Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Facebook Timeline is increasing engagement, but why?

Since the end of March, I’ve been wondering how the forced transition to Facebook Timeline for brand pages would affect end-user engagement. In my mind, three possibilities stood out: (a) nothing would change, (b) engagement would decrease because of end-user frustration and (c) engagement would increase – either because of a positive reaction to the new format or because they were trying to figure it out.

Intuitively, (a) didn’t make sense to me. A significant change, intended to shake things up (and highlight photos), had to have an impact. So, it came down to (b) or (c). Since people are hooked on Facebook, (c) struck me as the more plausible alternative. And, that seems to be the case.


According to a new eMarketer blog post, citing research by social media measurement company Simply Measured, engagement (as measured by comments and likes) increased 46 percent in the three weeks following the forced migration to Facebook Timeline. Keep in mind, however, that only 15 brand pages were evaluated.

Interestingly, likes are up, but other forms of engagement haven’t followed suit. Simply put, people are liking pages, but they are less likely to interact with specific content. This suggests that it’s been tougher for users to find and respond to posts on walls (and in custom tabs) in this new format.

In the B2B marketing space, which didn’t seem well represented in the studies cited by eMarketer, Facebook Timeline could mean some new opportunities. Sites with more than 10 million fans were hit hardest by the transition, and those with fewer than 1 million fans appear to have benefitted most. Obviously, B2B companies tend to fall into the latter category.

So, the challenge now becomes taking advantage of this new format for communicating with your target market. How can you use Facebook Timeline to communicate more effectively? Here are a few ideas:

It’s all about the visual: photos and imagery may feel like “consumer” marketing opportunities, but if you broaden your thinking, you’ll see the benefits in B2B marketing. For example, highlighting Facebook Timeline posts with charts can grab the attention of your visitors and demonstrate your firm’s data prowess.

Pin your best stuff: you can stick (or “pin”) a post at the top of your Facebook Timeline for up to seven days. Use this to make sure people see original research or a link to a big report or study.

Blog feed versus direct posting: photos pulled in from a blog feed will not be big. So, it makes sense to post charts, for example, separately. You get two bites at the apple, and you’ll make your data-driven visuals easier to find (and engage with).

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Source: eMarketer

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