How Will Facebook’s Timeline for Fan Pages Really Impact Engagement?

Timeline for Facebook Pages Affects EngagementI’ve been busy writing Facebook All-In-One for Dummies. With the rollout of the new Timeline design for Facebook Fan Pages, I’ve been scrambling to rewrite several chapters to reflect those changes. To do that, I’ve been watching video, reading articles, watching how brands are implementing Timeline, and so on. It’s pretty cool. But here’s the question I keep coming back to with regards to the info floating around about the new FB updates: What impact will Timeline have on Fan Pages for the long term? Before the update to Timeline, there was about a 90% chance that your fans NEVER came back to your Page unless you somehow directed them there (via a call to action + link) — they relied on the News Feed to get your updates.

Almost everything I’ve watched and have read keeps talking about how amazing the Timeline is for engagement and how the ability to Pin posts is awesome. But if your fans aren’t coming back to your page, what’s the use of pinning the post? What’s the use of the visual impact? I completely get that it’s HUGE for the first-time visitor and that brands like Red Bull and Fanta have already used this space very well with their scavenger hunts. I love that. But will the Timeline really change how you interact with Fan Pages?

Will you visit Fan Pages more often when they implement Timeline? Or do you think you’ll visit those pages when they first make the switch (probably because they direct you there — Hey! We’re we’ve switched to Timeline! Come check out the awesome!) and then return to relying on the News Feed for your interaction?

I’m curious. I’d love to know what you think. Leave me a comment with your thoughts, and, if you’re so inclined, share this post with your friends and invite them to weigh in as well. Thanks!

Creative Commons License photo credit: Kaptain Kobold

13 Responses

  1. Katie March 8, 2012 / 8:49 pm

    Timeline won’t make me any more likely as a reader to revisit a brand’s fan page. As a manager for a few brand pages though that doesn’t necessarily bug me as I’m not really losing anything. What I do like about the ability to Pin a post to the top though is when we get new people to the page who’ve not liked us yet, we have the ability to keep a post up top that invites their feedback or communicates a message that we want people who don’t know us yet to know. Instead of them coming and seeing multiple posts by the readers who do post to our page (which maybe don’t reflect the first impression message we want to convey) we’ll be able to ensure the first post they see is the one we want them to.

  2. Linda March 8, 2012 / 9:05 pm

    I think it’s going to be pretty minimal. I’ve already started ignoring everyone’s “Look! We have Timeline” posts because 1) everyone’s page will be Timelined soon, and 2) unless you have new content on your page that’s relevant when I get there, why do I care if your page has Timeline or not?

  3. Kellyology March 8, 2012 / 9:52 pm

    That’s an interesting question. And I think the quick answer is no. They won’t come back more often. However if a company does have some big message they want out there, they can make that post sticky or big & then use actionable items in their news feeds advertising products that can only be gotten in tabs (which aren’t called tabs anymore, right?) to bring fans back to their page & therefore making their messages last longer. So it’s going to be interesting to see if companies will do this and if the ROI on doing this will be worth it to them.

  4. Audra March 9, 2012 / 11:35 am

    No one wants to hear this, but I have unliked all the pages who are not my friends. I do not have time to read the FB posts, the emails and everything else I get from all the companies I ‘liked’. When I am ready to buy, then I will go shop, I don’t need it force fed to me.
    I just use FB to keep up with friends and family. I was just skimming past all the ‘crap’ posts which were the branded pages, to get to ‘the good stuff’ which were my friends updates and photos.

    Maybe I am unusual in this?

  5. Sue Surdam March 9, 2012 / 12:21 pm

    I rarely visit pages after I like them. I just follow them on my news feed. I hope that this doesn’t cause page owners to post even more frequently to get attention.

    I have already found that annoying enough to have created a list for my friends and pages I like to receive regular posts from that I use to filter my news feed.

  6. rob March 10, 2012 / 1:04 pm

    I do not want the timeline for my fan page. hate it. 🙁

  7. dave March 12, 2012 / 6:10 pm

    I have NO idea what y’all are discussing.
    I am researching the “BASICs” of blogging, and began with Google searching “blog 101”.
    As a grom-newbie, the FB Timeline topic is more of a grad school offering than a beginners course. Time for me to move on to another page.

  8. Melanie Nelson March 13, 2012 / 7:15 am

    Hi, Dave, I’m glad you dropped by. I can certainly understand that you were looking for some different information. Blogging Basics 101 has been around since 2007 and offers a lot of information for beginning bloggers: Check out the How Do I Start a Blog? tab at the top of the home page or go directly to the info here…

    Because BB101 has been around for so long, much of my loyal audience has been with me over the 5 years and they’ve grown from having questions about blogging to wanting more information about social media in general. I offer many different kinds of articles in an effort to meet different needs. I am actually working on a new site dedicated to social media called Social Media Basics 101 (, but it’s not quite ready yet. I hope to unveil that in the coming months so I can return BB101 to a focus on beginning and intermediate blogging. I hope you’ll give us another try. 🙂

  9. shana March 16, 2012 / 10:41 pm

    Just wondering if there is a setting that can be changed so that if someone wants to “like” or comment on a photo on my fan page, that they have to “like” the page first. Right now, people can comment and like anything but don’t have to like the page.

  10. Lollie - The Fortuitous Housewife March 16, 2012 / 11:38 pm

    Like many who have already posted their comments, I too rarely return to brand page after I have liked them., unless it is to post something specific to them.

  11. Lisa Nolan March 25, 2012 / 10:54 pm

    I also keep up with my FB likes/pages through my home feed… rather than going back to the FB pages, with or without the new timeline… but I take my (new) timeline page seriously, because it can mean the difference between someone new to me staying, liking, clicking, following, finding my blog, my webpage, my Pinterest (which I just learned how to link to in my timeline, ha!) or leaving ASAP! So get with the new timeline, and see if you can figure out how to put your Pinterest page in your FB timeline! (Hint, go here: from BTW.)

  12. Krithika March 26, 2012 / 1:39 pm

    I agree that fans will continue to consume content through the newsfeed, but at the same time Timeline can provide some interesting tactics (ala Fanta with Scavenger Hunt) to drive fans back to the page to “discover” content. But that can be just one off tactics not something that drives fans to the page everyday. One still needs to use promotions and incentivize fans with benefits such as in the case of Verizon. Its Facebook page features select fan photo as a cover photo with the fan as well. In the end it boils down to creating share-worthy content that brands must create to engage fans and reach their friends, which has been the case even now. It just got a lot more important!

  13. Sally Olson May 13, 2012 / 9:26 pm

    The timeline feature doesn’t encourage repeat visits to the fan page. I think it detracts from dynamic nature of FB, making things too static and less enticing.

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