TopRank Online Marketing
Ashley Zeckman

Facebook Timeline: How Target, Ford & Best Buy Embraced Change & Won

By Ashley Zeckman     Facebook, Online Marketing, Social Media

It has been nearly 2 months since the official launch of Facebook’s Timeline for Pages.  In that short amount of time Facebook has seen a lot of changes ranging from Facebook’s IPO, to the Pages Manager and new camera applications for mobile.

One of the most important factors when running an online marketing program is adaptability.  Sometimes we’re given a significant warning of a social media platform’s change or the changes have little impact on the marketing value of the platform.  But other times we may not be so fortunate.  With Facebook in particular, the landing pages and sub-pages that many companies were relying on were no longer available as a means of marketing to customers once the new timeline was implemented.

How well have companies adapted to the Facebook Timeline for Pages update? Here are 3 big brands (2 of which happen to be based here in Minnesota) that I think have done a great job.  There are always areas that can be improved upon but overall, these companies appear to be on the right track.

Best Buy – Keeping Customers Entertained

Best Buy’s Facebook page has a little something for everyone.  From music, to movies, to video games it’s all there.  The gaming subpage for example has a video featuring a new game, a poll for users to vote on their favorite, and a smattering of new releases.

Likes: 5,940,357


Standout Feature: Easy Access to What You Want
Best Buy has done a great job of providing subpages based on the interest of their customers.  One example is that of the gaming page.  This page previews a video featuring a new game, a poll for users to vote on their favorite aspect of the game, and a smattering of new releases available for purchase online and in-store.

Engagement Strategy
At first glance it appeared that Best Buy was not responding to some of the negative comments that have been posted on their page.  Then I realized that the majority of those comments were posted within the last hour.  I did a little extra research and found comments from earlier this morning (it is a holiday) and saw that they are consistently responding.  Some of the feedback is very negative but they have found a way to extend an offer to help the disgruntled customers.

Another item that stood out to me was that Best Buy is actually including printable coupons in some of their posts.  Customers can use the coupons in store to get deals on their favorite CD’s or games.  I thought this was an inventive way to utilize Facebook timeline posts to drive in-store traffic.

Area for Improvement
There is not much information regarding larger ticket items.  As a consumer I would typically turn to a place like Best Buy for larger purchases such as laptops, audio equipment, or gaming systems.  There may be a reason Best Buy has excluded these items but I think it could be a great platform for discussing specials on these more expensive items.

Target – Planning & Collaboration

Target Corporation’s Facebook page is all about planning ahead.  Whether it’s giving a gift to a friend or registering for your wedding, Target has everything under control.

Likes: 12,926,376

Standout Feature: Give A Gift With Your Friends
Target has developed a Facebook application that allows you and your friends to put money towards a giftcard for an individual.  Perhaps you’re all attending a wedding and want to go in on a present together, or don’t want to burden one person with all of the costs for a gift.

Wedding planning is also a differentiator on Target’s Facebook page. Target provides easy access to their online catalog and even offers 10% off of items from a couple’s registry that were not purchased by friends and family.

Engagement Strategy
One thing I really liked about this page was the integration of #TargetChat.  Not only users participate in a live chat but Target also archives and shares previous chats run by their company.

Area for Improvement
Target’s posts appear to be focused more on news releases than their customers.  I understand it can be difficult to find that balance between branding and outreach but I think Target could benefit from posting less news, and more information that will effectively engage current and potential customers.

Ford Motor Company – Sharing A Little Bit of History

Ford Motor Company takes a lot of pride in their organization’s long history.  Founded in 1903, you would be surprised at just how much this auto industry giant has documented over the years.

Likes: 1,513,894


Standout Feature: Today in Ford History
Ford has gone so far as to create a timeline that goes back all the way to their founding in 1903.  Any time a new car was created, or a significant event took place, Ford documents this information on their Facebook timeline.  This is definitely one of the most creative ways I have seen timeline used thus far.  Even if you aren’t a history buff, I’m sure you’ll find Ford’s approach interesting.

Engagement Strategy
One thing that Ford has implemented that I didn’t see much on the other two brands was explicit questions to their audience.  Ford runs a series of polls on their Facebook page to determine what type of cars their audience can see themselves in.

Another feature I appreciated was that Ford is asking questions of their audience that is not explicitly related to their products.  They are working to form a relationship with their customers that is not entirely focused on the products they are trying to sell, but the things that are important to their customers.

Area for Improvement
Overall I think that Ford has done a fantastic job of adding a unique twist to their page, while engaging customers at the same time.  The quantity of information being released will push down or archive posts that are recent making it more difficult for customers to interact with those posts.

Small and large businesses alike can learn from the three BtoC brand examples of brand Facebook pages.  A common theme that you will notice through all of these reviews is that each company found a unique way to appeal to their audience.

What is the lesson that we can learn from these examples?  Knowing what your customers care about is key in developing a strategy that will encourage them to interact.

Are there other companies that you think have taken their Facebook strategy to the next level?  Which brand Facebook pages do you like best as a consumer? As a marketer?


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