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How the New Facebook Timeline is Changing the Face of Community Management
By: Jennifer Stack
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The impending implementation of Facebook's Timeline is almost upon, and on March 30 Community Managers globally will have no choice but to embrace the new page functionality. Smart community managers have been strategizing their new layout looks in preview mode, materializing changes without publishing and within the seven-day limit on public viewing.
Timeline brings many new features to be leveraged by brands with a content strategy and an image-heavy advertising aesthetic or product. It places great emphasis on displaying visuals, which is why community managers should devote significant resources to creating highly captivating and brand-orientated visuals to capitalize on their new Facebook real estate.
Additionally, highlighting milestones per year is a functionality that enables community mangers to truly tell the story of their brand, convey its historical essence, and build its brand equity with consumers through nostalgia and heritage. This doesn’t mean that you have to delete all your previous posts; it simply means you need to choose or add posts and indicate their significance in order to make them represent the year when a consumer fan scrolls through the Timeline story of your brand.
Deciding which content piece, whether it is a strictly copy, an image, a video, or a URL link to pin at the top of your Facebook Timeline is an important decision as it will be viewed almost immediately by fans and understood to be carefully selected by the brand as a very important piece of messaging. This item should have relevance for a certain duration of time and once it is no longer contextually acceptable, community managers can unpin the item and let it drift in the Timeline.
The most important and quite possibly easiest aspect of the new Facebook Timeline is the Cover Photo and corresponding Facebook picture, which must adhere to pre-defined dimensions in order to be uploaded by community managers. This visual is the single most important messaging on the page, as it is given the most real estate and will be the most visually captivating due to sheer size and central positioning.

Consideration by Community Managers will be reflected within the order and display of the apps within the Timeline, assigning real estate corresponding to the importance of the formerly named tabs, now apps.  
While tactically many of the changes will be easily and quickly implemented, the strategy required by community managers and the user experience guidance required to ease fans into the new Timeline pages will be exhaustive at first. Thankfully, Facebook has created a new and perfectly legal fan page with private messaging functionality. Pages can privately message a fan once the fan has made initial contact. This will facilitate clean Timelines and a much better Community Manager and Fan experience.

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About the Author
Jennifer Stack is a Social Media Strategist at a digital advertising agency. She was a 2011 Notable.ca YP Social Media Finalist. International Marketing Communication, MA. International Marketing Strategy, MSc. LinkedIn + Twitter.
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