Yesterday, Facebook launched its new Timeline for Pages. We’ve taken some time to explore its new features and are proud to announce that we went live with Timeline just 24 hours later!

Timeline brings with it a few changes to how you will be able to promote your apps, promotions, specials and will even give you more control to promoting key status updates. But first, you need to get used to the new look and features—it will feel a bit awkward at first and it will be different from what you are used to.

If you are thinking about jumping into Timeline for your business Facebook Page, here are some of the essentials to get you started:

To Activate Timeline

Visit the Timeline for Pages preview manager and select to add Timeline to your Pages. You’ll then enter a preview period where only your Page’s admins can see the new Timeline design, while your fans will still see your current design.

Take some time to play around with Timeline and its new features, and when you’re ready, click the “Publish Now” button at the top of your Page begin displaying Timeline.

On March 30 all your pages will automatically get the new Timeline design. That means you won’t have a choice, so take the next few weeks to develop your new approach to Facebook.

Cover Photo

The cover photo is the first thing people will see when they visit your Page. Choose a unique photo (851 x 315 pixels) and change it as often as you like. Some examples might include a popular menu item, album artwork, or a picture of people using your product.

If you’re running a special promotion or contest, you can change your cover photo to highlight these events. Be creative and experiment with images your audience responds well to.

According to new Facebook policies, cover photos cannot include:

  • Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”
  • Contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section
  • References to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features
  • Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”

Covers must not be false, deceptive or misleading, and must not infringe on third parties’ intellectual property.

Profile Picture

Your profile picture represents your page on other parts of Facebook, in ads, sponsored stories and the news feed. Choose a picture that represents your business, such as a logo. Use a high quality image that scales well from 180 x 180 pixels to 32 x 32 pixels.

Page Apps

The redesign of how Page apps are displayed in the new Timeline design could be the biggest wrench thrown into your Facebook marketing plans. Apps have been relocated from the left navigation sidebar to the right side of the About section. While they appear with thumbnail photos instead of as text links, they tend to get lost in the new design. There are four app tiles above the fold, and the first will permanently occupied by Photos. The rest can include Likes, Videos, Events, Map and a Page’s custom apps, like promotions and contests.

To edit which apps you display where, click the drop-down icon to the right of the tiles, click the ‘+’ button to import your custom apps, and then hover over them and click the pencil to swap them around.

Like Gates”

Previously, Pages could set a default landing tab that all non-fans would first see instead of the wall when they visited a Page. This is no longer allowed. Instead, users now will always see the main Timeline view and have to actively click through to custom apps. This means custom apps for your contests, promotions, games, media, coupons, and signup widgets may receive much less engagement from users who find their way to your Page.

Pinned Posts

You can choose to pin one of your best new or old posts to the top left spot of the Timeline feed for seven days at a time. Pinning can be used to direct users to an important promotional app, show off a special photo, or display a timely status update. The feature gives you significant control of what visitors to a Page see first. Be sure to at least keep a link to your website pinned at all times, and rotate it with links to your apps and whatever else you want to drive the most traffic to.

Beyond pinning posts, you can select to Highlight important posts throughout your Timeline to make them appear the full width of the Page.

For more information on getting started with Timeline, check out Facebook’s helpful overview. See you on Timeline March 30, if not before!

You can checkout our Gavin Advertising’s updated Timeline here.