What brands can learn from Manchester United's Facebook Timeline


By The Drum Team, Editorial

March 1, 2012 | 3 min read

Manchester United was one of the first brands to unveil a Facebook Timeline yesterday. Tom Malcolm, head of consumer at Diffusion, tells us what we can learn from United's early adoption.

United's Facebook Timeline

The new Manchester United fan page for Timeline clearly shows the potential that Timeline offers pages with an extensive heritage. The archive provides a wide array, if selectively chosen, selection of photos from the club's history. (Note nothing happened in 1974, the year the club were relegated.)

While the page has an impressive level of content, the real challenge for the club will be how it uses this going forward. As when the first Timelines for pages launched for personal pages there is a certain novelty in looking back at history through the Timeline but what long term value this holds is questionable particularly when the majority of our interaction with brand content takes place through our newsfeeds.

The challenge for Manchester United as with many brands will be how they use apps as a way of getting fans to engage with the wider content on their timeline.

Red Bull have been one of the Timeline launch brands that have done this very well through their Red Bull Timeline Timewarp which acts as an online scavenger hunt where clues are hidden on Red Bull's new Facebook brand timeline. Fans have been given a starting clue that will lead them to other clues hidden within the timeline which will eventually provide a password to unlock prizes.

This strategy will undoubtedly make Facebook fan pages stickier, providing more value and engagement for brands as consumers spend longer on their pages.

Being first to market in this space, brands will be looking at both Manchester United and Red Bull carefully to learn lessons as they make their first steps into timeline.

Already it's clear that developing unique and engaging video and photo content for Timelines is going to be vital. However as the two pages demonstrate, brands need to have the longevity of that content at the forefront of their Timeline strategy if it's to provide significant value.


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