Facebook's new timeline functionality has won me over – the fluid way it enables you to interact with an individual or brand’s activity over time is a winner.
Timeline seems especially powerful for brands. There's an opportunity here to break free of dull "About Us" text, show a brand's history over time and showcase knowledge and authority to potential and existing customers. Content can include milestones in the company/product history as well as images of old branding and ad campaigns; neatly tapping into consumer nostalgia for the past, which often seems like an easier, better time – a good association for a brand to make.
Spotify are one brand that have embraced Facebook’s timeline successfully, creating an impressive history of music timeline. This provides the consumer with a fun, interesting music resource and creates content that can be shared, liked and commented on, building Spotify's social audience and brand awareness further.
This example got me thinking about LinkedIn. Reading individual or company profiles on the site always strikes me how "busy" the pages can feel – lots of text, thumbnail profile images and ads down the side. The layout of individual and company pages doesn't differ much and there's no real showcase for companies to lay out who they are beyond some text and a few images. It's no more than "another" profile page.
This is an opportunity for LinkedIn. Their site is a significant recruitment and research tool – and companies need a strong presence to convince candidates to work for them and prospective clients to get in touch. Many won't click-off to company websites when reviewing a number of jobs or companies; it's too time consuming. Companies need to sell themselves within the LinkedIn garden – and a timeline could be a core part of this, offering companies the chance to show milestones in the company's history as well as major training and social events that give a flavour of the company to both candidates and proactive clients using images and video (perhaps pulled in from YouTube). Training, team building and staff welfare are all topics asked about in interviews and new business RFPs.
LinkedIn can learn from Facebook's timeline and become more visual and interactive – therefore even more attractive to brand's advertising and recruitment budgets.
By Duncan Parry, COO, STEAK