Moving Past Facebook Tabs

In a little over a week, Facebook will officially announce the introduction of Timeline for Pages at the first ever fMC Marketing event in New York City. While this will take some time to roll out to all pages, businesses should start to think about how Facebook will fit into their overall communications strategy for the next year.

What does this mean for brands and their presence on Facebook? For starters, the look and feel will move to the more storybook-inspired Timeline. Since Facebook first introduced Pages for Businesses, they have been an extension of, and in many cases, a replacement of a website. Now, social applications are the future.

It’s no coincidence that Facebook launched Timeline back in October with partners like Nike+ and Spotify. In the future custom tabs will most likely take the form of boxes like these do on the timeline, but Facebook is definitely encouraging brands to develop applications using the open graph now. Not only does it create more personal and relevant content for each user, but brands are rewarded with a wealth of insights about their customers, and the ability to target them in the future through ads.

For many brands and organizations, the cost to develop custom applications is just too high. It’s no secret that this move definitely increases the cost to play on Facebook, but there are already a number of ways to take advantage of a multitude of existing social applications to bolster your plan.

Video
The amount of video content moving online is increasing by the minute. 48 hours of video are uploaded to Youtube every minute, resulting in nearly 8 years of content uploaded every day.
You can use video to dominate search results while creating longer engagement with your audience.
Video still looks great inside Facebook, that won’t change.

Photos
Sites like Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest have reintroduced a more visual experience on the web. While Facebook pictures have always been a key element to their success, these other niche sites provide a new opportunity to connect your community to one another.

Blogs
People are growing more comfortable reading articles online, so create a destination to satisfy people’s desire to click off Facebook and read some more about you or your company.

This is space you can own, branded the way you want it to, and can drive conversations about the goods, services, or ideas that you’re looking to share.

Search is key, so a well-maintained blog strategy can serve your business well when it comes to web traffic.

Drill down your company into key words or phrases. One way to start is to create word dumps of anything and everything one could possibly say or think when it comes to your community. Write or type all those words.

Public Relations
Certain newspapers are more prominent that others on the Facebook social graph. By targeting creative pitches to these forward thinking media outlets, there are opportunities to have your name or story bounced around the social web much more than a traditional placement.

Other
Sites like Spotify, Soundcloud, Turntable.fm and more offer interesting opportunities for those with a creative mind and a creative brand. Use other social sites that are already playing nicely with Facebook to bring different experiences to your users.
For example:
Host podcasts on Soundcloud so your Facebook fans can open the audio file right on their mobile device as they go. Use the same soundcloud file and embed it on your blog/site.
Create themed rooms inside Turntable.fm and invite fans to share a common experience like listening to music.

Facebook is neither the beginning nor the end of the social web. It’s simply another communication channel that has intensified the acceptance of interacting and sharing online. It’s behavioral. The goal now for businesses should be to identify the community they are trying to serve, and understand their needs, wants and desires.

If your goal is to sell, then sell by all means, but do it while offering true value. We all should aspire to better our communities, which in turn will better everyone.

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