to effectively do this, but this left the wall essentially “unbranded.” Cover photo solves this issue and brings a whole new life to the “wall.”

While the wall used to serve as a forum for fans to interact with the band, Timeline has significantly increased a bands ability to draw attention to events, videos, new releases, etc., while still maintaining the forum atmosphere. With the new Timeline features, bands can now do a few key actions that can really help. First, pinning. Don’t get too excited here, Facebook isn’t joining up with the new darling of social media, Pinterest. But rather, Facebook now allows you to “pin” certain posts to the top of your Timeline. I’m particularly fond of this feature because it allows bands to keep promotional posts at the top of their page instead of endlessly posting the same promotion over and over again. Instead of continuing to post updates about an upcoming show, bands can focus on providing more interesting and engage-able content to pull fans towards their page. Keeping the show promotion pinned to the top of the page ensures all visitors will see that post and will be reminded of the show. It’s a beautiful thing. The second big feature I like is “highlight.” You can “highlight” certain posts to make them stretch across the entire width of the Timeline. As fans scroll through your Timeline these highlighted posts will jump out and will be sure to catch attention. Highlighting videos is a great way to get more fans to watch them, even as they fall down on the Timeline. This feature also helps to draw attention to significant events that have happened throughout the band’s history. Which brings me to my next point. Obviously, the whole point of Timeline is to allow users to scroll through someone’s Facebook history. This is a very powerful tool for bands and is already being embraced widely by early adopters. Coldplay has documented the bands entire history on their Timeline. Going so far as to show a picture of the band’s first rehearsal, first show, first EP, first NYC show, etc. I’m not a huge Coldplay fan (I hope you’ll still read my blog posts!), and even I found this very interesting. Imagine how much actual Coldplay fans love this! For new, up and coming bands, this is a great opportunity to let fans grow with you and celebrate all your accomplishments as they happen. Ok, now for the blow me away part. I really love this next improvement. Facebook has ensured that each fan’s experience on a band’s Timeline will be unique. What does this mean? It means that when I visit Coldplay’s Timeline I see what my friends are saying about Coldplay, whether or not they actually posted on Coldplay’s Timeline. For example, Cyber PR team member, Jon Ostrow, posted about Coldplay back in August, and because Jon and I are friends and interact frequently his post shows up high on Coldplay’s Timeline for me (for all you hardcore Coldplay fans reading this post, please don’t hate us (for those wondering what I’m talking about, read the post in the photo)). This intensifies the sense of community your fans experience on your fan page. But it’s not all about the fan’s experience, Facebook has all increased ease of use for admins with the new “Admin Panel.” In the admin panel you can easily see new notifications, new likes and a basic insight graph. The “Build Audience” tab makes it easy for admins to grow the number of likes. You can do the age old “Invite Friends” technique (obviously not a new feature, but now easier to find). And now you can send invites from your email contacts. This is a great feature that can be extremely helpful for bands with a large email list and for new bands who have a large personal email list. As this post is getting on in length, I’m going to try and breeze through applications. They really haven’t changed all that much. They now appear directly under the cover photo on the right hand side and only the first 4 apps will be visible when a fan lands on the page. You can rearrange the apps any way you like, with the exception of photos. As of right now, the photos app is locked as the first application. The only other difference is that apps now open as new pages. This makes some of the apps seem ‘smaller’ then they used to, but I imagine app developers will change their layouts given the new real estate they have. I’ve been anxiously awaiting this release ever since Facebook first previewed Timeline. I believe this is a huge benefit to bands as they try to market themselves on Facebook. But the new Timeline won’t do the work for you. It’s now more important then ever that bands push out quality and engaging content. Know what you want your brand image to be, and post content accordingly.

What do you think of Timeline for fan pages?

Are you embracing this new change or are you dreading the day Facebook forces everyone to adopt (March 30th, by the way)?

What creative ways are you using Timeline for your band?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section!

Reader Comments (6)

I like the timeline for the most part. It gives you more creative flexibility than the previous layout, but they could definitely still do some customizing specifically for bands which also may be usable for other brand pages.

I've been toying with it off and on all day and designed a custom cover image for a group on our label and added all the individual tour flyers I could find into timeline events for each show. I like the highlighted and pinned post functionality and think the pins in particular were much needed.

I really wish they would add the mapping functionality like they have on personal profiles, so I could plot the tour dates on the map at the exact venue location and fans could scroll over to see the flyers, comment/review the show, and check in when they attend.

They also need to work in the music applications near the top of the page (also like they do on personal profiles). I'd love to have a box where users can cue up the group's tracks on Spotify right on the page or at least access their catalog without having to go into the About tab.

February 29 | Unregistered CommenterStu Pflaum

Awful. No landing pages and apps are buried in clunky layout. This is great for Coke (and big brands) but awful for the small guys.

March 1 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

The removal of default tabs is very bad news for bands that used hidden content to incentivise likes....

I still haven't decided yet if I like it or not, it opens new possibilities but closes old ones. I guess its back to the research board to figure out what works with the new update.

March 2 | Unregistered CommenterKevin F

How do you turn your bandpage into timeline? I don't see the option to do that.

March 3 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Balz

I find all this Coldplay bashing quite distressing. Otherwise, great article; thanks for sharing!

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