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Facebook’s new Timeline format doesn’t officially go live for brand pages until March 30th, but there’s always a few who can’t wait to try new things out. In fact, 8m have already made the switch. 

Timeline marks a fundamentally different approach to marketing on Facebook for many brands, with more emphasis on images and genuine engagement on the wall.

We asked our Facebook fans and Twitter followers to help us highlight some of the best examples of cover photos, milestones, and general best practice we could find.

We've limited this list to major companies in a variety of sectors, but it would be great to hear about smaller businesses connecting with customers via Timeline - so feel free to highlight any others in the comments.

1. Fanta 

Coca-Cola group is no stranger to Facebook (more on its main page later in the list), and its page for Fanta is no exception - starting things off with a big, bright image that also promotes the current advertising campaign.  

By promoting the campaign, the page also encourages fans arriving on the Timeline to “like” the page subtly, being sure to avoid Facebook’s stringent new rules about this. 

Fanta also has one of the best examples of custom app images –something many brands haven’t yet attempted – with clear, colourful graphics and some nice engagement tactics, encouraging fans to play games, spread the word and generally become more socially embedded.

One slightly odd feature here is Fanta’s choice to promote multiple language content through a single page, rather than localising more effectively - but again, it’s big, bright and engaging. Even if you have no idea what a ‘Boton Irresistable’ actually is…

2. NY Times

The NY Times could have chosen a slightly clearer cover pic, but its choice really highlights the feeling of an internal family of workers, putting a crucial human face on things. 

https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0001/7207/nyt_1-blog-full.jpg

The NYT also scores well for its Timeline content, which stretches all the way back to the 1800s and is crammed full of some amazing photography and important stories that really push the paper’s heritage. 

3. Burberry

Timeline is great for promoting images, so it would be remiss not to include at least one fashion brand on this list.

Burberry was one of the first brands to switch, having been allowed to prepare for launch by Facebook. As such, it's been getting a lot of love on its page because of it.

Simple, stylish images welcome you to the page, while the Timeline highlights some fascinating examples of classic advertising through the years.

This classic outerwear ad with its images of the golden age of air travel was one of our favourites:

So far, Burberry doesn't have many apps, but the ones it does are well thought out - with special props going to the video-heavy ‘Acoustic’ app that features a variety of folksy tunes for fans to get their eardrums into.

4. Captain Morgan USA

Everyone loves pirates, so there was no way we could leave The Captain out.

Especially since the rum-drenched US Facebook page contains over 200 years worth of ridiculous images of buccaneering and high-seas hijinks. 

As well as some great custom content on the Timeline, Captain Morgan also has great app offerings.

We particularly liked the ‘Rumpedia’, which collects existing and fan-made cocktail recipes for you to try at home (Please buckle your swash in a responsible manner). It’s a nice way to collate and promote user-generated content and encourage sharing. 

There’s also some nice video content, though much like many other brands, the page doesn’t yet take full advantage of Facebook’s new larger format pages. 

5. Subway

Even those of us that have grabbed a day-old footlong on the way home after a night out would be hard pressed to guess the rich history of sandwich supremo Subway.

With a Timeline packed with great images (that’s the first use of the name ‘Subway’ below), its page concentrates on the growth of the company, and really backs up the ‘every sandwich tells a story’ tagline.  

https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0001/7219/subway_2-blog-full.jpg

Apps promote offers, allow you to build your dream sub (and who doesn’t have one of those?), give gifts and more. 

6. Starbucks 

Given Starbucks' truly huge presence on Facebook, it would be surprising if it hadn’t done something worth checking out - and the new page doesn’t disappoint.

While the cover is all about the coffee itself, the page includes local content and reflects the intimacy of having a coffee with friends.

Updates are heavy on visuals, with regular pictures from local branches:

There's also a local store finder, a map crammed with locations (who knew that there were more branches in London than New York?), individual pages by country - and even an app letting would-be baristas search for local jobs.

