As at the end of April 2012 facebook had 10,988,140 Australian users (up 98,180 users from March 2012) according to Google Adplanner, a significant number and the largest social media platform in Australia – which explains why facebook is a undoubtedly key demographic for our clients.

Just over a month after the changeover to Timeline however figures are starting to come in and it’s proving so far to be less than perfect for brand pages.

A recent study by Wildfire Interactive, a social media marketing firm, has studied 67 brands that adopted Timeline and has released those results exclusively to Mashable.

The positive outcomes? ‘Likes’ are up an average of 22% per post and ‘People Talking About This’ (PTAT) rose 25%. And the bad news? Comments are down 6.5% per post and fan growth was “slowed slightly” for all brands on average, interestingly brands with more than 1 million fans experienced twice the sluggishness of smaller brands. Wildfire did not define the extent of that slowing.

Personally, as a PR agency in Sydney and Brisbane, we have found this trend to be true with a steady increase of fans ‘liking’ posts, links and images however much less direct comments or posts on the page from fans. There is now, more than ever, a need for a detailed and up-to-date social media strategy to be put in place and, even more importantly, adhered to.

Some issues Red PR Brisbane has found include:

–   Competition tabs are a lot more difficult to access on the page – although they can still be used as a welcome tab for new followers, directing current followers to the tab is slightly confusing, as they are almost hidden on the timeline

–   Having two columns on the page can distract attention and make the page more difficult to follow Facebook automatically setting to “highlights” on brand pages instead of showing all “post by page” can hide recent posts and can confuse readers

There are however many benefits to the new timeline format which we have also discovered, including being able to highlight certain posts and images to the top of you page, being able to be more creative with page layout and, of course, designing a creative cover image specific to your brand.

Working on social media is an ever changing and challenging environment, one of which I love and is one of the best parts about being on Red PR’s Gen Red team. However, you must ensure you are keeping up to date on the ever changing face of the social media landscape and always endeavoring to come up with new and exciting ideas to entice new followers, fans and alike.

Following social media specific news websites is a great way to stay on top of new trends – to give you an insight into my daily trawls sites – Mashable, B&T, Campaign Brief and Social Media News are some of my go-tos for the latest goss on all things SM. There is also a great page on facebook here which uploads tips and videos on how to make your pages more engaging.

Have you noticed any significant changes in your clients/brands page insights? Do you love/hate the new timeline format? Tweet me @Danni_RedPR or comment here, would love to hear your thoughts and experience with the new format.

15 Years of Fame