As promised, Facebook has begun to “roll out” its new and long-awaited timeline for brand pages, and soon the option will no longer be, well, an option, as Facebook plans to have all personal and brand pages running on timeline by the end of March. The reaction to Timeline for brand pages has generally been positive, but it does take some getting used to! Here are some Me:Mo top tips for how to roll with a punch, move with the times and make the most of the new look!

1. Updated Look and Feel

What’s new: The format of Timeline for brands is quite similar to Timeline for personal profiles. It employs a cover photo at the top of the Page, and the Page is separated into two main columns by a dividing line, which represents the passage of time. This format provides brands with new options for self-expression: They can outline their corporate history with milestones (such as product launches, store openings, etc.) to construct a narrative for their audience.

Recommendation: Milestones present an important and dramatic opportunity to educate the public, humanize the brand and remove a perception of corporate anonymity.

2. Reduced Tab Visibility

What’s new: The new Timeline format does not have the left-side panel of links. While applications still exist, they’ll display differently, in rectangular panels underneath the cover photo. The width of the Timeline and the space allocated for native apps like Photos means that only three tab panels are viewable at any given time. To see more, users must expand the tab panel by clicking a drop-down box.

Recommendation: For marketers, this major change means that the three above-fold tab apps need to be considered carefully — this will be one of the first things users see when interacting with your brand on Facebook. Eg. Twitter, Youtube, Photos, and Newsletter Sign Up

3. No Default Landing Page/Welcome Page

What’s new: With the new Timeline Page format, you will no longer be able to set a default landing Page.

Recommendation: You will need to apply new and careful attention to all the top messages in the Timeline, as they will be the first objects seen by visiting users. By ‘pinning’ up an important post, it always appears at the top.

5. Current Tab Content and Applications Become Outdated

What’s new: The new Timeline layout displaces Facebook’s existing Page tab configuration (including a tab’s 520-pixel width), and replaces it with a new 810-pixel layout. As a result, existing Page tab content will look centred in the middle of the 810-pixel layout without any adjustments. All applications that remain on a brand’s Page will need new application icons (the new dimensions are 111×74).

6. Private Messages Between Brands and Users

What’s new: Finally, brands will be able to send and receive private messages with users. This allows for much deeper consumer interaction, and will also enable Page managers to take extended customer inquiries off the Timeline and into a private message.

Recommendation: Use this to communicate with followers in private, dealing with feedback which the customer may not want to make public.