Facebook Timeline, Pinterest, Instagram and the rise of the visual social network

Over the last month I have been updating some of the social media pages for the ministries I work with. The main updates I have been making are to facebook timeline, setting up instagram accounts and Pinterest accounts. These three networks have a common theme going on that I have noticed over the last year, they are becoming much more visual. The Visual Social Network era is here. Facebook Timeline is a great example of a visual representation of our facebook experience. Prior to the launch of timeline, the facebook profile page was considered the most under utilized part of the social network. Profile pages and Fan pages were simply plain representations of the user but not very interactive or visual. Now Facebook didn’t want to go to the extreme of letting the entire page become customizable and load slow like myspace, but they knew they had to turn the profile page into more of a visual representation of the person and a destination that people will spend time at, mainly for advertising purposes. And as we can all see, Facebook timeline has taken social media by storm.

But let’s not overlook the other two great visual social media platforms, Facebook bought Instagram for 1 Billion dollars for one reason, it’s a mobile visual social network. 30 million users are on instagram and as of the announcement of their purchase by Facebook, they had added 10 million downloads of the mobile app on iOS and Android devices. Instagram is based on photo and video editing filters that people can add to their photos/videos they take with their mobile devices and post to their instagram account. Instagram accounts can be followed and commented on within the mobile social network as well as posted on other networks such as facebook and twitter. But the main draw of Instagram is that it is fully mobile, there is no desktop version of the platform, it operates fully within the mobile space and is just pictures and videos.

Next up is Pinterest, pinterest has rapidly risen to become the 3rd largest social network in the world. Having a large user base with women, Pinterest is a visual social network that has a mobile and desktop presence. It’s based on pictures and videos and allows you to comment, pin, create boards and repin photos and videos. This visual multimedia social network shows the evolution of the visual aspects of social networking and the focus they have.

The benefit to ministries is that these visual social networks give ministries the ability to tell their story using great multimedia. Using amazing photos and videos, ministries can visually capture moments of their ministry and share them with the world. Many ministries are able to tell their stories in print but how many can visually explain to the world how amazing their ministry is and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ!

How Can Your Church Take Advantage of the New Facebook Timeline Features

March 31st was an important day for facebook fan page owners, the pending timeline features were rolled out to all facebook fan pages. Facebook has been notifying admins for the last 3 - 4 months that this pending change was coming so there was quite a bit of time to prepare. As I started researching how to best utilize these new changes and increase visibility on facebook for churches, I came across come great articles that pointed out the best ways to make this happen. Here is a great article to use as a reference from social media today. http://socialmediatoday.com/johnhaydon/462416/eleven-ways-facebook-page-timelines-change-your-content-strategy Here are the things to focus on with your new timeline: 1. Tell a story - your new facebook fan page is a great way to tell a story with milestones, pictures, videos, and a variety of ways to showcase what your ministry has done, is doing and has planned. 2. Cover image - the cover image at the top of the new timeline page is a great way to showcase what's going on with your ministry. 3. Custom tabs - new custom tabs are much larger in width, instead of 520px they are now 800px which gives facebook developers much more space to work with.

There are other features that can be utilized and are discussed in the article above but the three aforementioned are a good starting point. If you are looking for more information you can find it in "The iChurch Method".