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Four Reasons PR Pros Will Love Facebook Timeline for Brands

With the Facebook Marketing Conference set to take place tomorrow, speculation about what will be discussed is feverish. Many think that Facebook Timeline for Businesses will be on the agenda. (An outline of what to expect is available on AllFacebook.)

Facebook Timeline offers brands a new set of opportunities that they and their PR firms should be eager to take advantage of. In today’s guest post, Jared Degnan, social media and digital manager of Brandware Public Relations, outlines how the Timeline feature can be used for maximum benefit to brands.

Click through to read on.

Four Reasons PR Pros Will Love Facebook Timeline for Brands by Jared Degnan, Brandware Public Relations

Beyond all the hype that will likely accompany Wednesday’s expected launch of Facebook’s Timeline for brands, one thing is certain: it’s great news for public relations professionals. 

Since its debut last year, the new Timeline profile format has already made an impact on the way users view and interact with content on Facebook. For example, the time users have spent viewing key elements of an individual’s profile page has increased by 37 percent, according to a recent eye tracking study commissioned by Mashable.  That spells opportunity as the new format debuts for corporate brand pages.

Timeline, essentially a “story of your life” in a linear narrative, reorganizes Facebook posts into cohesive content flow, punctuated with notable achievements and significant events.  If that sounds familiar, it’s because PR professionals practice the art of storytelling every day.  Yet, editors often don’t agree that client milestones are newsworthy (and frankly, many are not).

Facebook’s Timeline will provide an excellent alternative. Now, instead of publishing random bits and pieces of information, brands can communicate their full storyline, putting events and activities into context.

Here are four great ways to use Timeline for brand storytelling:

Establish History and Heritage. Mark important moments in your client’s corporate history, from founding through expansion through IPO or other significant mile markers.  Whether an anniversary or historical anecdote, this type of content humanizes a brand and endears it to the end user. It’s these types of stories that mirror milestones in our own lives.

Signal Expansion and Growth. Timeline solves the challenge of issuing personnel press releases that ultimately only generate minimal mentions. Now brands can celebrate new hires much like consumers tag people to mark a relationship.  Sharing new hires not only helps to pull back the curtain on who’s who at a company, but it also signals expansion and growth.

Share Awards and Accolades. Client awards usually score coverage in trades, but unless they’re major national wins, they more often get the editorial cold shoulder. Timeline lets PR professionals publicize client awards in the context of brand history. Through Timeline, awards will now become a chapter in the larger story of client achievement and success.

Build Enthusiast Community. Details about what will happen to current Tabs are still shrouded in mystery, but it’s likely that the new Timeline format will do away with them in favor of custom apps, just as it has for individual users.  As a result, PR professionals will be able to create applications that share brand passion with customers and prospects via existing enthusiasts.  For instance, a custom app like Nike Running connects one enthusiast to another, helping to build brand community and shared passion.

Facebook’s new Timeline for Brands will be an excellent new storytelling tool for PR pros – and yes, for once you’ll control the headline and content.

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