Did you know the Gap clothing store originated in 1969 because founder Don Fisher could not find a pair of jeans that fit? WIth one post, the Gap’s Facebook Timeline shared the business’ beginnings and endeared me to it (who does not have problems with jeans).
In the past few months, my research focused on small business social media accounts. Regardless of the type of business, about 99% have neglected to develop the new Facebook Page Timeline and are missing out on a huge opportunity to connect with their audience and capture leads.
When the new Facebook Timeline was released earlier this year, it was assumed businesses would take advantage of the new features. But surprisingly enough, big brands are the ones utilizing the Timeline, when small businesses could benefit the most.
The Timeline was created to be a template for professionals and businesses to tell their story and humanize themselves through personal connections and the sharing of private information.
Let’s talk about why the Timeline is so important and what it can do for small businesses.
Why is the Timeline so important?
1. Everyone loves a good story.
There is something about a personal story that always touches our soul, no matter how technologically advanced society becomes. The story may be told through a new medium, but in essence, it is still the story that captivates.
When it comes to business, the audience wants to know how a product was invented and by whom or how a particular service was created and by whom. Nowadays, people want to make personal connections to the brands they use most.
The Timeline was meant to craft this connection through the tale of your business. The idea, the beginning, the setbacks, victories and the growth – they are the human elements that form lasting ties with the audience.
By leaving the story blank, followers cannot understand the business history or what it may have taken to get it off the ground. It is one of the most powerful marketing instruments available if implemented correctly.
2. Visuals pack a punch.
With social networks such as Pinterest, Instagram and Fancy taking off, it is apparent the future of social media marketing is in everything visual. Whether it is pictures, designs or videos – if followers see it they are more likely to share it, like it and get excited about it.
By filling out the Timeline with previous and timely visuals, the audience gets a portrait of what the business is, what it overcame and how it changed.
3. Make them fall in love.
There are few things a business can share with its audience to truly excite them, besides a contest or promo. Audiences want to connect, not just follow – and they want a good reason to follow your business.
Consumers are becoming numb to online advertising and the barrage of companies slamming specials into every available nook and cranny. They want something genuine from businesses, and it can be given through the Timeline.
The timeline enables a business to separate itself from the competition, to show consumers why they want to be loyal and give them a reason to stick around. The personal story of any business wins every time.
How to do it?
1. Start from the beginning.
Think back – what was the beginning like? Where did it come from? Why? Did the business building need to be renovated? Start out on a fold-up desk?
Beginnings are interesting because they are a rich piece of history – even if history began in your living room.
Start with Founded on the Timeline and add a picture and summary of the beginning. Maybe a building in the midst of construction, a tired employee painting walls or business card, and share it.
Start from the beginning and work forward to the present.
2. Add in Milestones from company history.
Ever wanted to shout good news from a mountaintop? It is possible with Milestones. Marking important content as a Milestone expands it the width of the page and ensures fans see it.
It is an excellent way to announce company changes, birthdays, new products, or something of significance for the business on a particular day.
Think back to the beginning – remember the first big client? The first sale? The first dinner served? Have any pictures commemorating those memories? If the pictures are from another century, scan them into a computer or go to a photo center to be transferred onto a disc.
Followers will enjoy reading through an interactive Timeline of the business, and it will be fun to relive old accomplishments.
3. Don’t be afraid to be intimate.
For every business the line of comfortable intimacy is going to be different, but it should not be feared – it should be utilized. The more in-depth and intimate a business gets with their clientele, the more loyal the clientele feel.
Do not be afraid to post a picture of everyone exhausted on a Monday and caption it with, “We are struggling!” And sharing moments outside of the business timeline are a great idea, especially for personal businesses.
Tips for an engaging Timeline
1. Utilize the cover picture.
The cover picture is the first thing the audience lays eyes on and it should be a vibrant representation of the business. It must capture their attention and interest them – visually.
Put in serious time to make Milestones stand out. Use high definition pictures and make sure to add information about the event and why it is important. Also, horizontal pictures will upload with the best quality.
To “star” a post simply means to Highlight it. This is similar to a Milestone, except it is not necessarily a moment in time.
Pinning a post to the top is an excellent way to keep certain information in front of the followers, like a promo, special, upcoming event or introduction. Utilize pins when there is something important that needs to stay at the top of the Timeline. It will move down after a week, but can be repinned.
4. Add in a bit of humor.
This may be a personal opinion, but a fun page is a page I want to visit often. Adding in hilarious moments, goofy pictures, industry-specific cartoons, funny videos or jokes can go a long with fans. It shows them there is much more to the brand than just wanting to get inside their wallet or purse. As a wise person said, laughter is the best medicine.
So, ready to fill out the business timeline? Have any questions or comments – feel free to share below.