Timeline for Brands
Last fall when Facebook unveiled Timeline for personal profiles, I was excited but also a little apprehensive. After all, it was clear they would eventually migrate business accounts over to Timeline as well. I always liked Timeline, but wondered… what were they going to do with all of the custom landing pages that businesses have created? It was one of those things that would only be revealed in time.
I’ve always been a big fan of landing pages, and even wrote a blog post about them last year (read it here). Most people considered landing pages a best practice. Scores of businesses and graphic designers were making a living off designing and implementing Facebook landing pages. What would happen to those people? Surely, Facebook would find a solution that would allow these people to stay in business!
So when Facebook announced in late February that Timeline was being launched for business pages at the end of March, I was alarmed to learn the news that default landing pages were going away. (And don’t call me Shirley.)
I’ve been watching over the last 2 weeks as Facebook and all of the other landing page vendors have tried to backpedal and act excited. (“You can still do landing pages!” “We are excited about the changes!” “They’re even MORE visible now!”)
It seems like the outcry over default landing pages was short-lived… maybe all of us in social media land have taken this message to heart: Facebook is an ever-changing organism, and they almost never listen to customer feedback, so get on with your life because there’s no point in whining.
I’ve always taken that message to heart (and wrote a blog about it last year). So why do I still feel like whining?
I am really going to miss these landing pages. After all, you could adjust your settings so this was the first thing that fans saw when they arrived on your page. You could design it however you wanted. You could use whatever message you wanted. Granted, most of the time the landing page was only seen by customers once… when they first came to your page and liked it. But still, it was a fantastic way to build “Likes” and therefore get your posts into the newsfeeds of your fans.
Yes, landing pages can still exist on your page, and yes, they will be slightly more visible as one of your custom apps beneath the cover photo (instead of a tiny image on the left). But nothing can require a potential fan or customer to view that landing page or to click “Like”. Actually, I take that back: if you use a 3rd party app and you purchase Facebook ads, you can send new fans to your landing page which will enable you to fangate (i.e. offer content that can only be viewed if people click “Like” on your page). Nonetheless, the simplicity of the old landing page system is gone, and Facebook has just given you yet another reason to feel compelled to buy Facebook ads.
No matter what Facebook and all of the other vendors say, nothing is going to replace default landing pages. Why would they throw away such a valuable tool? In fact, Facebook is feeling less and less business-friendly these days.
Cover Photo Craziness
Another example of Facebook’s less-than-friendly-to businesses policy is the cover photo. On the face of it, they sound and look great. Who wouldn’t love a huge banner with your commercial message across the top of your page? I had all kinds of ideas for what to do with mine… until Facebook announced all of the restrictions on cover photos: no commercial messages, no calls to action, no contact info. Yes, it does push people to be more creative, but really, what’s the point?
So now, as I try to advise my clients about how to capitalize on the Timeline layout, I’m trying to puzzle through it in my mind… how does all of this really benefit them? Should I suggest they stick with landing pages? What can we use for the cover photos?
I realize now this post has been more about venting than providing valuable info. But if any of you can explain why they honestly think all of these new changes are truly better for businesses, please comment below. I’d really like to get some other opinions.