Yesterday morning Facebook pushed out an update for brand pages allowing page owners to switch their design to a new timeline format, similar to that of personal timelines. The design switch is optional as of now, but on March 30, 2012 your page will automatically get the new design. Right now you can preview the new Timeline design before you make the switch publicly.

So what does the new update mean for you?

Express Your Business With Cover Photos.

Just like your personal profile, your brand page now a large cover photo. This is the first thing people will see when they visit your Page. So make it beautiful and bold.  You should make your image  851 x 315 for it to look in proportion.

Resize/Rethink Your Profile Photo.

Your profile picture represents your page on other parts of  Facebook, in ads, sponsored stories and the news feed. With the large cover photo as the focal point of your page's design, Facebook is changing the size of the profile picture should to 180 x 180 pixels and that scales well to  32 x 32 pixels.

 

Rearrange Your Apps
Your photos and custom apps will now appear at the top of your Page. Facebook allows you to customize the images for your apps under “Manage” in “Edit  Page” in the admin panel.

Promote Important Messages With Pinned Posts
Facebook now allows you to keep important messages at the top of your fan page.  When you 'Pin' a post, it anchors the story to the top of your Page  for up to seven days.

Make Your Stories Have More Visual Impact With Larger Stories
Facebook is now giving page owners the ability to upload larger photo, video, and link stories without reszing them like they had previously.  This is a great opportunity to catch your fan's eye and show off your high quality product images.

Star and Hide Stories
In addition to Pinning important posts, you can highlight important stories with the star icon. ( You can also hide or delete stories that aren’t as engaging or relevant with the pencil icon)

Share Your Company's Milestones 

Milestones  allow you to define key  moments in your brand's history in your page timeline. Examples of milestones include reaching a certain number of fans, opening a new store, or winning an award. Dimensions for milestone photos are 843 x 403 pixels. This is a great way to share your company's history with your fans.

Coke's first Timelines post, backdated to 1886: 

 

Don't worry About A Landing Page.

The new Timeline design does away with tab Pages, meaning that there is no way to set a default landing page. Obviously, this will drastically change a visitor's impression when they first visit your page so our advice is be strategic in choosing your cover photo and in what posts you pin.

Fans Will See Your Activity

Facebook says the update with "drive engagement" by allowing people to see stories about how their friends are interacting with your Page throughout your Page timeline .

Engage Users One On One With Private Messages

One of the most exciting features Facebook has added is the ability for a fans to privately message your fanpage. The new messaging feature allows for much deeper consumer interaction, and will you to take customer inquiries off the Timeline and into a more personal private message.

Quickly Review Your Insights

Now your admin panel appears conveniently at the top of your page and offers a quick snapshot of  who you should respond to, and of your page's performance.

Manage EveryThing Using Your Activity Log

Under the  “Manage” button found at the top of your admin panel, you can review your activity log, even the posts you’ve chosen to hide. You can fiter posts by year and star, hide , delete and change the date of stories.