Facebook Opens Timeline To All Biz Pages, Mandatory After 30 Days Of Curation

Facebook Pages around the world can now upgrade to Timeline, allowing businesses to express themselves more visually through a redesign consistent with what was pushed to user profiles this fall. Major new features include the option to pin posts to the top of the feed for one week, and receive and respond to private messages from users. Pages can also upload a big cover image and feature posts from amongst a feed of updates Facebook determines to be the most engaging.

Overall, Timeline should inspire users to spend more time browsing Pages and reading their feed stories. However, it Facebook Timeline For Pages Kills Crucial Marketing Feature: Default Landing Tabs removes the ability to set an app as a default landing tab, which could reduce engagement with signup widgets and contests. All Pages can upgrade to Timeline today, and but also have an optional 30 day period to curate before Timeline is forcibly pushed to them on March 30th.

Admins can go here to add Timeline to their Pages. Additionally, here’s the Facebook video introduction to Timeline for Pages, and the product guide for Timeline for Pagesis embedded below. You can see a live example of Timeline on the Today Show’s Page. Page admins should check out my follow-up “How To Use Facebook Timeline For Brand Pages: New Feature Details”

Existing Page APIs will remain intact. Facebook has been working with platform partners like Buddy Media and Vitrue to make sure their tools don’t break and can support the new functionality. A new admin panel and Activity Log lets Pages see a quick view of their Insights data, respond to inbound private messages, and feature, hide, or delete posts. Timeline for Pages is not visible from mobile yet, but will be soon.

Brands with a long, colorful history have the most to gain from Timeline. They’ll be able to insert updates, links, media, and milestones as far back as their founding. For example, Livestrong’s Page features photos and videos from Lance Armstrong’s fight with cancer in the 1990s, while ESPN displays a photo from its first broadcast in 1979.

The inventor of Timeline, Facebook product manager Sam Lessin, tells me that “We’re doing this because consistency matters. Organizations have identities too. A lot of brands are’t great storytellers, but the best ones are. All barands should aspire to that level with their Timeline. It weaves together the best stories from the brand and the best stories from your friend about the brand.”

While businesses, organizations, and public figures should be excited about Timeline, their relationship with users will go largely unchanged. That’s because most interaction with them happens on the news feed, not Pages. The redesign does give marketers a more compelling place to link to where visitors will see more branding and less Facebook site chrome. By reducing the prominence of apps on Timeline, Facebook may have sacrificed the quantifiable benefits of Pages to increase their beauty. Still, the stunning visual design will further Facebook’s goal of replacing the company website as the center of a brand’s marketing efforts.

For in-depth analysis and instructions, Page admins should check out my follow-up “How To Use Facebook Timeline For Brand Pages: New Feature Details”. Also, below is the official Facebook Product guide for the Pages Timeline.

Check out the rest of our Facebook Marketing Conference coverage:

Facebook Timeline For Pages Kills Crucial Marketing Feature: Default Landing Tabs

Liveblogging Facebook’s Marketing Keynote With Sheryl Sandberg

Facebook Reveals Mobile News Feed Ads and Massive Logout Page Ads

Business Data Reporting In 5-10 Minutes, Not Days. Facebook Rolls Out Real-Time Insights

Your Average Facebook Post Only Reaches 16% Of Your Friends