Whether you know it or not…and whether you like it or not…your company’s Facebook Business Page will be changed to Facebook’s new Timeline format automatically on March 30 (Facebook’s Overview).  Because the Timeline format is drastically different from the “Old Page”, this means that companies need to restructure their Facebook site immediately to avoid looking inattentive or, worse, inept.  Using FreshWeb’s page as an example, here’s what will happen if you do nothing.

facebook fan page business layout changesAs you can see, the results from a do-nothing approach are painful because the site suddenly looks – and is – incomplete.  In addition to changing the page layout, Facebook is also introducing a number of rule changes with Timelines, perhaps the most important of which is that the graphics area on the landing page can no longer contain promotional text such as “”Please click Like and You’ll Receive a Free Copy of XXX”.  For those who currently have a custom Landing page like this, you will find that it has been shifted to a small hyperlink image in the Page Application line-up.

While there are many aspects of Timelines that likely will prove positive as you gain experience, in the short term it will be important to rearrange and add-to your current content in a way that maintains a professional corporate appearance.  In our case this meant integrating our Profile Photo with a new banner graphic similar to the theme of our company website and organizing & optimizing other sections from the “Old Page”.  By applying this “Quick-Fix” we now have a Facebook Timeline that at least begins to capture some of the Brand differentiation and marketing potential we are seeking from this Social Media network.

facebook business page new layout format

The bottom line on Facebook’s new Timeline format is positive for companies that are serious about leveraging this Social Media giant – after all, the “Old Page” was pretty unexciting visually and really clunky to manage.  Because of the tight constraints on the design layout, everyone looked kinda like everyone else and there was no real opportunity to differentiate your Brand Image.

From a marketing & presentational perspective, therefore, the new Timeline format is a good thing since it provides businesses with a much-improved layout to differentiate their products & services, highlight important news & messages, and provide visitors with a more complete presentation of the Brand Image they wish to convey.  Stated differently, Timelines serve to move Facebook Pages away from the news-wire format exemplified by Twitter towards the multi-featured, information–rich formats employed by well-designed Custom Websites.