Last week Facebook started allowing brand pages to switch over to the new timeline layout. Facebook is making March 30th the mandatory date for change which gives page admins a full month to set up any history, imagery and posts for the update.
Personally, I love the update because it's so visually appealing and gives you a lot more customization than ever before.
You have the ability to document your company's entire history within your Facebook page and use videos or photos to make it an interesting journey. You are also able to change the look of the application tabs, which wasn't easily available before. Another nice addition was the cover image because it gives you the opportunity to show off products or express your business in a unique way. When you create your cover image make sure to review Facebook's cover image guidelines because they restrict any ad related wording. One other neat update we noticed was the time display, which will tell you if your place is open, closed, or if it has under an hour left, how many minutes until the place closes.
As awesome as this new update is, it's not perfect. The new pages don't support switching the default landing page and there hasn't been any information about that option coming back. The alternate solution is to pin a post so it sits at the top, similar to a forum sticky, and announce to fans to view the specific tab. One thing to note about pinning; you can't highlight a post and also pin, it's one or the other. Not being able to pin and highlight is a bummer because it would be nice to run a promotion with a banner across the top of the page.
Another issue that I keep reading is how the visual nature of the time line may harm businesses that don't have a lot of imagery or video to post. I don't believe this will be a significant problem because good content is simply, good content, and it will engage people whether or not imagery is the main feature or not.
Overall, this update is far superior to the previous brand pages and is only going to get better because real time insights are coming soon with the premium ads. If you would like some examples of what the new layout looks like, check out the PlanetGoRound, SpacePictures or the First Scribe Facebook pages.