Last month, the redesign of Facebook business pages was unveiled at the Facebook Marketing Conference in New York. The redesign, which officially launches March 30th, features a new timeline format and cover photo, which will allow businesses to showcase their stories, be more expressive and connect with consumers in new ways.

Below are some main features of the new Facebook business timeline:

  • New cover photo. If you have a personal Facebook page, you’re probably already familiar with the timeline cover photo. The business pages are no different. Now, instead of a strip of photos at the top, there will be one large photo to capture the essence of your business. I suggest using an image that tells a story or makes a powerful statement about your business. Revisit your company’s mission, values and areas of expertise and choose an image that encompasses those unique elements.
  • New “about” section. The “about” section, which used to be hidden in the “info” tab on your company page, is now prominently displayed at the top. Because you have a limited number of characters in the “about” section, make it concise and powerful. I suggest using a tag line or a sentence that captures your brand’s mission and values.
  • Larger, highlighted posts. In the days before the timeline, all Facebook posts were created equal. Not anymore. Now you have the option to highlight posts and pin relevant posts to the top of your timeline for up to seven days. You can also change post dates, which allows you to bump up posts you want to keep at the top of the page. This is useful if your company is having a special promotion or wants to add emphasis to certain posts.
  • Facebook admin panel, icons and page name change request form. “Insights” are now located on the admin panel at the upper right corner of the page. While the navigation of “insights” is slightly different, it still features notifications, messages, new likes, insights about your posts and page tips. In the past, businesses were required to completely delete their Facebook page if they wanted to change its title. Now, they can request a name change by accessing a simple form. This is really convenient for those who have changed their branding, have a misspelling in their name or want to make other changes without completely starting over.
  • Messaging and milestones. The old Facebook business pages used to have restrictions on messaging. Fans could not message brands and brands could not message fans. With the new timeline format, there are no longer barriers between business and fan communication. Brands and fans can now message one another. As a financial professional, remember to archive all communication via messaging.

Another powerful addition to the new Facebook platform is the “milestone” feature. The “milestone” feature allows you to add dates and events that are important or memorable for your business. This is a great way to feature important occasions and share your firm’s unique story to the world.

The redesign of Facebook business pages is a great opportunity to freshen up your business’s brand. Take some time to hone your message and beef up your online presence with this latest tool.

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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.