Recently, the redesign of Facebook business pages was presented at the Facebook Marketing Conference in New York. The redesign, which officially launches at the end of the month, will feature a new timeline format and cover photo, which allows businesses to showcase their stories and connect with customers in new ways.

The new Facebook page brand timeline will allow businesses to tell their brand stories with cover photos and highlight promotional content on their timelines, all within compliance parameters. Parallel to personal page timelines, photos, “likes” and other apps will be featured at the top of the page just to the right of the profile picture.

Messaging capabilities have also shifted. Previously, business pages were unable to send or receive messages on their Facebook pages. Now, Facebook users will be able to contact Facebook business pages privately, and businesses will have the option to respond to those messages. If they choose, businesses will be able to turn off the message feature.

Within the next 30 days, all Facebook business pages will transition to this new format, but businesses have the option of launching the new format immediately. A number of brands have already adopted the new format, including NBC’s Today show, Starbucks, Nike, The New York Times and Microsoft Windows.

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Amy McIlwain is a professional speaker on social media and president of Financial Social Media, an online marketing firm specializing in the financial industry. She can be reached through her website at www.financialsocialmedia.com and on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.