Every brand has a story. Successful marketers connect with communities by telling stories that capture audiences and allow them to become emotionally invested.

Prior to sites like Twitter and Facebook, consumers turned to unmonitored forums and friends to rant or rave about your company. Social media has helped to balance the conversation between you and your customers by giving you the opportunity to tell your own story.

Let’s highlight some of the ways in which Facebook’s Timeline helps marketers become better storytellers.

Create a Shared Experience

Most customers don’t know the origins of the products or companies they love. Diving into the archives is not only a great way to humanize your brand, but it helps you become a part of your community — instead of just someone who is marketing to it.

With Timeline, you can add Milestones to the past — events that would have otherwise gone unnoticed, lost in the sea of posts that filled your Wall. Now visitors can sift through your Timeline by date.

You can share major milestones — such as when the company was founded or when it opened a new location — and small victories — like when you adopted a new logo. You can also upload photos to go along with these stories.

Share the Spotlight

A successful story is the content that generates a lot of conversation and engagement. In some cases, special treatment is given to these stories, whether it be a couple extra tweets or making a blog post sticky.

Page admins now have the ability to pin stories to the top of the Timeline. Whether you’re launching a new product, opening a new location, or featuring a time-sensitive special, these stories will remain in place for up to seven days, ensuring visibility. You can also designate important stories by increasing their appearance on Timeline. By default, published stories take up half of the layout, but you can make a story wider, which will stretch it across both columns.

Sometimes you have to remember that the story isn’t always about you. You probably wouldn’t have a company if it weren’t for  your customers. Focus on your customers’ needs the next time you’re sharing a story about your best-selling product. Pay attention to your customers’ stories and how they’ve inspired you.

Make Content More Visual

Some of the most compelling stories don’t require any words. One of the biggest changes to Facebook’s layout is the Timeline cover photo. For all intents and purposes this is your landing tab.

Your cover photo is the best way to introduce your visitors to your page. It sets the stage for the rest of your story, which is why we recommend selecting a unique image that accurately represents your brand. Think about your logo and how it came to be — there’s a story in even the smallest elements.

The attention to detail doesn’t stop there. When you add milestones, you also have the option of uploading images to enhance your story. These can be product snapshots or candids from an event with your biggest supporters. In a way, Timeline has become a scrapbook for your brand.

Creating a successful social media campaign involves more than just talking at your customers. Whether your goal is to be discovered, convert visits into sales, or leverage social media tools, none of it will be effective without a compelling story. Facebook’s new layout offers companies the opportunity to be heard and seen. Set time aside to develop a strong content strategy in addition to your social media strategy.

[Image credit: umjanedoan, TheDigitel Beaufort, nicoleleec]