Man U , Olympics, Burberry fast off their marks with Facebook's Timeline for brands

Facebook finally introduced its Timeline profile format for brands today at a marketers'conference in New York after rolling Timeline out to consumers beginning last September.

Manchester United: on the ball!

UK brands in the front line are Manchester United, Burberry, Dove and the Olympics. Check them out at www.facebook.com/manchesterunited, www.facebook.com/olympics, www.facebook.com/dove and www.facebook.com/burberry.

In the US Walmart and Red Bull are among the front runners. Just www.facebook.com/redbull gets you there or www.facebook.com/redbull. And don't miss the Coca Cola Timeline, with 40 million "likes", taking you all the way back to the 1890s: www.facebook.com/cocacola.

The brand pages are free , a spokeswoman confirmed but Facebook also has big ideas for increasing ad revenue. A new product, Reach Generator will let you pay for a guarantee that your Posts get to at least 75% of your fans each month. There is a new deal-driven marketing initiative dubbed Offers and,

starting immediately, Premium ads and Sponsored Stories can appear in mobile News Feeds

The new Timeline for Pages layout is quite like the consumer version. There is a vertical content timeline and a widescreen image on top of the page.

"The new features look to satisfy marketers’ concerns that content posted to Facebook has a short shelf life before it becomes lost in the chronological abyss," says AdWeek.

Companies can "star" posts to expand their appearance to widescreen - or "pin" posts to appear in Timeline’s top-left area for seven days.

Brands can also add to their pages what Facebook calls “milestones.” These content boxes can detail specific points in a brand’s history.

Beth McCabe,director of social marketing and technology at Digitas, said that "brands that post a lot of engaging content are really going to win here."

The influx of content, however, could also pose a challenge for marketers, she told AdWeek.

"Brands should remember that the new Timeline can show all of a page’s historical activity — both positive and negative".

So, said McCabe , brands should make sure that they understand what’s going to be shown and hide historical content that might reflect badly on the brand. “God knows nobody wants bad times being rehashed again,” she said.

Facebook will automatically update pages to the new format on March 30.

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