One thing was notably absent from last week’s F8 conference, any discussion of Facebook Pages and how these might change. To date these have looked very similar to individual’s profiles but with the launch of the new Timeline, these now have diverged dramatically. There’s no nice way of saying this – Facebook Pages now look old and behind the times compared with the new Timeline. As a social media agency working with brands, we’re actually disappointed. There is so much scope for creativity with Timelines we’d love Pages to be structured in the same way. And they’re not.
This now stands out as a real weakness within Facebook – Brand Pages should be a place that brands (if relevant to them) can express themselves in a creative way just as Profiles are for members.
A second important change in the role of the Brand Page is Open Graph and what this means for the next generation of Facebook apps. Apps, and especially how they work with the new Timeline, mean that there is significant value for Brands to develop ways to connect people through actions that they do. It is less about developing the definitive destination page for your brand or for a topic, now it is more about facilitating activities, conversations and events through an app. For Brands using Facebook creatively, they may now find that apps are more useful than Pages.
So the Brand Page is dead, right?
Well possibly. But probably not. I find it unlikely that Facebook will leave Pages exactly as they are. The creative power of the Timeline is too much for brands to be denied the chance to use it. Apps are useful, but brands that have spent time, effort and (often) money building their audiences on Facebook will want to continue to work with these people. It is true that the new generation of Facebook apps offer real change and new ways for people to interact with each other and for brands to use Facebook to engage their audience. But I predict new Pages for Brands within the next few months, new ways to engage your audience around content and discussions as well as around apps and activity.
Watch this space.