How Will Timeline Work on Facebook Pages?

As Facebook Timeline has been rolled out for individual profiles, there has been much talk about whether Timeline will also be a reality for brand Pages and when this will happen. Usually whenever new features have been rolled out for Profiles, this will eventually also be adapted to Pages, as they are of course similar in many ways.

According to Facebook (via Mashable), Timeline for Pages will NOT become a reality in the near future, as they are more focused on adjusting Timeline for profiles at the moment. However, As Facebook also wishes to make a consistent experience in both functionality and appearance, my guess is that it is a matter of time before Timeline will also be implemented for brand pages.

And what will this mean for Pages? First of all, Timeline will be a huge shift in the way we experience Pages and how content is displayed. But we also have to remember that most people view content in their Feed and not on the actual Page. So the new Timeline design will mainly have an impact on those those who are visiting a Page for the first time, maybe deciding whether to Like or not. And in those cases, to have a powerful look and feel of the page can be crucial.

With the cover photo, brands will get better opportunity to showcase their products, services or to emphasize their visual identity to the user. In general, Timeline gives more opportunities of displaying visual content as it is possible to use the entire width of the two colums. And just as in the case of individual profiles, brands would probably benefit to from going through their Timeline to decide what pieces of content to emphasize. With Timeline, it will probably also be possible to add content back in time – for instance adding photos to a previous event.

Having this said, most people engage with Pages is through the News Feed, which means that those who already Like your page would rarely or never visit your Page as they are more interested in the updates you make. So to have an impact on your fans, not much will change: it is still about creating meaningful and engaging content for your users.

Let us know if you have any input on Timeline for Pages – how do you think it will work?

Get Ready for the Bots – on Facebook Messenger

2Facebook Messenger was released 5 years ago and now has over 900 million users. Originally receiving a flood of negativity towards a standalone messaging app, compared to one simple Facebook app, users seem to be warming to it. The decision to make it standalone does make a lot of sense, since messaging is a big part of people’s lives nowadays and Facebook even bought the domain messenger.com to launch a version for web browsers last year. Their 900 million users will more than likely be merged with Whatsapp’s 1 billion users, which means that Facebook will have the personal phone number of every single user – sounds like $19 billion well spent.

 

Open for Business

So that’s humans covered. Where to go next? Facebook is now venturing into their next Messenger-based project: bots. If you haven’t been keeping up, Facebook launched Messenger Platform last month, which holds within it, chatterbots. Luckily, these bots are not machine learning bots, such as the disaster that was Microsoft’s Tay. They do have some humorous replies if provoked but they ultimately steer the conversation back to the subject they’re designed to cater for. Thanks to their highly advanced Send/Receive API, these bots are able to reply with actual structured messages, including links, images, hotel reservations, the weather etc. You may immediately compare this to Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Google Now and Amazon Echo, but what sets bots on Messenger apart is the fact that businesses can develop them, which in turn gives them another way to develop customer service. Simply put, bots could end up changing the world by replacing humans in such job sectors. Without the bespoke customer service integration that Messenger bots provide, the above voice-activated services will most likely not be able to solve business-related queries themselves. Having said that, the way bots behave is very reminiscent of the way Siri does. Maybe they’ll talk to each other one day and we’ll get the best of both.

 

Customer Service and Added Value

So how can these bots work for brands? Well, eventually, every major company in the world will have an account, which will be a first port of call when contacting their company. The reason this is almost definite is due to Facebook’s already-mammoth-sized network of users. It doesn’t get any bigger than Facebook when advertising to individual people, so connecting Messenger bots (as customer sales reps, for example) is extremely attractive. Messenger codes, one of many things taken from Snapchat, will also make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers. One industry example is how bots will almost certainly change how banking works for the consumer, replacing an app or web-based system with a dialogue with a machine that is able to understand your every need. The option to send money within Messenger itself is highly likely too, like Snapchat allows. This could also eliminate the hassle of speaking to a bank’s voice recognition system when calling by telephone – no more time (and money) wasted by the dreaded “I didn’t catch that. Please try again.” These voice recognition systems are essentially bots done badly, but they’re based on voice, which is a lot more difficult to translate into zeros and ones. Plus, you cannot autocorrect your voice (yet). I can see this whole system being replaced by bots – it could even connect you to a human advisor with ease, as you’re most likely already using your phone. Even if you’re using the desktop version or Facebook Chat, I’m sure they’ll figure something out. Besides banks, what other markets will benefit from this? Restaurants, travel and possibly supermarkets with online shopping services are big industries for it to thrive. The healthcare industry could also be a large portion – Healthtap have already created their bot, which isn’t surprising considering one of the first ever chatterbots was called DOCTOR and simulated a psychotherapist. In fact, the potential amount of markets are endless for this stream of interaction – just like it is with human customer service.

 

At the end of the day, customers are moving towards messaging as their preferred choice of customer service. And as generations progress, it will no doubt become the standard – a phone call will most likely be reserved for long, meaningful conversations with friends and family, which in turn will add even more meaning to them. The phone call will no longer be taken for granted, but talking to robots will be.