Overall, the page is a fantastic example of a global company tapping into localised marketing. 

7. Macy’s 

Packed full of images and offers, Macy’s has done a great job with its apps.

The catalogue pages really pop, while the gift registry is convenient and has viral potential for engaged couples keen to share their upcoming nuptials with all and sundry (and hopefully get a free toaster or two in the process).

We were also impressed by the Twitter tab, as we're a strong believer in the ‘don’t cross the streams’ theory within Facebook.

Here it’s done well, showing off what’s happening without mass-spamming fan's walls. 

Macy's clearly put Facebook at the heart of its social strategy, with links to useful features and seamless tie-ins to other channels. 

8. Ford Motors

Although the cover picture of the company's headquarters might be a little dry, Ford excels by having great content on display that explores the company history from Model T to supercharged GT500.

There are some lovely archive pics included as well, which shows off Ford’s lengthy racing history and acts as a rich source of wallpaper material for fans.

Plus, there’s a nice selection of badges for owners to declare their allegiance to Mustang, Mondeo or Escort.

Ford's individual product pages really deserve the majority of the kudos here though, with Mustang’s design and battle app a particular favourite:

Who wouldn’t want to crash headlong into their friend's new car?

Well, no, me neither, but it’s still fun and helps encourage interaction while drawing the user into a deeper social experience. 

9. Coca-Cola

We mentioned Coke earlier on, but it's worth looking at the soft drink’s main page.

A clear cover image and instantly recognisable product as a profile picture helps create something engaging, as does Coke’s willingness to interact with its community.

There are apps sharing personal experiences and messages of happy coke-fuelled times, smiling polar bears aplenty, and an easy way to share a bottle of carbonated vegetable stuff with your nearest or dearest.

Everything is designed for maximum feel good factor, not to mention yet another rich company history including some truly iconic advertising (take a bow Santa). 

10. Old Spice

Unsurprisingly, Old Spice takes a slightly surreal and very funny angle to its Timeline design.

Apps allows you to pit Fabio and Isaiah Mustafa against each other, watch videos about bears with 'B.O.', and in one of the few examples of f-commerce we’ve seen within the Timeline - even buy a horse-themed t-shirt.

The Timeline itself is a wonderfully weird journey through an imaginary brand history, featuring one-eyed big cats, fighter jets, space travel and other equally ludicrous ‘manly’ pursuits.

It's thoroughly entertaining, and every piece of content is designed to be as viral as possible.

By the end of the month, every page will be using the new Timeline format - so make sure you're prepared for the change.

We've published a quick overview of the layout already, and hopefully these pages (and a few others we've covered previously) will give you some great ideas.

As mentioned earlier, there are around 8m brand pages that have already switched, so we've probably missed some sterling work. Let us know about any other great examples you've seen in the comments below. 

Matt Owen

Published 26 March, 2012 by Matt Owen

Matt Owen was formerly Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or hook up on LinkedIn.

203 more posts from this author

Comments (28)

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Seventy Nine PR

Love these. As people get more familiar with timeline expect some quirky cover photos. In particular brands and businesses combining their cover photo with the logo.

over 4 years ago

Andy Williams

Andy Williams, Digital Marketing Manager at Koozai

It is going to be really interesting to see how timelines evolve in the next few months the more they are used.

over 4 years ago

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Ruth A. Douthitt

Very nice! Gives me some ideas for my book FB page...

over 4 years ago

Jo Scott

Jo Scott, Senior Web Manager at Lloyd's of London

Check out our 300 year timeline for Lloyd's of London http://www.facebook.com/lloyds.

over 4 years ago

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Pushkar

Very nice !

over 4 years ago

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Neale Gilhooley

Great examples, thanks, but easier for the big brands to create.

