A How-to Guide for the New Facebook Business Pages

Timeline has finally come to Facebook Pages. Here's a look at how the features differ from your personal Timeline and how you can best optimize them to market your business and communicate with your customers.

Thu, March 01, 2012

CIO — Several months after Facebook first started rolling out Timeline to the public, the social network has formally announced Timeline's expansion to brand- and business-focused pages.

This is the first major redesign to Pages since February 2011. Page owners will have until March 30 to update their pages to the new design; after that, Facebook will switch your page automatically.

Timeline for Pages has a number of features similar to those of your personal Timeline, so making the switch shouldn't be difficult. There are, however, a few new features unique to Facebook Pages that are designed to help you better manage the account and capitalize on customer engagement. Here's what you need to know.

Timeline for Pages: Getting Started

When you log into your brand or business Facebook Page, you'll notice a pop-up banner announcing the new Pages. From here, you can preview what your Page will look like with the new design, take a tour of the features and even publish the new design. You'll likely want to update your Page before pushing it live. (Remember: you have only until March 30 to do so.)

[Your Complete Guide to Facebook Timeline]

Timeline for Pages: Your Cover Photo

Much like on your personal Timeline, you'll have the option to upload a landscape-oriented cover photo to your Page. Facebook says the image must be at least 399 pixels wide, though it suggests 851x351 pixels.

"The cover photo is one of the best ways to introduce people to your page. First impressions are key and that cover photo is front and center," says Alison Zarrella, author of The Facebook Marketing Book. "It's also important to remember that as this is the way your Page is introduced to new fans, the cover photo is not the place to be selling to them."

To prevent cover photos from looking like banner ads, Facebook will not allow cover photos that contain the following: prices or purchase information such as "40% off" or "Download it at our website;" contact info such as Web addresses, email addresses, mailing addresses or other information intended for your Page's "About" section; references to Facebook features such as "Like this Page" or "Share" this page; and calls to action, such as "Get it now" or "Tell your friends."

Your Page's profile picture may also need to be adjusted. Facebook suggests you use a square image that is at least 180 pixels wide.

Timeline for Pages: Features

Highlight what's important: Similar to highlighting important stories on your personal Timeline, you can now feature important brand and business posts by clicking the star icon, which will make it wider. You can also use the pencil icon to pin it to the top of your Page, hide it or delete it entirely.

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