Earlier this week, I installed Facebook’s new timeline feature on my Facebook profile. I didn’t spend a lot of time exploring the new features. After all, I had work to do. I kept reminding myself to not to be distracted from my most important priorities.

In case you haven’t heard about the new Facebook timeline, you can find out more and get yours here. You can also find out how many of your friends have timelines installed so you can check out their profiles. I won’t spend a lot of time explaining what the timeline does and how to use it; Facebook does a good job of that on the Introducing Timeline site.

Here are a few things I’m thinking about Facebook timelines so far:

1. You could get easily drawn into spending a lot of time reviewing all your old posts (or your friends’ posts.) With the  new timeline, you can jump to any time frame in your life on Facebook and read all the posts. You can even go into your life before Facebook and add updates and photos to tell the story of your entire life online. This could — quite easily — take up all your free time over your holiday break.

Don’t let it!

While the features are cool and worth some time investment (only you can decide how much), you have real life friends, family, and colleagues who deserve your time, energy and attention. Be sure to take time during this season for what really matters to  you.

2. The Facebook timeline brings personal branding to a whole new level. You can shape your story: decide what to highlight, emphasize certain events, and remove any photos and updates you’d rather keep hidden.

Set aside some time to consider this!

Depending on how careful you’ve been about what you share on Facebook, it’s possible you have some content from the past that  you’d rather that people not find. If so, you’ll want to weed out all that content before you publish your timeline. Think: photos, wall posts, status updates, likes, and links.

3. If you learn how to use the Facebook timeline on your personal profile, you’ll be ready to upgrade your business pages easily when Facebook brings the new functionality to fan pages.  Take time to learn how to use the timeline on your own profile as preparation. As you discover how to share your personal story and brand on your own profile, you can apply what you learn to successfully share the story of your business on your fan page.

Take 12 minutes to check out the new Facebook timeline. Choose a cover photo, update your profile picture if you want to, experiment with hiding and highlighting the posts on your page. If you have extra time, look through the story you’re sharing on Facebook by clicking on posts from previous years. Since Facebook allows 7 days to review your timeline before publishing, consider setting aside 12 minutes a day for the next week to allow time to sort through old posts, if you’d like. Or, when your 12 minutes is up, publish!

Need help? Send me an email or leave questions in the comments to this post.

The start of a new year is the perfect time to revisit your strategy for using social media. Do you have a strategy? What are  your goals for using social media? How can you build a valuable social media presence while using your time effectively and efficiently? How will you share your personal story through social media? How will you share the story of your business through social media? 

Our Strategy and Branding Playbook is your step by step guide to branding yourself (and your business) and creating a strategy for using social media that fits into your schedule. It includes tips, tools, and templates that you can work through, 12 minutes a a time.  Check it out, today!