Does anyone have examples of how smaller companies have used their FB Timelines? Perhaps with more creativity and imagination due to more modest budgets.

over 4 years ago

Matt Owen

Matt Owen, Head of Social at Econsultancy

Thanks for commenting all - good example from Lloyds there Jo :)

@Neale - We've continued to ask our users for examples over on Twitter, and there's some good examples from Brewdog, TooWay, Chess London, Aegon Classic, Livestrong, Sharpie and many more, so it's good to see some smaller brands getting involved as well. I don't think it's necessarily a case of budget, but if you have a 200 year history, you're definitely more likely to have more material to fill out your timeline with!

I'm looking forward to seeing more brands making the most of custom app images and functionality as things progress - we'll be sure to update this list after the big switch later this month...

over 4 years ago

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Charlotte

Thank you for this selection, however I would have to disagree with Starbucks, Macy's, Old Spice and Ford. The content isn't great, a lot of text and a lack of historical images doesn't make for a good timeline. It would have been more interesting if you had not just used large global companies and looked at other brands who are using the timeline creatively. Just because a large company has changed to timeline doesn't mean they are using it well.
The one I surprisingly enjoyed the most was Subway, the old photos and adverts told me a story behind a brand that I was not familiar with. Also I am quite bored of Burberry being the forerunner of all things fashion on Social Media platforms, just because they are the first doesn't mean they are the best. I enjoy the history on their timelines, however their posts and same old campaign images on each platform is quite boring.

over 4 years ago

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Matthew Knight

D&AD have just launched their timeline, to celebrate their 50th anniversary, which is a good example of a non-commercial charitable organisation using it well.

They're building it up over time too, I think they're encouraging people who've been involved in the organisation over its history to add their 2p.

http://www.facebook.com/DandADuk

over 4 years ago

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Colleen

I'd love to create custom apps for the pages I admin @Matt Owen but have been told, and as far as I see, the most reliable creator to use, pagemodo, only lets you create for one page at a time. I can't tell one company that theirs is free and others that they must pay? Also, I'm nervous to do this as another company who used these apps to create custom tabs had to regain all their likes! YIKES!

over 4 years ago

Matt Owen

Matt Owen, Head of Social at Econsultancy

Hi Colleen, there's lots of app/tab creation services available, Wix, Shortstack, SocialBakers and others provide services that allow you to create for multiple pages. These are all paid based on number of pages and size of fan base, but there are also free options available which should help.

You can also create apps directly within iFrames, or use something like the static HTML app to create apps for your page.

over 4 years ago

Oliver Ewbank

Oliver Ewbank, Digital Marketing Manager at Koozai

I think the business page timelines provide a great insight into a companies history.

over 4 years ago

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joycyjoy

Hi Colleen, it is a very insightful article, thanks for the examples.

I have one comment or one question about Fanta apps images: you wrote:

"One slightly odd feature here is Fanta’s choice to promote multiple language content through a single page, rather than localising more effectively - but again, it’s big, bright and engaging. Even if you have no idea what a ‘Boton Irresistable’ actually is…"

Is it possible to geolocalise the custom apps images? I though it wouldn't be possible, that is why Fanta had to create one app image for each one of its country target.

Otherwise, another solution would be to have one general app image in English for instance, and when you click on it, the content is then geolocalized.. but not the app image displayed on the timeline.

If anyone has the answer, it would be super great!

thanks

over 4 years ago

Matt Owen

Matt Owen, Head of Social at Econsultancy

Hi Joy, this has actually come up a couple of times recently, and I have to admit I really don't know. Our research suggests that localised pages work better than one huge global site for many brands, so this would possibly be the best answer for Fanta -one English page, one Spanish, or as you suggest, geolocalised content.

If anyone has any insight on any tools that would help with this, or how they've managed this it would be great to hear about them.

over 4 years ago

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DKD

I really like the ones that the picture is an extension of the cover photo! Thanks for sharing this I will definitely be drawing some inspiration from here as I redesign my timeline!

over 4 years ago

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Jossef

great, just great and give great ideas of how to brand your facebook timeline

over 4 years ago

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Sureshot Commodity Tips

you have any idea for small companies have used their FB Timeline.

over 4 years ago

Simone Kurtzke

Simone Kurtzke, Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Robert Gordon University

Matt et al. -

Perhaps our page would serve as an appropriate example for a smaller brand using Timeline effectively?

