The New Facebook Timeline: A Tool in Response to HIV

Content From: Mindy Nichamin AIDS.gov New Media CoordinatorPublished: May 22, 20122 min read

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HIV.gov Facebook Timeline
It’s estimated that 96% of Facebook users never revisit fan pages1 once they hit the “like” button. We at HIV.gov hope this changes with the new features of the Facebook timeline for Facebook Pages.

Three months ago, Facebook announced that Facebook Page owners had a month to update their profiles to the new timeline formatExit Disclaimer. Brands could enable the new timeline at anytime, and on March 30 brand pages were automatically converted to the timeline.

Some of the Facebook timeline features include:
  • a cover photo, a larger photo spanning the top of the page
  • right-hand timeline navigation
  • milestones and events
  • featured apps and customization
  • highlighted posts
  • more administrative options and direct messages
With this announcement, we did a lot of planning to figure out how to best use our page given the new timeline format. Since HIV.gov joined Facebook in November 2007, Facebook has been a successful social network for us, where we’ve seen dialogue among our 15,000 followers (and growing) blossom. Our new media team discussed the vision for our page and how to continue to engage and reach users with blog posts and other federal HIV/AIDS updates.

We started by looking at what other brands were doing with their timelines and planned what our options were for each new feature. We decided to utilize the timeline to feature not just a history of HIV.gov, but of the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. since 1981. Using the new milestone feature, we repurposed content from our 30 Years of AIDS Timeline, POZ MagazineExit Disclaimer, The Well ProjectExit Disclaimer, Greater Than AIDSExit Disclaimer, and The Red Pump ProjectExit Disclaimer who are using their pages to link to external content and other social network spaces.

Since converting our Facebook page to the new timeline format at the end of March, users continue to engage on our page and our follower base continues to increase. We hope the new page offers a unique educational opportunity where users spend more time exploring and sharing feedback. We’re excited to continue engaging our audiences through highlighted/featured wall posts, especially around HIV/AIDS awareness days and AIDS 2012 and the fan pages of the groups listed above to get ideas for modifying your Facebook page. Check in with your users and find out what changes they would like to see. Please check out our Facebook Page to go back in time (to 1981) to explore the history of HIV/AIDS in the U.S.Are you a follower? If you already are, take the time to revisit our page. If not, we encourage you to like our page if you haven’t already.

1. Jeff Widman, brandglue.comExit Disclaimer