How Johns Hopkins Medicine is using Facebook Timeline, and how it can impact your brand’s page

In late-March, Facebook, as it seems to do so often, announced major layout changes with the introduction of Timeline. By now you have likely converted to the new design or have friends or follow brands who have converted their pages.

The transition to Timeline, according to the company, allows individuals and brands to turn their profiles into virtual scrapbooks. “..[Timeline] lets you highlight the photos, posts and life events that help you tell your story,” wrote Paul McDonald, a Facebook employee, on the company’s official blog back in December.

Already the move appears to be paying off.  A new study by Sotrender shows that Timeline increases fan engagement by 13 percent over previous Facebook layouts.

For hospitals and other brands, the new format offers a host of features—such as a cover photo, a pinned post and a milestone bar— to help you stand out from the competition.

Here is a closer look at some of Timeline’s newest features, and how Johns Hopkins Medicine is utilizing them for its own page.

  • Cover Photo: The most glaring—and visual—change of Timeline is the cover photo. At 851x315 pixels, the cover photo, a large picture at the top of your page, provides a sizable canvas for brands to showcase photos of their staff, their building, or anything else relevant to the company. The cover photo will serve as a first-impression to visitors, so choose carefully. Just as important, keep it simple.To prevent cover photos from looking like banner ads, Facebook doesn’t allow promotional language such as “50% off”; contact info such as web addresses or mailing addresses; or calls to action such as, “Tell your friends.”  Here are some tips courtesy of on building a new cover photo. From Mashable: 20 of the best Facebook cover photos.
  • Our Page: For the Johns Hopkins Medicine Facebook cover photo, we selected a close-up photo of an artistic rendering of our new hospital building. The rendering, in great detail, shows the ‘Curtain Wall’ of the hospital building. This is the design of greens and blues that encompasses the building and was inspired by the Impressionist paintings of Claude Monet. The building shimmers in the sun, and changes in appearance with the changing weather and angle of light.  Even more, it doubles as a nice cover photo. See below.

  • Pinning Posts and Highlights Posts:  Have you ever had a notable post—such as your company’s 100-year anniversary or a hiring of a new president—that you wanted to stay at the top of your company’s wall, even after you posted new content? A new option on Timeline is making that possible.  Facebook is now letting brands “pin” a post to the top of their Timeline, where it will stay for seven days until it’s manually removed. Companies can also highlight a post by stretching it across both columns in Timeline, making it stand out from other content.
  • Our Page: When our new hospital building opened on May 1, we stretched a gorgeous photo of the facility taken at night across both columns and kept it at the top of our page for a few days. It resulted in nearly 200 likes and 50 shares, and reached 5,254 people. Just a few of the comments we received on the photo included: "Wow, just beautiful!"; "Amazing"; "Thumbs up Johns Hopkins"; and "Looks like a small city." See below.

  • Milestones/Virtual Timeline:  This feature allows companies to post relevant milestones on a vertical timeline that floats on the right-hand side of the page. This virtual timeline allows brands to easily showcase their history by posting items such as founding dates, notable anniversaries, and more. Companies such as Coca-Cola have done a tremendous job of incorporating their long and proud history into this medium. But even if your company is  new, it’s still worth setting up a milestone bar.  The feature has shown to increase both user engagement and time spent on a page. For those looking for ideas, companies can post their different logos and photos throughout the years, as well as photos of building headquarters and employees’ pictures.
  • Our Page: Of all of the features in setting up our new Timeline, this proved the most challenging yet fun. Johns Hopkins Hospital was founded in 1889. Recently someone in our department, Neil Grauer, penned a coffee table book about the history of Johns Hopkins Medicine called "Leading The Way." The book is 416 pages long and weighs in at nearly six pounds. So condensing 123 years of milestones, especially for a hospital esteemed as Johns Hopkins, was not easy.  But we felt we got it right.Peruse our Timeline and you’ll see many of our notable events, such as the hospital’s opening in 1889; the opening of the Harriet Lane Home for Invalid Children in 1912; the invention of modern heart surgery (blue baby surgery) in 1944 (see below); the creation of Johns Hopkins Health System in 1986; and finally the opening of the new hospital building on May 1, 2012.

If you are interested in learning more about improving your Johns Hopkins Facebook page or adding to your Timeline, feel free to contact us by email or by filling out a web request form.