We only have 37,565 fans but consistently high engagement / talking about this.

https://www.facebook.com/visitscotland

We also have international pages - our social brand in continental Europe is 'Love Scotland' - the phrase translated to our key market languages. Our own research showed that this works exceptionally well, so would support your point, Matt.

If there is a follow up or you need 'case study material', please be in touch (via @visitscotland) - happy to assist :)

Simone

over 4 years ago

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Knight Frank

Wow, kudos to the researcher who seems to have spent a considerable LACK of time researching by plucking the biggest companies in the world from his/her post it notes instead of looking a little bit deeper to show that you don't have to be Coke to have captured the essence of the FB timeline.

over 4 years ago

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KSingh - Web Designer, London

There has been an explosion of great visually appealing brand pages on Facebook since the launch of the new timeline. Personally, I think that in many ways the concept of a cover page has simplified the process of custom branding your Facebook page. It has become much easier to do so as if you think of it, all we now need to do is upload a cover photo and a profile inset. No need to mess around with apps or tab plugins just to create a branded page.

over 4 years ago

Matt Owen

Matt Owen, Head of Social at Econsultancy

@Knight, thanks for your comment, I realise the examples here are some of the larger brands (and we've discussed this previously in comments - thanks for your examples all). This post was posted before the official switchover, so I deliberately chose larger brands as they were, for the most part, the first to fully optimise their Timelines.

I agree that any company can make the most of Timeline, whatever the size. We maintain a smaller page ourselves and have noticed a large increase in interaction there since switching over.

When authoring the recent 'Facebook for Business' best practice guide (http://bit.ly/INWbmJ), I took care to include a variety of brands and businesses from different sectors and of varying sizes. These examples illustrate best practice, but just because they are larger, this doesn't mean that what they've done is unattainable by smaller businesses.

For some slightly small and mid size brands and pages doing interesting things, have a look at:

1: Pret: http://www.facebook.com/pretamanger

2: Cath Kidson:
http://www.facebook.com/cathkidstonltd

3:SnapRetail: http://www.facebook.com/snapretail

4: Off Broadway: http://www.facebook.com/baroffbroadway

5:Obeo: http://www.facebook.com/SayObeo

6: Flying Pie Pizza: http://www.facebook.com/flyingpie

(And given your comment I'd be remiss if I missed out Post-It ;) http://www.facebook.com/postit )

Not all of these are technically perfect, or have completely updated their Milestones, but they all understand the importance of community and have taken time to optimise their pages and maintain interaction.

Thanks again all for your comments

Matt

over 4 years ago

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Tiff

here is what I have done with my pages
using simple programs such as GIMP and Ms Paint

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Crazy-Critters/107019696023370

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Drawing-on-Ms-Paint/152369381462769

over 4 years ago

Mobilapegustultau.ro - Mobila la comanda

Mobilapegustultau.ro - Mobila la comanda, Personal at Personal

The timeline feature for Facebook is going to create a whole new world of possibilities for companies. They will have a much easier time to market their products and show a better history of the company. The large photo can help the company seem more personal.

over 4 years ago

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David Boyd

A serious amount of effort has been put into those pages. Hats off.

over 4 years ago

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nasirmahmood

i shall look into it

about 4 years ago

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Dhansukh

good to know about all these great works. Promotion through FB is great. Just one has to put great efforts.

about 4 years ago

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Drew

Great post. We are taking some influence and working on our facebook page. Really appreciate the insight. Take a look at our site and let me know your thoughts. Always grateful if you like us. Take care.

www.facebook.com/floatpointmedia

Drew

about 4 years ago

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Uzzeyel

Wow, these are definitely the top excellent examples, especially the Facebook pages that make sure their small pic lines up and fits in with their timeline.

almost 4 years ago

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